Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Issues, Issues, and More Issues

I have been experiencing some issues with my Blogger account. It hasn't let me publish anything for the past few days! In fact, Blogger destroyed this message twice when I tried to publish it so I rewrote it each time, partially because I was so mad that rewriting it was the least I could do to get it out of my system. Of course, considering the events of this past four days, my silence is probably a favor for all of you, dear readers. But I do have a story to tell you that might amuse you (at my expense, of course).

As you probably recall, I have been having problems with my apartment recently; smelly problems. Even though the dead mouse issue did eventually resolve itself -- on the day that I expected it would render my apartment uninhabitable -- but my apartment problems do not end with dead mice. (Incidentally, I now agree with you, dear readers, this mouse probably did expire in the walls and not under my cabinetry, as I hypothesized in that essay). In fact, it seems that everything in my apartment has decided to break all at once.

It all started when my bedroom light decided to stop working because it is getting ready to fall off the ceiling and onto my head. The fixture is currently hanging by one wire -- a wire that I am certain will explode into flames one night soon, transforming all my parrots and me into crispy critters. When I complained about this to the Building Super, he refused to listen to me, instead advising me to replace the light bulb. I insisted that the malfunction had nothing to do with the light bulb itself, that the fixture was the source of the problem. He finally relented and made an appointment with me to look at the fixture, but never showed up. Because he doesn’t answer his phone nor does he respond to voicemails, I had to physically hunt him down. A few weeks after this broken appointment, I managed to corner him near the garbage cans. At this point, he made a second appointment to look at the light fixture. But then he stood me up. Again.

By this time, it was getting dark early, so I have no ambient light in the early mornings when I get up. I now use a flashlight to choose my clothes each morning -- a situation that resulted in some rather odd color combinations -- combinations that probably keep my students entertained.

Before I managed to corner the Building Super to schedule yet another appointment with him to fix my bedroom light fixture, the next thing to begin to show unmistakable signs of decay is my one and only functional door lock. The barrel-like thingamabob that the key fits into is falling out of the lock, so this means that I can barely unlock my door, and only inconsistently even then, so I have to perform all sorts of special gyrations with the key before I can gain entrance to my own apartment. Of course, when this lock finally falls apart, I don’t have a functioning deadbolt that I can use as backup because the doorframe is in a state of advanced .. disrepair .. so it must be rebuilt before the deadbolt can be installed.

So why didn't I get the doorframe rebuilt way back when? Well, I certainly tried. When I first moved in, the Building Super promised that he would fix the door frame as he was putting the finishing touches on the apartment refurbishment, but this was an all-day job, which meant that I had to take a day off work while he fixed it. He scheduled several appointments with me to fix it, but never showed up for any of them, he also never called to let me know that he wouldn’t show up, and he never answered his phone nor responded to his voicemail messages. So after missing a day of work here and there for three months or so (this was when I had a real job, mind you -- a job that I loved), I never managed to get around to it again. It was an enormous hassle and besides, no one wanted to break in; I didn't own anything worth stealing. Or so my reasoning went.

Then this past weekend, another thing went horribly wrong in my apartment: my bathtub decided to clog up and create a small flood. This was rather exciting because my parrots like to jump in to the bathtub when I take a shower, never expecting that they need to know how to swim first. After three days of making increasingly rude and insistent phone calls to the landlord, the Building Super, the landlord's emergency answering service and then finally to the City of New York Housing Authorities, I finally found the Building Super at my door late on Sunday night, furious that I had filed a formal complaint with the city. Anyway, five minutes later, the bathtub issue was resolved.

But after he had finished clearing the bathtub pipe, the Building Super then accused me of throwing aquarium rocks in the bathtub, which is absurd because I don’t keep any aquariums. I repeatedly told him that the ceiling plaster surrounding the steam-heat pipes in the bathroom was cracking and breaking and falling into my bathtub, that the heat had just been turned on this past Friday which is when the clog problem began, and despite sweeping the dirt from my bathtub every morning, several tons of rock had evidently managed to escape down the drain.

