The Story of My Life

It’s April 22, 2021. I have recently learned that I have been the victim of Narcissistic abuse for many years by several different people; some refer to this as Narcissistic Victim Syndrome. I call it PTSD. Regardless of the actual name for this, I feel stuck in a redundant cycle of OCD ruminations (yet another new word I have learned recently that most definitely refers to me). I can’t seem to get out of my head for hours, days or weeks at a time certain aspects of my life and it controls me, my thoughts and often is so bad it prevents me from being productive at work and even keeps me from doing other things that I’d really rather be doing. I waste so much time thinking about, planning a way to fix that thing that I just can’t get it out of my head. I actually desire to run and hide, to live the life of a homeless nomad so that I can just get some peace, but deep down I know that running away will only take away those things from my life that are actually good, my husband especially. I love him so deeply, I just wonder when he will wake up and realize that he’s married to a crazy person and then leave. He has never once hinted that I’m nuts. He seems to love me unconditionally, I’m just terrified that the me inside my head will come bursting out one day and he will simply walk away. I don’t think he has ever walked away from anyone before, he had girlfriends and other friends before I knew him and there are some that he doesn’t stay in contact with, the unhealthy relationships, but he keeps in touch with 90% of his old buddies from Highschool and former jobs. He’s crazy good that way. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, he will sit on our porch, smoke a cigar and call old buddies (men and women) and just catch up, shoot the breeze and laugh. I don’t know anyone else who does this. I don’t know why I have such a fear of him changing (for the worse) and wanting to be rid of me; I suppose it’s because I’ve been so terribly abandoned by pretty much everyone I ever cared about in my life that I just can’t believe wonderful people like my husband actually exist and that they have no ulterior motive for loving me other than they simply DO. I have such a hard time with this concept and I feel guilty that I even have these feelings that he might go away. Again, he has NEVER done anything to cause me to think that this is even in his wheelhouse, but I think it all the same. Most days I believe him.

So, let’s back up, way before my current husband. Lets begin with my childhood.

I was born in the “dog days” of summer back in 1962. I have an older brother who was 3 at the time. We lived on Mandalay Street in Memphis. My dad worked for a construction company and they were moving their offices into a new building on some particular day near my mom’s due date. My dad tells me over and over again that he told her that she could have the baby any time she wanted as long as it wasn’t THAT day, moving day. Well, I, apparently didn’t give a rip about moving day, I decided to come and that was that. How can a person experience guilt over something they are 100% not in control over, yet, today I have guilt that I came into this world on moving day. But this guilt is really the least of my worries.

I don’t remember many things of my early childhood, but I do remember some important things. I remember we moved to the country. We had lived in a subdivision tract when I was born, then my dad purchased 20 acres of land in Byhalia Mississippi to build a house on. He was going to build it in phases. This house, a twenty-four foot by twenty-four foot, two-story box was about seven miles from town. The living room and staircase to the second floor were on the front half of the house downstairs. There was a storage and laundry room, kitchen and dining room along the back half of the first floor. Upstairs there was a bathroom at the top of the stairs, directly over the laundry room, I have learned that back then designers and builders would stack water to make plumbing easier, my dad being a residential home designer did a great job here. I don’t remember the bathroom being large, but the storage room below seemed huge to me. Beside the bathroom was my parent’s room. I’m sure they probably had a double bed, maybe a queen size bed at the most and a HUGE homemade dresser that my dad had made in college or shortly thereafter. I do remember that there was enough room in their bedroom for me to jump rope, but then again, I was really small, so there probably wasn’t more than about a three foot walkway between the bed and the dresser. The dresser was so huge, it was probably four or five feet wide and at least four feet tall with four huge drawers, I couldn’t begin to open the drawers. I was sad, but my parents would hide things in them. I longed to see what was in the top drawer especially. Across the little short hallway was my and my brother’s room. Our closet sat up above the staircase, so there was this big raised area in part of the closet (which allowed for head height at the stairs below). We kept all our books on this giant shelf. They would get so messy. I would climb up there from time to time to straighten them out, and as I tried to line them up, who knows in what order, probably small ones on the left and big ones on the right, I would be mesmerized by the books themselves and long to be able to read them as no one read to me that I recall. These were probably second hand books as they were well loved, but I just don’t remember being the one to give them any love. I do remember getting a new book once during my early years, a Dr. Seuss book, which was later given away without my permission. I don’t even remember which one it was, though that same year my brother got Yertle the Turtle.

We must have moved into this house in the country when I was one or two years old. Soon after we moved my dad began to build things about the property so that we could have animals. He built a barn (really small) so that we could raise a cow. Not cows, plural, just one at a time to be slaughtered later for food. The place must have already had a fence, or maybe he hired that out, but across the front part of our property between the house and the backyard, my dad put up an electric wire to hold the cow in. It apparently got out a lot. Then one day, the cow would be gone and we’d have a new calf, this time two calves, in its place. I was apparently old enough, or so they thought to help feed these calves with a bottle. I remember the bottle was so huge I had to use my entire arm to hold onto it (think a football hold), and the other hand to keep it steady as the calf would pull us toward the electrified wire. My parents would turn off the electricity while we fed the calves, but on occasion they would forget and my belly got a jolt of electricity from time to time which would make me drop the bottle and the calf would jerk it around wildly trying to get the milk out. I’m sure I was only allowed to feed the calves a few times because I was so small, but I thought this was grand fun as long as the electricity was turned off.

