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Dear Oprah,

Since I don’t have Abby’s address, and because she’s gone to that great problem solver’s universe in the sky, I am writing you…again…it would sure help if you would respond.

A couple of years ago I wrote you about our landlord and how creepy he is.  Well, it seemed that we had come to some sort of agreement that we could live with him in this house he is so obviously lord of, as long as we tread a wide path around each other.  The boys have actually come to like him.  He lays with them in their beds at night sometimes as long as they stroke his head and put up with his vibrating. I know as parents we should probably put a stop to this…  Anyway, they have even given him a nickname– “Doodly.”  Pierce must have Stockholm syndrome because he has come to love him so much that when his cousin came over and grabbed Doodly exclaiming he was taking him home to his house, Pierce cried.  I thought we were going to finally be free.  Damn!

His business name is Mr. Flanders.  Mr. Flanders can, at times be quite cordial even friendly as he joins me on the sofa occasionally in the evenings in front of the television.  He does knowingly but subtly threaten me with eviction, I’m certain, because sometimes when he sits near me I am forced to rub his head, and if I try to stop he pushes his face really hard against my hand.  It is no coincidence that I can feel his teeth running across my knuckles as a little reminder that he is lord.  He letting me know that I better not stop with the heavy petting or there’s going to be trouble.  I fear our tenancy hangs in the balance.  And I also feel a little violated.

There is this energy in our home that makes Greg and I both feel stressed and tired and a little ornery these days.  I assumed it was the children, but now I am beginning to question everything.  Sometimes I come into the room and he’s just sitting there like he’s been waiting for me, staring his unblinking stare.  For such a small guy he has a menacing presence.  I am terrified he will start with the demands…the demands I can’t understand but don’t want to anger him.

He has the precision of a Swiss time piece.  Just about the time we settle down in bed he starts speaking at us from the hallway.  It’s generally a punctuated cadence and definitely some other language.  It seems to be the same word over and over with different inflections.  Sometimes it’s like he’s just saying hi and other times he appears to be asking a question.  I think he is calling to Greg, but G. begs to differ. Often times he just randomly screams at us, but always, he waits until we are almost asleep, or better yet ASLEEP.  There are times I desperately pat the bed in my sleep stupor as an invitation to come and lay down with us hoping it will shut him up.  Weird, I know, but we have to get some sleep!  It sometimes works, but then he starts trying to force me to rub his head at 3am.  Sometimes, though, it doesn’t work…it seems he just wants us to get up and open the door for him to leave the house, even though he has his own entrance.  He’s a total sadist, and he keeps his own hours.  I have been known to thrust a kick at his rear end when he saunters out the door, but I’m careful with the contact…we have nowhere else to go.
Help Oprah!  Is this a normal living situation with a landlord?

Terrified and sleep deprived in Lake Mary….