Behind the Curtain 8 – 24 Hours Notice

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Joel handed the notice to Nicole and headed for the garage through the kitchen. “Did they have to tape it to the front door?” he asked to the air, throwing up his hands.

“California State law says that landlords must give 24-hours notice to inspect the premises,” Nicole read from the terms of their lease, following close behind. “What time is it?”

“Is it from when we get it?” Joel asked, cutting power to the grow lights and turning on the room lights. “What time did you get home?”

“No, she says here, ‘this notice was posted at 10 a.m.,’ to our address, blah, blah, blah,” Nicole responded, putting the now folded notice into her back pocket. “So, we need to be ready by 10 a.m. tomorrow morning! What time is it?” she said, looking for a clock that worked. “Why can’t we have an electric clock again?”

“Too much juice,” Joel responded, as he pulled drip tubes from plants. “It’s seven now. Call everyone.”

“No microwave, no clothes dryer, no toaster oven!” Nicole chanted. “They know.”

“They might not,” Joel answered, moving plants out the garage side door, and into an old shed behind the neighbor’s garage. It was an arrangement they’d made months before, and the second time in a year they had to go through the drill.

“But they give no reason,” Nicole said, disconnecting watering outlets. “I thought Nick said they were cool.”

Soon the garage was full of workers, moving lights, rolling wire, disassembling grow tables and moving the lot of it into the neighbor’s shed. This arrangement worked well, for just a month ago they were dragging the neighbor’s grow into Joel and Nicole’s garage when a water line broke.

“This is a crazy way to make a living,” Nicole said to her friend, Kristen, who came to help.

“I don’t know how you do it,” Kristen responded. “I mean, we are grateful to have the trim jobs, but I could never live in it like you do.”

Locals complained of losing their communities. You read about it in the local papers all the time.

But Nicole never felt as connected to a group of people before. They were more than friends, they were family. The inspection notices brought them together. It was like an old-fashioned barn raising, she thought, handing Kristen a bag of shake she’d gathered.

“A gift for you,” she said, smiling. “Thank you for helping us. Can you come back tonight?”

Next week: Travis, alone

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