I, apparently, burned my backside one day by sitting in a bucket filled with bleach that my mom was using to mop the floor. I was just in a diaper, a cloth diaper since disposable hadn’t yet been invented, so it took some time to get the diaper off of my poor blistered derriere. But all the doctor told my parents to do was to wash it off, pat it dry and let it get lots of fresh air. I probably went the better part of a week naked as a jaybird. It didn’t matter much, we were way out in the country and never saw anyone except when we went out, like to shop or to church.

I also remember getting a new pair of galoshes. These were simple rubber over-shoes or boots that fit over your normal shoes and came up your ankle just a bit. There was a piece of elastic at the top with a button around the side where you could synch them up so that they wouldn’t fall off. I remember they looked like red jelly boots. I was so excited to wear them out, I just had to wait for rain. It rained often, and one morning my mother told me it had rained so if I wanted to try out my new boots, I could slip them on and go try. Well, of course I wasn’t dressed and I didn’t have any shoes on, but I stuck my feet into those boots and immediately went outside to splash around in the puddles. Keep in mind, we lived out in the country. Our driveway had some gravel on it, but it was more dirt than gravel. The parking pad had the most gravel, but was difficult to walk on being such a little kid. So, I ventured off the front porch, onto the weed covered lawn. It was sparsely covered, so lots of mud. I splashed around a bit in the puddles, then something attracted my eye, or someone said something to me so I stopped for a minute and stood still. When I started to walk again, it was really difficult to take my first step because my boot had sunk into the mud. I was only able to take the one step and the other boot I discovered as I looked down, was about half way covered in mud, the entire shoe portion had disappeared. I screamed bloody murder (don’t ask me where this saying comes from, all I know is no one liked it when I screamed bloody murder though those words never came out of my mouth). My mother came running but it seemed like it took her forever. In hindsight, I realize she probably had to put on shoes herself, and a rain coat and a hair bonnet, before she could run out into the yard into all that mud. I remember she picked me up and my foot immediately came out of the boot, leaving it to be eaten by the earth. I screamed and screamed about losing my boot and the fact that the earth would swallow it up all the way. I think I had already watched a few too many Tarzan movies and I was terrified of falling into quicksand by this time, so my imagination of the earth eating my brand new boot was very real. To this day, I do not believe I ever wore those boots again. I’m sure my mom rescued the half-buried boot, but then again, maybe not. I’ve muddied more than one pair of shoes since then and simply never wore them again due to the difficulties of getting the mud off. I just let them rot in my garage and then threw them out. I don’t think this behavior stems from this incident, but I think my mom may have thought it was too much trouble to go get the boot with the rain and mud, so maybe she left it for later, when my dad came home from work, and well, maybe that boot is still buried in the yard to this day.

Ducks and Foxes – more to come

Apparently living in the country was too much of a hassle for my parents. The roads were mostly dirt, so raining made it almost impossible to go many places. The cows kept getting out and my dad would have to traipse all around the area to locate them. Then a neighbor would call saying they thought they had our cow down in front of their place and dad would have to walk down there to drag her back. Seven miles isn’t a long way, especially now, but apparently it was back then.

Snow, Igloos and Christmas walks – more to come

I actually remember getting a “Flatsy” doll for my birthday once. Remember Gumby and Pokey? This was a doll in that flat shape. The box looked like a little apartment. The upper body was a flat rubber with a cute face and hair. The lower part had some tights sewn onto the body, but you could stick your fingers into the tights and then put the boots onto your fingers and you made the doll walk. This was great fun! I still remember the bright pink and white striped box, like the awning above a shop on the town square. The boots were white and the song, “These Boots Were Made for Walkin'” was popular on the radio. Any time it would come on, I would grab my Flatsy doll and put on the boots and walk all over the place, in particular the inside of the windshield of the car as I was sitting in my mother’s lap on the way somewhere. I also remember how the boots were a little bit too small for my fingers and the boots would not fit properly. I remember then thinking about how fat my fingers were and how I wished my fingers weren’t so fat. To this day I feel like I have “man hands,” if you remember the episode of Seinfeld. I hated my man hands; I still do.

Other things I remember; getting a brand new pack of twenty-four crayons inside a clear plastic box. You could see through the cover and see the cardboard holder that held all the colors in the perfect order, an order I vowed to never disrupt. I mean, if Crayola had put them in this particular order, it was meant to remain in this order. I remember wanting to take them into the place we were going, I’m not sure if it was church, a doctor’s appointment, or just where, all I knew is that I had new crayons and didn’t want to leave them in the car so that some other kid could come and take them, but I wasn’t allowed to take them in with me to wherever it was we were going. When we returned to the car, the crayons had totally melted inside my little plastic box. I cried and cried. I had not even been able to use one of them at all prior to their utter destruction. My parent’s promised to get me another pack of crayons, but I never remember that promise coming true. I’m certain there were more crayons in my future, but nothing ever compared to that awesome plastic box full of twenty-four brand new crayons that were mine, all mine! The old cigar box full of crayons is all I remember from that point forward with it’s broken and disfigured remnants of my brother’s coloring abuse, little one inch pieces of wax and crayon wrappers, not a pretty color in the whole bunch only browns, blues, blacks.

