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Gripes About Apartment Living

February 28, 2013
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In December, I signed a six-month lease on an apartment because our house had sold and we needed a short-term place to live until I can finish the process of retirement.  Because I have a dog, my choices were somewhat limited, but I found a pretty nice place.  Let’s face it, I could have found a nicer place, but I’m cheap and didn’t want to spend much more than a thousand a month.  Besides, this is advertised as a luxury apartment, right?  I am less than ten minutes from work, we’re close to everything, we have a washer and dryer, we’re on the ground floor – Bonnie can just walk out the patio door to take care of dog business – what more could you want?
There have been a few glitches, though.  Bonnie didn’t like being left alone in the apartment (separation anxiety?) and decided to register her complaint by barking non-stop whenever I went to work.  I can only imagine how much this annoyed the neighbors.  It didn’t do Bonnie

Imageany good, either.  She’s damaged her barking voice – she can still bark, but it’s softer and different somehow.  I also received a phone call, followed by a threatening letter from the apartment management.  This problem went away when Monica returned, but for a month or so, I couldn’t leave Bonnie home alone. Ever.

ImageDespite looking superficially clean, I found the the kitchen crawling with roaches the first night that I was there.  Fortunately, I have some awesome bug-killing stuff and was able to take care of that problem promptly.  I didn’t expect that in a luxury (read the sign!) apartment.  To make things worse, two weeks after I moved in, the apartments in our building were treated for roaches by a pest control professional.  I received a letter directing me to remove EVERYTHING from my kitchen and bathroom cabinets in order for them to be treated.  I had to empty them at night before I went to bed and then put the stuff back in the cabinets when I returned from work the next day.  This was more than a minor inconvenience – it took hours.  All the dishes, all of the food, everything had to be somewhere other than the cabinets.  Hey management, how about sending the pest control guys in WHILE THE APARTMENT IS VACANT!!  Just an idea.
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Our building is really quiet because it faces a courtyard and is nowhere near a parking lot.  This is a mixed blessing, however.  Toting the groceries in from the car is a bit more work than it used to be.  I think that’s a fair trade-off, though.  That courtyard is never dark. If you wake up in the middle of the night and look outside, the orangeish glow from the sodium-vapor lights reminds me of a prison.  I tend to sleep facing away from the window, because the closed blinds just don’t do the job.  I guess it’s safer than having things be dark…

Attack of 50 Foot Woman

When I rented my apartment, the unit above was vacant.  I didn’t realize what a good thing that was until someone moved in.  Our building is of conventional construction – there’s nothing between the floor above and our ears except the ceiling drywall.  We hear things that we probably shouldn’t be hearing.  We all have the same floor plan, so the bedrooms are stacked on top of each other.  The tenant above me has bed springs that squeak.  With rhythm.  Often.  We also get the rest of the bawdy audio.  We hear every step that they make upstairs – Monica insists that they’re stomping on purpose, but I don’t believe that.  This morning, the woman above us made a phone call and talked for an hour, waking me up (I worked last night).  The conversation (the side I heard) was fascinating.  We hear them take a shower, we hear them run the vacuum, we hear their TV, we hear them flush.  I really never thought about this before moving in, but it’s the bad side of the ground floor, I suppose.  I would die if I knew that the people below me could hear all of that stuff.  We haven’t mentioned anything about this to the people above.   Yet.
We have some generous closet space, but coming from a house, it isn’t near what we need.  Much of our stuff is in Florida already, and the rest is in a rented storage unit, waiting for the next trip south.  We don’t have enough space in the kitchen for our stuff and the bathrooms are even worse.  One bathroom has a lavatory sink that is in a corner.  There isn’t spece to put anything on the sink.  Not even room for soap.  Monica has one of those pump dispensers balanced on one edge, but it’s just waiting to fall off.  Who designed that thing?  We bought a cabinet for the other bathroom that fits over the toilet.  That helped a little.
Our luxury apartment came complete with appliances!

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We have the cheapest gas range one can find.  It has pilot lights.  It doesn’t have a clock, a light for the oven, or even a window in the oven door.  It cooks food, but that’s all you can say about it.  You need to light the burner with a lighter about half of the time.  The pilot on the right side keeps going out.  I have been a landlord almost my entire life and no tenant of mine has ever had to cook on such a POS.
We have learned to play washing machine roulette.  When I moved in, I reported to management that my washer didn’t work.  The maintenance man came out and didn’t fix anything, he just explained the mystery of the washer.  First, you turn the washer on, then you slam the door shut, then press the start button.  The machine should make a clicking sound and the drum should move a little bit to the left.  If these two things don’t happen when you press the start button, the machine will remain inert forever.  You have to shut off the power, open the door, turn the power on again and then slam the door before you press the start button.  If you don’t see the drum move and hear that click, repeat the power-cycle-and-door-slam maneuver until you do.  If you did this properly, the water should start flowing into the drum in about seven minutes. Why the delay?  Don’t know – it just adds to the mystery. Image
I have already had the dryer replaced.  The new one roars like a jet, and the maintenance guy apparently didn’t get the vent hose placed on the outlet properly.  The windows all fog up when we’re drying clothes.  I’ll need to pull the dryer out to fix that.  We have a shallow single-bowl kitchen sink without a rinser, but there’s a functioning garbage disposal.  We do have a dishwasher that seems to do a great job washing dishes, but has no clue about how to get them dry.  Our refrigerator is small, but it seems to work well.  I miss having the freezer on the bottom though – there’s a lot of knee bending involved in getting anything out of the fridge if you’re a tall guy.  We have our own HVAC system.  It keeps the place warm enough, but you can’t hear the TV when it kicks on.  It also isn’t a condensing unit, so we’re paying for inefficiency.
Copper is expensive.  I understand that.  If you’re going to build a residential building that’s going to get used for fifty years or more, maybe you should think about putting overhead lights in the rooms.  We have switched outlets in the living rooms and bedrooms that turn on table lamps.  This works great, but if you want to put a clock (maybe an alarm clock?) on the nightstand, the only outlet on that wall is switched, so you can’t do it.  The designers/owners of this building have inconvenienced a couple of thousand people to save maybe $50 in copper wire and electrical work.  Their last name is Capano – it’s not like this is their first trip to the rodeo.  We have a master bedroom that requires us to run an extension cord from another bedroom wall to get an alarm clock on the night stand.  Inexcusable.
We’re moving out in June.  These are just temporary accommodations for us.  I really feel sorry for the folks that live here longer than that..  Then again, we seem to see folks moving in and out all of the time.  I think that I know why.
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