Wednesday, May 4

My Kingdom For A Mortgage

Every now and then I remember why apartment living sucks. Now is one of those thens.

For about a year, our apartment has had a mold problem. It grows on our bathroom ceiling, our bedroom wall, and all of our window sills. And for about a year, I have been trying to get management/maintenance to take a peek and make sure it's not that toxic flesh-eating furniture-ruining death-causing kind of mold. Otherwise, I don't care, I can spray Tilex as well as anybody.

And, for about a year, every single one of my complaints has either fallen on deaf ears, or resulted in the token visit of a busy maintenance man, who invariably comes when I am not home and sprays my window sills and leaves. Not once have they ever so much as peeked at the walls or ceiling. And they often leave irate little notes informing me that sometimes, when it's cold outside and warm inside there is condensation that causes moisture that results in mold that I, too, can spray away. This has literally happened about 7 times. Last month when they came to inspect for lead-based paint, I mentioned it to the groundskeeper escorting the paint guy. Two days later, we came home to a note on the door informing us that our window sills had been sprayed again. Good fricking grief.

Finally, I went to the leasing office and explained, in person, that I do not give a rat's fuzzy rump about the sills, I am concerned about the WALLS AND CEILING. The rep assured me that they would immediately look into it.

The next day . . . yes, it's true. There was a note on the door informing us that our window sills had been sprayed again.

I was on the phone in an instant, fairly pissed off. (Cough cough.) I informed Michael of the above scenario. He gave me the routine about how all the important, competent employees were relatively new, and I couldn't hold them accountable for a year's worth of neglect. I also told him that in my opinion, they were not living up to the lease agreement, namely that the management would maintain a safe, healthy apartment building. He disagreed. We went through an entire song-and-dance of me being pissed and him being defensive. This lasted, according to my cordless phone's digital display, a bit over 32 minutes. It ended with him agreeing to come see the mold in person, with the head of maintenance, in a few days.

Second issue: we also received notice that our apartment would be sprayed for roaches on May 2 and please empty our entire kitchen pantry and bathroom linen closet. (At that time, we had not seen any roaches. In the next few days, we saw five. EW.)

May 2: my kitchen pantry looks like it barfed itself onto the dining room table and floor. The bathroom is ankle-high in cotton balls and Tampax and about six thousand generic variations on NyQuil. We are ready for the Great Roach Faceoff of 2005. The exterminator is due between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Don't you love those specific time slots they give you?)

9:30 a.m.: baby is down for a nap, I jump in the shower.

9:43 a.m.: I get out of the shower.

After getting dressed, I discovered a calling card on my kitchen counter from the roach dude. It had the company name and said "Your Pest Service Has Been Completed On _________." The blank is still blank. I check my front door-- it is unlocked. The guy obviously came and went while I was in the shower. I know he didn't come in the bathroom . . . and my daughter's high chair was still blocking the kitchen pantry door. A peek inside told me he hadn't touched it.

I called the office again, got voicemail, and nobody called me back. 2 hours later, I called again, and spoke with Michael (who, by this time, I'm sure, had decided I was his least favorite resident.) I explained the roach situation. Michael replied that the roach guy had said he successfully sprayed every apartment ("every apartment," by implication, meaning "mine.") I probably just couldn't tell, he said. I begged to differ. He didn't believe me, but replied that he planned to come see my apartment and inspect the mold anyway the following morning "before noon."

May 3: noon comes and goes. No Michael. No surprise. I call the office. "I told you I'd be there today or tomorrow," he says. Right. Jared gets sick of wading through mouthwash and tweezers to pee and replaces everything in the bathroom closet. Dining room still looks like canned goods drive.

May 4: Michael arrives at my door at 9:30 a.m. with the head of maintenance. I smile sweetly and tell Michael that this is NOT our first meeting. Despite his claims that I can't blame him for past lack of service, I spoke to him in person on January 7 about our mold. "Well, January seventh, I only started working here on the first, so you can't blame me for that," he says. Of course not. Michael is above reproach!

We continue. They inspect the mold with a little pronged electronic doodad. There is mold, there is moisture, but it's not the toxic killing kind. That's good. Except for the bathroom ceiling-- the little prongs collapse part of the ceiling and the moisture reading is 100%. The upstairs neighbor's shower must be leaking. They need to rip out part of our ceiling and replace it. Also, our tub needs recaulking. (Side note: you will believe, of course, when I tell you they have caulked our tub four times in the last 21 months? It keeps "melting," no matter HOW long we let the dumb thing sit-- taking showers at a friend's house. Bah.)

Head of maintenance says he will return this afternoon to do preliminary stuff (I pointed out that my husband needs to shower for work in the morning and we can't suddenly vacate our only shower for 24 hours without notice.)

Then they inspect the pantry. No, the roach man definitely did NOT spray. Roach man will return on Monday, Michael tells me. Seems at least genuinely ticked at roach man (ha ha-- get it? ticked? roach . . . ? oh fine.) They leave.

5:30 p.m., "this afternoon" arguably come and gone, neither hide nor hair of maintenance man. I call the office. Michael answers. Oh, he says, maintenance man will be there in the MORNING, not TODAY . . .

I have a headache. I'd tell Michael to go soak his head, but I can't offer him my shower. It's going to be recaulked soon.


At 6:53 PM, Blogger plucky said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Elise said...

How crummy! They haven't fixed anything here, either. I haven't told them about the big stuff like our shower needing caulked because they can't even fix the little stuff. When our window was broken they took the frame out to repair it and I was left with a duct taped cardboard window for two months - in winter - with rain and snow. Lucky us in six days we'll own our own house!


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