Moving to Memphis – more to come

Birthday parties and my parents being away for at least two of my early birthdays not including my 8th birthday when my dad was dating this new woman who gave me a present….which greatly surprised me. Had I known then she was moving in on my dad while I was relegated to my grandparents house for the summer, and had I known then how this would totally change my world, I might have thought better about accepting her gift.

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  • PAPER TOWELS or Regular Towels to be washed (ewww gross!)
  • Trash Bag(s)
  • Toilet Plunger – (Mushroom SHAPE with a hollow STEM on the bottom or Accordion shaped).   I have found the accordion type to be wimpy unless they are made of higher quality plastic/rubber. If it is 100% “Dollar Store Plastic” (including a hollow plastic 1-piece handle), run away!  Also, an old-school rubber plunger can get to hard to plunge quickly, so since they are so economical, keep a good one handy, don’t be caught with a “too wimpy” or “too hard” plunger.
  • 5-Gallon Bucket with handle (2 buckets are often needed, so get some that stack well)
  • Small bucket or dipper/scooper (2-4 cup capacity, like a quart-size paint can with a handle works well for this)
  • Large container of Dishwashing Detergent (Dawn, Palmolive, or Dollar-Store brand)
  • Access to hot water or tea kettle water heating devise (electric instant hot water kettle or camp stove to heat water in a normal kettle or pan)
  • Heavy duty toilet auger. 
  • Mop – preferably a disposable mop head type
  • Floor & Toilet Cleanser – Lysol, Fabuloso (smells very nice), Pine-Sol (blue – just smells better), etc. 
  • Allen wrenches (a small assortment) just for toilet use to clean out the holes around the rim where water enters toilet – helps future flushing.
Good quality auger
Toilet plunger

Toilets don’t get clogged without help. Someone has to do something to cause a clog to happen, or so I thought. Come to find out, my own toilets in my home tend to get a clog when not used for long periods of time. We have 4 toilets and a urinal in our home. It’s just me and the hubby these days and he travels a lot for work. If he’s gone long enough, his urinal apparently grows some sort of moss in the pipes beyond the “U” trap and they tend to stop up his urinal from time to time. I’ve had to learn to flush it every few days to keep the moss build-up from happening, but that’s not what this article is about at all! When a toilet gets clogged, the cloggER knows something’s amiss, but whether or not they will tell anyone is the problem. Most of the time they don’t say anything because it’s embarrassing. Either they laid a goos egg the size of elephant droppings, or they used way too much paper for a messy job. Whatever the case, we get clogged toilets from time to time. This is one girl, trying to teach other girls (or open-minded men) just how to go about clearing the toilet with as little trouble as possible. Having supplies on hand, and following these directions will certainly save you a lot of trouble. Keeping a bucket with these supplies will make your life much easier if clogged toilets are a continual problem with you because you are a landlord or building maintenance person. Do yourself a favor, create a Toilet Tool Kit and make your life a better place.

So, you are faced with the possibility that YOU clogged a toilet, what do you do? 

  1. WAIT AND WATCH when you suspect you’ve clogged the toilet. 
  2. NEVER flush twice just to HELP a large deposit go down! There’s nothing worse than a clogged toilet, except for an overflowing toilet that has a large deposit. 
  3. NOTICE WHERE THE WATER LEVEL IS.  (Normal, High or Low). Is it seeping down at all? If so, plunging should help. If not, keep reading.
  4. If it just happened, you can observe and listen to see how bad the clog is. 
  5. If this is a tenant’s clog, or a rehab project, you’ll just have to begin the following processes.


WATER LEVEL IS HIGH (somewhere between normal level and the rim):  Never flush again to see if it will simply “GO DOWN”, chances are, you will overflow the toilet and the NASTY that is in the toilet is NOW on the floor and on your shoes. (GROSS).

If the water is all the way up to the rim and about to spill out (or has already) PUT ON your GLOVES, get the 5-gallon bucket and the smaller scooper to take water out of the toilet and put it into the bucket to lower the level so you can try to plunge.  Too much water in the bowl will lead to gross stuff on your shoes, but when plunging, about 3/4 full of water is good.  Plunging is a fine art, so watch yourself to get the right amount of plunging vs. sloshing. ALWAYS USE GLOVES!  POO IS ACTUALLY A BIO-HAZARD! I keep a box of “painter’s” rubber gloves in my tool-kit. Placing old rags/towels around the toilet is also a good idea to catch “sloshes”. (REMEMBER: when you take used towels back home to wash use rubber gloves while handling these.  You may not want to keep these towels, which is why paper towels are a great substitute.  You can use your trash bag to gather all these used items and throw them away rather than thinking they can be sanitized again.)

NORMAL WATER LEVEL: This may actually be good news.  This may mean that the toilet was ALMOST clogged or is only partially clogged.  Use your plunger first to push the clog further out.  This may lower the water in the bowl a little, after plunging, a flush MAY do the trick as long as the water level is not above the normal level.  Most toilets can hold 2 times the tank’s water, but NO MORE! So if the water level is below normal, try to flush after plunging.  

