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The Inauguration Rental Chronicles follows the epic story of four roommates as they seek to rent out their Northwest townhouse for a glorious sum while battling the tides of waning consumer interest, pie-in-the-sky expectations, and an untested and entirely unknown market.

With less than 500,000 seconds to go before Barack Obama’s inauguration, it seems the girls’ journey has come to an end. And what a long and trying journey it has been. And the worst has still yet to be revealed.

In mid-November, the ladies began posting advertisments on Craiglist. They started by offering 11,000, for any six nights during the week of Jan. 20. They planned to play hotel concierge a bit, buying new linens, towels, and dishes, offering to make restaurant reservations and advising on touristy options. They even were willing to slap on some yellow plastic gloves and clean up after their guests.

Unfortunately, they will never be able to test out their service industry prowess. Despite a few price drops, some Craigslist trickery, and plenty of enthusiasm, they are currently contract-less and now—-sigh—-plan to remain at home on Jan. 20.

In fact, any hope of a last minute rental was officially abandoned weeks ago. Previous infighting—-inauguration and non-inauguration related—-amongst the roommates was exacerbated by a “terrible” flood in the basement. A drain clogged, leaving the roommates without, well, a functioning drainage system for five days.

“I would go to the bathroom at Giant, and I took showers at Grandma’s house,” says one roommate. Another less cleanly resident didn’t shower for five days, and also vomited in the toilet.

Everyone stayed very dehydrated trying to remain pee-free. And then after one dust-up—-an unapproved shower, which worsened flooding in the basement—-a roommate announced she was leaving. With that kind of upheaval, the house decided it needed to concentrate on finding a longterm renter, not an over-paying short-term one. So the dream died. Now the only new person coming this weekend will be a slightly-disliked old friend of one roommate crashing for free on the couch.

“God, all that work that we did!” remarked on roommate. “All I got was a flooded basement, a bad parking situation, a new roommate, and an unwanted house guest!”

Image by Lost Albatross, Flickr Creative Commons