He closely inspected several of the retrieved rocks before grudgingly conceding that I was right. He looked up at the rubble-filled hole in the ceiling surrounding the steam-heat pipe.

“This problem will only come back if that is not fixed right away,” he said, as if I had not already realized this. As he packed up his tools, he made an appointment to fix the bathroom ceiling on Tuesday (today). Then, as I went to open my apartment door for him, he saw the half-installed deadbolt (thanks to me) and the ravaged doorframe (thanks to him).

“What’s this?” He asked, brushing his fingers along the deadbolt and the doorframe. “What happened here?”

“Oh, you remember that, don’t you? That’s the deadbolt that you were supposed to install when I first moved in two years ago,” I replied evenly.

“Ooooh … “ he said as if suddenly remembering all those years of .. forgetting. He fingered the free end of the lock that should have been attached to the (nonexistent) doorframe before he regained his composure.

“But you never complained about thees,” he said defensively, his accent becoming more obvious.

“Oh yes I did complain! I complained for months! You never showed up for any of your appointments!”

“But you never complain about anything!” He asserted, as if this was my fault, as if I had not responded to his comment at all. “If you complain, I fix it!”

He stepped into the hallway with his tools. I locked the door behind him. I then went into the kitchen and pulled on the cord attached to the light fixture, only to have it fall away in my hand. Sighing with defeat in the darkness, I went into the bedroom to find my flashlight so I could wash the dishes.


So today was the day when the Building Super was supposed to show up to fix my bathroom ceiling. I'll bet you can guess what happened! I think I now need to wear a motorcycle helmet while taking a shower.


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© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist

7 Peer Reviews:

Anonymous Jeff said...

Great story.

Just stopped by to say Hi.

Aloha,

Jeff

10:46 AM  
Blogger : Joseph j7uy5 said...

That sounds like the Chemistry building on the U Mich campus when I was an undergrad.

During the final exam in the second sememster of organic, perhaps the single most important such exam for pre-med students, there were ceiling tiles falling onto the desks. Those of us with medical aspitations were furious, thinking our entire careeers could be derailed by lousy maintenance.


I'm glad I don't live in New York.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Bughunter said...

Wow... and here I am complaining because the cold water tap doesn't work in the bathtub and the laundry machine has to be physically hooked up each time I need to wash my clothes.

I'm feeling a bit better about my place.

1:50 PM  
Blogger BotanicalGirl said...

On an entirely practical note: deliver all your service requests from now on in writing to him, and state that if they are not repaired within the week or an appointment has not been made, you will file a complaint with the city and the landlord.

Keep a dated copy and make a note on it if he makes an appointment, stands you up, etc.

Paper trails are good to have in situations like this where they magically 'forget' all your complaints.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Phila said...

Sounds about right for NYC. I remember getting woken up at about 3 AM one night by a strange trickling sound. A second or two after I focused my eyes, the ceiling cracked open and a deluge of water, plaster, and bugs came down on my bed.

2:16 PM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Jeff; thanks, I am glad that you enjoyed it.

Joseph; it looks as though poor maintenance didn't destroy your career aspirations, anyway!

Bughunter; the Super is busily fixing everything now. It's taken him all freaking week, and he still has more things to attend to. He was bragging to me this morning that I had only made one complaint in two years of living in this apartment .. I was thinking that our definitions of "complaint" are vastly different. The worst thing about all this? I actually like him as a person, so I can't choke him to death, as I wish to do.

BotanicalGirl; thanks for the advice. The weird thing about all this is that I never expect to be treated badly, and when I am, I think it is a mistake on my part or that they misunderstood me. So I never do the things that one should do when expecting a fight until too late.

Phila; EEEWWWW! That's a horrible story! All my stories pale in comparison (thankfully!).

GrrlScientist

8:00 PM  
Blogger Noumenon said...

When you mentioned landlords and dead mice on your front page I Googled your site for landlord. Glad I did. What a guy! Think I'll stay out here in Ruraltown.

10:31 AM  

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