CAUTION: If the toilet has been sitting for a long time (clogged), a low water level may just mean that the water has seeped out around the clog or may have evaporated, so you may still have a clog, an old dry clog.  Regardless, if the water level is lower than normal, you can flush ONCE to check on the clog or better yet, see “DISHWASHING SOAP TRICK” below.  

After flushing, if the water level quickly goes above the NORMAL line and stays there, then the clog is still there. If it goes up (which is a little scary) but then suddenly goes down, this may mean that the weight of the water has managed to push the clog on down.  Usually the water will go WAY down, at this point (physics at work), you have just sent the clog on it’s way to poop-heaven and it took your bow’s water with it. As long as the water in the bowl is at or below “normal” you can flush once more to check on the clog. If the water level is still above normal, plunge again, and repeat these steps.

NOTE:  A plunger doesn’t work well when the water level is too low because you need the water to help move the clog. If the water level is low and you WANT to plunge, you can flush a 2nd time if the water level is lower than the NORMAL level, or you can pour more water into the toilet using your bucket.   (SEE “IF PLUNGING DOESN’T WORK BELOW”)


  • As you put the plunger into the toilet, allow water to fill the stem/mushroom inside area of the plunger.  Some air is ok, but clogs are best cleared by forcing water down the drain (rather than air). 
  • Push and pull the plunger down/up quickly and forcefully to force water from the bowl down the toilet drain. 
    • If the toilet is too full of water, it will slosh out all over your shoes. Solution, remove some water with a small scooper into your big bucket) 
  • After 10 or so vigorous plunges, take the plunger out to see if the rest of the water will quickly drain from the bowl.  If it goes down, it will most likely leave the water level very low.
  • Water leaving the toilet after plunging, even if the water level is really low at this point, is a fantastic sign.  Flush the toilet if the water is below normal. If it appears to be working normally, flush a few more times to double check.  
  • If it still drains very slowly (not normally) you aren’t done. Try plunging again.  Sometimes you need to plunge several times to get the clog clear. 



If the toilet is filled to the brim with nasty water and plunging didn’t work, it is best at this point to remove a lot of this water (down to the normal but preferably well below normal water level), so use your RUBBER GLOVES, your 5-gallon bucket and your small scooper to get this water OUT of the bowl.  We will use the weight and velocity of some NEW HOT water to help clear the clog. Dispose of the old toilet water, or use a 2nd bucket for the rest of this.  You can always dispose of the removed nasty water back down the toilet after the clog is gone.

Next:  Pour a generous amount of  Dishwashing detergent down into the toilet (1/2 – 2 cups). It will sink to the lowest part of the toilet. No need to stir, etc. It may bubble for the first couple of flushes. No worries.  If you are on a septic system, you may want to use septic friendly detergent.

Fill your 5-gallon bucket about 1/2 full with HOT water from a tub or sink faucet. Tub water is generally FASTER for filling and most buckets will fit under the faucet.  (DO NOT USE BOILING WATER, but as hot as the tap/water heater will put out). If you don’t have hot water, you can boil water or use a coffee pot or tea kettle to help heat the water, but make sure it’s not TOO hot especially if you are working in a cold house, you could crack the toilet with hot water. The water should be as hot as the hot water heater will produce. NOT BOILING! 

Pour the HOT water QUICKLY FROM ABOVE THE DRAIN (hold the bucket high, don’t just let it lay on the rim of the toilet and “slip” the water into the bowl). Don’t, of course, overflow the toilet. Gravity and the force of the water being poured quickly helps force the clog to move.  This works best if the toilet bowl doesn’t have too much water already in it, so scooping water out is vital.  The hot water will force the dish soap down into the drain helping to lubricate the pipes and will help the clog to slide through the pipe. The hot water will make it more slippery and the fast pace and weight of the water will also help to push the clog down then pipe. 

If the water in the bowl moves down quickly, you may have just unclogged the toilet. If the water level is at or below normal, flush once. If it flushes normally, wait and flush again.  If it acts normally, you are good to go.  You can now pour the nasty water back into the toilet, then flush a few times to get it to all go away. 

IF, however, the clog is still there and the hot water is all piled up in then bowl, you can TRY plunging again now that the soap is in the bowl/pipes to see if the clog can can be cleared.  This works sometimes, but if it doesn’t, you’ll need to “SNAKE” it with a toilet auger.  

A word about AUGERS:  There are really cheap snakes that are sold at the hardware stores that are simply a giant springy-looking thing with a couple of metal bits on them that I never fully understood how to use. Me, being a landlord and knowing that clogged toilets are going to happen probably more often that I’d like, decided to go bigger, but not overboard.  So I bought a professional “RIGID” auger.  It’s not powered, it is not for a HUGE house’s entire drainage line, it’s strictly for toilets.  The one pictured here I bought for $26 +/-. It runs on “JANNE” power, not electricity.

The ORANGE bit at the bottom is to help you avoid scratching the toilet bowl. The upper two orange bits are handles. The windy-spring looking “snake” bit with the large ball near the handle is what clears the clogs.  This model is nice in that when you pull the snake part up into the vertical pole, it is encased inside a second metal sleeve so you will never touch it, but always wear your rubber gloves just in case. 

BEFORE AUGERING: stack 3-4 paper towels on the floor beside the toilet and put on your RUBBER GLOVES. I put on my rubber gloves before touching the auger as it has been used before. 

TO DO the AUGERING:  Pull the uppermost crank-handle all the way out of the PIPE section to pull the snake up into the pipe so that only the very end of the snake is sticking out of the pipe at the very bottom of the pipe. This auger has an inner metal sleeve that covers the snake to help you avoid ever touching the snake.  The orange bit at the bottom is there to keep you from scratching your toilet. The snake will only have the bulb-shaped portion sticking out of the lower pipe when the handle is in its “OUT” position (this makes the auger about 6’ long when the snake is inside the pipe).

Insert the lower orange curved piece into the lowest point of your toilet bowl at the drain and lean the entire auger so that the snake is sort of facing upwards into the toilet drain pipe. The two handles will be far apart.  You will now push the crank-handle toward the pipe handle, shoving the snake into the drain pipe of the toilet.  Keep the auger’s plastic curved piece firmly in place at the bottom of the toilet.  The crank handle/pole needs to be forced downward so the snake will be forced down the curved drain. You’ll need to wiggle the auger, adjust the angle and shove hard to bring the 2 handles together as shown in the picture.  The snake part of the auger will have a few issues getting all the way down into the toilet’s curvy pipes. If it won’t seem to go, try adjusting the angle of the auger, but keep the orange bit at the bottom on the bottom of the toilet.  Once the auger looks like the picture again (the 2 orange handles are close together, crank the handle a bunch (20 times or so) in one direction, then turn it back in the other direction, back and forth many times. Once the clog is cleared, excessive turning will help remove clog bits from the snake.  You may not know exactly when the clog is cleared many times, so more turns of the handle won’t hurt anything.  By this time you will know how hard it is to get the snake into the toilet, so be sure to turn the handle lots as you don’t want to have to do this again.  

Now it’s time to remove the snake/auger from the toilet. I, because I don’t want part of the clog to be stuck to my snake, I will jiggle the handle back and forth (up and down) as I pull the crank handle away from the pipe’s handle.  You’ll need to pull the crank handle all the way up until just the ball of the snake is at the entrance to the pipe (the orange bit at the bottom) as it was when you inserted it into your toilet, so you don’t scratch the toilet bowl.  Shake the water off of the auger and remove it from the toilet and set it on the prepared paper towels you put beside the toilet and lean it against the wall so you can check the clog/flushing of the toilet. 

Now use the steps above to check to see if the clog is cleared.  Use your bucket to pour water into the toilet, or if the water level is below “normal” you can flush ONCE. If the toilet flushes normally, you are done.  If not, you may need to repeat the Auger process, or try plunging again, your choice. 

Once you are finished with the clog, and the snake is back in then pole (the handle will be way up in the air), to store it, I use the paper towels on the floor to hold onto the snake and wipe it off as I pull it back out of the pipe so the two handles can once again be in their closed position.  I use the paper towels to wipe down the entire snake.  It will rust over time.  I put it out in my garage to dry fully to help keep the rust away.  They have more expensive augers, some that are longer to clear a clog that is not right up at the toilet, which you may eventually need, but for most “naturally occurring clogs” caused by poo or paper, this is an excellent mid-priced piece of equipment you’ll thank me later for making you purchase! 

Note: These methods may not be as effective on clogs caused by kids flushing a Superman figurine down the toilet. You need to make sure your lease states that these types of clogs will be charged to the tenant! If your lease doesn’t cover this, you will be financially responsible for these clogs.  If it’s not in your lease YET and you are currently working to clear this type of clog, create a lease addendum stating that UN-NATURAL items flushed down the toilet causing a clog will be the financial responsibility of the tenant.  You can also add that it is now the tenant’s job to clear the natural clogs, or a fee of $_____ ($25 – $100) will be charged on all future clogs as this is something that most people are capable of doing, but just don’t want to do until there is a dollar sign attached to the process. I would use this as a life-lesson, as I call it, to teach the tenant how it’s done from trouble shooting all the way through the auger process.  Educating tenants one at a time is not really effective, but maybe they’ll teach their mother, brother or neighbor so that eventually the whole world will know how to unstop a toilet. Probably not, though.  Wishful thinking!

ONCE YOUR CLOG IS CLEARED:   It doesn’t matter who’s toilet it is you have just unclogged.  You had the duty to get rid of the clog.  Just because the clog is gone, the job is not done (sorry, not sorry for all the puns in this sentence). CLEAN UP BEHIND YOURSELF.  Clean the space and your tools.   This is the RIGHT thing to do.  Don’t leave a mess for your tenant.  This may be the only cleaning/sanitizing your rent house will ever see!  Take some Fabuloso/Pine-Sol or some other cleanser and WITH YOUR RUBBER GLOVES STILL ON, clean the toilet with the cleanser and paper towels.  Clean the under side of the rim well, clean the floor around the toilet, wipe off the toilet bowl inside and out. Use an Allen wrench to clean out the holes under the rim where the water enters the bowl when flushed.  You’d be surprised how minerals build up and because of low/slow water flow, the toilet will clog again.  Leave it sparkling clean and above all, smelling fresh.  If this is a tenant’s toilet, show THEM how to clean the toilet, especially if it was disgusting when you got there.  For extra credit, you could clean the rest of the floor in the bathroom and even the sink and/or tub.  Explain what all you did to clear the clog so (and clean the bathroom) so that your tenant will learn to trouble shoot themselves.  Let them know that THIS (new clean toilet/bathroom) is the way it should look on a daily/weekly basis. Expect more from your tenant, you probably won’t get it, but you can still let them know what you expect. You’ll feel better for a job well done, even though it was crappy work! (Pun intended). You may also want to mention the fact about IF they want their security deposit back at the end of their lease, THIS is the cleanliness level you expect. You can let them know that cleaning a nasty bathroom (if it was bad when you arrived) costs them money which comes out of their security deposit.  IF they want all that money back, it needs to be spotless, just like it was when they moved in. 

Happy Landlording!

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Any documents you bring in, we will happily make copies and return your originals to you.

All fees must be paid with certified funds (WE PREFER: Money Orders).  No Cash or Personal Checks. If for any reason you are not qualified for one of our units, we will simply give you back your money order rather than you having to wait for our bookkeeping department to cut a refund check (7-10 day turnaround).

Application appointments are available M-F (10 – 5) at 293 S. Walnut Bend Rd. Cordova, TN 38018.    Appointments required.

Call to schedule your appointment today!  901-290-6202


Viewing the unit:

For the safety of our employees, Rental Units will only be shown AFTER you have had an appointment at our rental office and provided approved Photo ID, and paid your $100 application fee.  The application fee refundable if you do not qualify.

We schedule viewings of the property on the weekends.  If you hate the unit, or the layout will not work for you, we will gladly refund your Application Fee.

 Because we schedule viewings while tenants are still in the unit, you should not bring children or animals to the viewing, only the adult applicants.

The following items must be provided when completing a Rental Application.

  • Drivers’ License (or State Photo ID) (original, no photocopies) for ALL adult applicants (age 18 and over).
  • Social Security Card (original, no photocopies)
  • $100.00 APPLICATION FEE per unit, not per person: (REFUNDABLE) If you do not qualify or are not selected for the unit, this will be refunded 100%. If approved for the unit, this fee is credited toward your 2nd Month’s rentPlease, Do not combine fees onto the same Money Order, this will only slow down your refund.
  • $35.00 Background Check Fee (NON-REFUNDABLE) required for each ADULT who will be living in the unit and/or Co-Signers for the property. ALL $35 fees must be paid with separate Money Orders in the event you are due a refundAll applicants must make application in person.
  • PHOTO: We reserve the right to take a current photo of all adult applicants.



Bring the following items to make your application process move more quickly.

The property you are interested in will not be vacant long!  At the last turn-over, this unit rented in 3 days and with a 6-hour turn-over time.  Don’t delay!  Get  all of these items together.  They are required with your application.  Applications will not be processed until all of these items are submitted. 

  • Pay Stubs: Two Months of Pay Stubs (this could be up to 8 paystubs), must be most recent 2 months, older paystubs are not acceptable. You can also have your company EMAIL PDF copies of Pay Stubs directly to US: e-mail
  • Current Lease Bring your current original lease with signatures of your former landlord and we will happily make copies so you can keep your original. If you have past leases (for the last 3 places you’ve lived), this will only help you qualify sooner.  If you do not have a current lease, please bring as many of the following as you have.
  • Previous Address(es): We need at least 3 addresses of rental history or the past 3 years if you don’t have 3 previous addresses, bring this information with you; Landlord names, Leasing Agency/Property Manager names, and their phone numbers & email addresses.  Be sure to include apartment numbers on your application form.
  • Copy of a current MLG & W bill (or other utility company if you are from out of the area). [If you have never had utilities in your name, you need to make application NOW so that you can have power by the time you move in if accepted.]
  • Employment Information: Three (3) years records are required. Bring Company Name, Manager’s Name, Company Address, phone, supervisor’s name, phone, etc., with you. Make sure your Work History Dates are accurate as well as your hourly wages/salaries. These will be verified. If you falsify any information on your application, you will be automatically disqualified from tenancy. You can write these down on a separate sheet of paper if you wish and just give this list to us (as opposed to filling out tiny blanks on our application form).
  • Emergency Contacts: Bring the names, addresses, email addresses, phone/cell numbers of at least 3 people who do not live with you, that we may need to contact in the event of an emergency and we cannot get in touch with you, or in the event something happens to you (fire, tornado, illness or death etc.).  We HOPE we will never need to use this information. You can write these down on a separate sheet of paper  (as opposed to filling out tiny blanks on our application form).
  • RENTER’S INSURANCE: Bring a copy of your current policy, or make application for a policy.  This is required to live in our units. If you do not currently have a policy or a good insurance agent, contact Lynn McDonald at Allstate Insurance (901-849-7101) and tell her you were referred by Zack Properties and she will give you the best rate available to date. It costs around $12-$20 per month and will protect YOUR items in the event of a fire, flood, tornado, theft, etc., even things stolen from your car are covered!  It also covers the house should you accidentally set it on fire, or your washer over flows, etc. You are out $0.00 and your insurance pays for the damages. If you do not have renter’s insurance and the building burns down or is broken into, your items will NOT covered. Our policy only covers the structure and our equipment. In most cases,  accidental damage caused by you is covered under your renter’s insurance policy, thus you may receive more of your security deposit back at the end of your lease.


  • We are an Equal Opportunity Home Leasing Company.
  • The applicant(s) with the most favorable Credit, Financial and Criminal Background as well as continuous Work History will be accepted as the tenant, not necessarily the first applicant.
  • Argumentative or Combative applicants will not be accepted.
  • Applications that are incomplete will not be processed until they are complete.
  • Applications that are untruthful will be automatically denied.

All fees prior to tenancy must be made in certified funds on SEPARATE Money Orders or Cashier’s Checks.

You will need the following checks (quick reference) prior to tenancy:
  1. Application Fee (1 per unit) = $100.00
  2. Back Ground Check Fee (per tenant over 18 years of age) = $35.00 each (separate money orders, please!)
ONCE APPROVED, you will need the following Certified Funds:
  1. Security Deposit = $1,000 (Cashier’s Check Preferred) to hold the unit until your move-in day which must be by the first of the next month.
  2. First Month’s Rent (no discounts on first month) = $1,395.00

We prefer no pets because of conditions with this unit. However, if you must have a pet, we reserve the right to interview the pet and will require the following:

  1. Pet Deposit  = $250.00 per pet
  2. $25 per month PET RENT per pet.
  3. If any other pets are brought into the property – including visiting, pet-sitting or fostering pets that are not PREVIOUSLY APPROVED IN WRITING FROM THE LANDLORD, you will be charged a separate PET DEPOSIT of $300 plus $35 per month rental from the FIRST DATE OF TENANCY.

NOTE:  SAs or ESAs have no additional fees if properly disclosed and all reasonable accommodations (in writing) are received by the landlord PRIOR to bringing in the animal.  All ESAs require a “prescriptions” or “doctors’ letter” dated within the past 12 months by a local physician, therapist or social worker in accordance with HUD regulations and the state of TN.  These must all be in order PRIOR to moving an animal into the unit.

To FALSELY identify a pet as an ESA by lying or using a fake letter obtained online is equivalent to “impersonating a disabled person” and is illegal and dishonest.  If this is found to be the case, you will be denied tenancy.  If you are already in one of our units, the pet fees referenced above will be doubled ($600 deposit & $70 per month PER PET rent retroactive to the 1st month of tenancy).


Being a Landlord and Keeping your Sanity

If you are a landlord and you struggle with landlord issues such as some of the following topics, then come here often to see articles related to being a landlord and keeping your sanity.

  • Screening Potential Tenants
  • How to save for repairs & renovations
  • To allow pets or not
  • Legal issues you’ll face with tenants
  • Fair Housing
  • How to become a Preferred Housing Provider

For Rent – Chumley


The Chumley

9859 Maggie Woods Lane; Arlington, TN 38002

Rental Information:

  • DISCOUNTED RENT: $1,295.00* per month
    • Active Military Discount: $50 discount*
    • On-Time Payment Discount: $50 discount*
    • *To receive your monthly discount your rent payment must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the first of the month. NO EXCEPTIONS.  (If your check bounces, you lose your discount for the current month.)
  • Security DEPOSIT: $1,000.00
    • Security Deposit is fully refundable if unit left EMPTY, CLEAN and UNDAMAGED.
  • Credit Check Fee: $35.00 per adult age 18 and over.
  • Application Fee: $100.00 (Fully Refundable – or applied to 2nd month’s rent if you are approved)
  • No Pets.
  • To qualify for this home your household income should be $4,000.00 per month.
  • Call or Text:  901-290-6202 (between 9am – 7pm please)
  • Or EMAIL:
  • We are an equal housing provider.
  • Requirements for Applying for this unit: visit HERE
  • For a fun list of “The 14 Things Landlords wish their Tenants Knew“, or visit for other great articles.
  • Though the school district is Cordova HS, we have been told by Arlington Schools that students with a good record may transfer in at no cost if living in Shelby County.  Call Arlington Schools (901.389.2497) or visit


Rent House Chumley
The Chumley, Single Family Home

This home has an “Open Concept” Great Room which is open to the Kitchen, a large eating bar and the Dining Room. There is a HUGE Pantry (6′ wide by 3′ deep) big enough to hold a month’s worth of food!  There is also a Coat Closet that is over 4′ wide, enough space for your own coats plus your guests’ coats and a few children’s backpacks too!  There is a Powder Room on the first floor directly across from the coat closet (under the staircase).




Tenant Pic:

Entry Hall (just inside Front Door and Garage Entry)


Panoramic pic of the open concept.

Tenant Pics:

Great Room
Great Room – Open Concept (tenant furnishings)

Kitchen view from Great Room (tenant furnishings)

Great Room (former tenant furnishings)


Brand new appliances (stove still has blue wrap)

Refrigerator was added prior to first tenant. The fridge comes with this unit.

There is a Stainless Steel Refrigerator now included in this unit! 

Tenant pic: (Fridge stays in the unit)

Kitchen as furnished by tenant.


Notice the size of the pantry! (It’s so large it wouldn’t fit into one picture!)


Pantry as stocked by current tenant


  This lot would not accommodate a double garage, therefore only a single garage is with this unit.  This Garage is 20′ deep x 12′ wide.  My Ford F-150 Extended Cab Pick-up with a 6′-6″ bed fits inside the garage and the door WILL shut!  Most vehicles are not as long as my truck, so I’m confident your car will fully fit into the garage.  There is space left over to store bicycles, lawn mowers and trimmers, etc.  There are wood strips attached to the walls to hang tools and toys.



Not only is there a 1-car garage, but there is also a double-wide parking pad out front.  So you have three (3) dedicated parking spaces on the lot and will not need to rely on street parking for your extra vehicles. (Street parking is often difficult to find.)


There is a Powder Room on the first floor for quick access and for guest use. It has an automatic door closer on the hinge to keep the door closed when not in use.  To keep utilities low, low volume toilets  were installed and low flow faucets are installed at all vanities.

Here is the Powder Room. It is open to a small hallway between the Entry and the Great Room - directly across from the Coat closet. It sits under the stairs, tucked away, yet there when you need it. No running up and down the stairs for the restroom facilities for you or your guests.
Here is the Powder Room. It is open to a small hallway between the Entry and the Great Room – directly across from the Coat closet. It sits under the stairs, tucked away, yet there when you need it. No running up and down the stairs for the restroom facilities for you or your guests.




The Master:


Unfortunately this picture is a bit dark, but you’ll see a ceiling fan, 10′ ceilings and a beautiful wooded view.  There are 34 acres of land behind this property. The view is wonderful.

Tenant Pics:  

Dresser space is about 10′ wide. Walkway between Queen bed & dresser is about 4-5′

Queen Size Bed shown, King will fit easily.

The Master has a 7′ x 7′ walk-in closet and it’s own En-Suite Bathroom.


Dual Vanities, natural light and plenty of storage in the cabinets and 3 drawers between the sinks.MASTER BATH


Stand-Up Shower is 5′ long!

Tenant pic of Master Bath with decor:

Master Bath by tenant


Bedroom 2 also has a vaulted ceiling (10′ high) and a Walk-In closet!

BR. 2
10′ Vaulted Ceiling in Bedroom 2 (over Garage on front of house)

Walk-In Closet in Bedroom 2

There is a window in this closet, the small window with the shutters on the front of the house. Every child who has experienced this closet wants to live here!!!  We utilized the space  above the stairs to open this closet up for more storage.  What kid CAN’T keep their room clean with a closet this big?

Tenant pic:

Bedroom 2 as an office.

Bedroom 3 is 11′ x 11′ and has a 7′ long closet.  It’s not walk-in, but it is HUGE for a rental unit.


BR. 3A

BR. 3B

Tenant’s pic: 

Bedroom 3 is currently a “Guest Bedroom” with a Queen Sized Bed. There is lots of space left over for other furniture pieces.


The Secondary Bathroom has a 4′-6″ vanity.  It is large enough for several kids to have space in a drawer or on the counter.  There is a Tub / Shower Combo in this bathroom.  This bathroom is located between Bedroom 2 and 3 for easy access.



Tenant’s Pic:  Bath 2

Bath 2


The Laundry Room is on the 2nd floor with all the bedrooms (to save you from running up and down the stairs with all the clothes). There is also a huge linen closet up there too!


Tenant Pic:

Laundry Room. Tenant says the washer and dryer are a little difficult to get up the stairs, but LOVE the fact that they don’t have to carry all the laundry to the first floor to do laundry.



This linen closet is extra deep.  There is space between the 16″ deep shelves and door so that you can store your ironing board, or an upright vacuum cleaner. Your luggage would probably fit under the bottom shelf.


  The back yard is fully fenced.  It’s small, which means very little mowing is required. Perfectly private! The yard is TINY, therefore, very little mowing will be required.

Privacy Fence and Patio
Privacy Fence and Patio

2015-09-29 09.45.21
Privacy Fence & Patio

2015-09-29 09.45.31
Fence at Side of house

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Fuzzy Kilt World

Hi, Y’all!

I am a home designer, not an interior decorator, but I design the HOUSE (structure) itself and I’m a girl . . . (gasp!).

In designing a new home, my goal is to get all the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, closets, living areas, etc., in the right spot, within the square footage you want (or can afford to build) and the ultimate goal is to NEVER have space left over in planning (SLOIP). I thrive on the challenge of the “hard-to-fit” building lot, massaging the design so that you can get the house you want in the footprint available. Designing Tiny Homes is my ultimate challenge. I often dream houses, for this reason I keep a drawing pad beside my bed so I can sketch it out and actually remember it the next morning. Most times, it’s a great idea. (Most days.)

DISCLAIMER: I do not know how to spell. I know some pretty good grammar, but sometimes I just ignore it. I tend to use southern talkin’, so you’ll just have to interpret it as best as you can. Most days I remember to use the proper words, there, their, or they’re or maybe Sale or Sell, but I don’t promise to be perfect. So, now that you know I ask that you at least be kind in your comments.

I hope you like it, I’d love to read your comments as well, if you have design questions, I’d love to help you answer those questions. I do a lot of free sketches… within reason. If this gets out of control, at some point I will have to charge, but I don’t have that much faith in my blogging abilities at the moment. Hope to see you around!


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