The last few days have been rough. I’ve blogged a bit in the past about our horrible experiences with apartments, whether it be a slumlord landlord, drug dealing (but very friendly) neighbors, or tiles falling on our heads as our entire living room ceiling collapses, there is always something. Our luck, with most things in life it seems, is awful. I have no idea why. I try to have a positive outlook on things, I swear I do, but it can be really difficult to see the bright side of things, when there is something new and awful happening every other day. When there is nothing you can do, and everything is always going wrong, and there is no one who can help you. It breaks you down.
Wednesday started off like a pretty good day. Despite Liam going through a bit of sleep regression, we all woke up relatively well-rested, had some play time, got ready for the day, and went out on the town. Liam had a WIC appointment in the afternoon, where the lady complimented his development and how much he has grown, and talked to us about life, and how great it is that I read up so much on milestones. We were all in a great mood. We got home pretty late, just before Liam’s bed time (around 6:30). I made Liam a bottle, put him in his crib, and stayed with him while he drank. Suddenly, I heard a loud pop, followed by the sound of rushing water.
There are four apartments in our building, and our walls are paper thin. I can hear ever conversation, TV program, and footstep happening in the building. Because of this, I assumed the noise I was hearing was the sound of our next door neighbor using their tub, which is right on the other side of the wall. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was a little too loud to be coming from next door, so I peeked my head into the bathroom, and was greeted by a waterfall of steaming hot water pouring out from the cabinet beneath our sink, flooding our bathroom, and creeping into the hallway.
I immediately opened the cabinet doors, and saw that one of the mesh tubing pipe things had exploded. It wasn’t rusted. It wasn’t frozen. It just exploded. What the freaking heck? I wrapped my hand around the pipe to see if I could stop the water, as I simultaneously turned the valve to shut off the water. Then, three things happened: 1) I cut my hand on the jagged mesh around the pipe, 2) I burned my hand and arm on the scalding water coming out of the pipe, and 3) the rusty valve to turn off the water SNAPPED OFF and fall into the water. I freaked out and started calling for Kyle, who was in the living room. Between my yelling for him, and then Kyle’s yelling upon reaching the bathroom, Liam started crying.
While I threw every towel that we own on the floor to try and contain the growing flood (after we had just gone to the laundromat and done several loads of laundry, since Kyle doesn’t have a day off for another week and a half), Kyle ran upstairs to get our neighbor, who is a bit of a handyman, and always helps us out with things (remember my hornet incident? That was him who helped). He came in with tools and tried to help Kyle shut off the water while I comforted Liam, who was now wide awake and upset with the noise. They managed to figure out how to turn off the water to the apartment via the creepy, outdoor storm cellar that the whole building shares, and luckily the water never reached far past the threshold of the bathroom door.
But now, we had no water.
We have a landlord, but we have never met or spoken to him. We pay our rent and make repair requests through a realty agency, which closes at 4:00pm, and we had no emergency number or website to help us out. I called and left them a politely bitchy message, spelling out our situation. Did I mention that we had just re-signed our year-long lease THAT SAME DAY? Yeah.
Kyle went to the store to pick up bottled water and paper towels, and I finally managed to get Liam back to sleep. It only took two rolls of paper towels, and every towel that we own, to soak up all the water, and then it was like nothing had happened.
Except, we had no water.
The realty place got back to me first thing in the morning, and within an hour, our maintenance guy was there fixing our pipe. His name is Steve, and he is super nice. He looks like my dad, which is weird, but he is really nice.
Liam was having a hard time falling asleep for his nap with Steve making noise, so we decided to go out for the day again, since Liam had a doctor appointment on that anyway, but that’s a different story.
Our pipe got fixed, we have water again, and not a single towel (other than toddler towels) to use for the next week. Cool!
I should also mention that I am thankful that our apartment didn’t burn down, considering our breaker box is UNDERNEATH THE SINK, inches away from where the burst pipe was spewing water. Code violation? Yes.
Since we are “celebrating” our one-year anniversary in this apartment, let’s look at all the things that have gone wrong in the time we’ve been here!
1) On the VERY FIRST NIGHT that we started moving in, we were sitting in our empty living room with our friends Joe and Mercedes, who had helped us move stuff, and were enjoying pizza, when suddenly, we heard a crash. Just a few feet behind us, in the middle of our dining area, a river of dirty water was pouring from a hole in the ceiling. It poured for just a few seconds, then continued to steadily drip for, well, the rest of the night. We put a tiny garbage can beneath the leak, since it was the middle of the night and we couldn’t call anyone. The maintenance guy came out the next day to “fix” it. This involved sawing out a HUGE section of our ceiling, and fixing the pipe in the ceiling, which was actually connected to our neighbor’s kitchen sink. It was dirty, dish water. Yum! It took several more weeks before it was able to cut a piece of plaster to cover the hole in the ceiling and drill it into place. It has now been a full year, and he still hasn’t sealed it. And, yes, we have reminded him. See the picture below!
(One year of having to look at this right above the dinner table!)
2) We had been living here for about a month, when we realized that our wiring kind of sucks. You can’t have anything in the bathroom, kitchen, or back half living room plugged in and running when you use the microwave, or you blow the fuse. Microwave + toaster? Blown fuse. Microwave + space heater in the hallway? Blown fuse. We have to flip the breaker at least once a day. Sometimes, it can’t handle just the microwave running. Super frustrating.
3) A month and a half after moving in, our fridge and freezer stopped working overnight, and we lost quite a bit of money in dairy and meat that had to be thrown out. The maintenance guy brought us a “new” fridge from storage, which contained NO shelves. Not even the glass/plastic shelves that go over the drawers at the bottom. This fridge, despite taking up less room in the kitchen, was actually larger on the inside that the previous fridge, and the shelves did not fit in it at all. We had to pile our remaining, unspoiled food at the bottom of the fridge. It took a few days, but we finally got shelves. But it took over 3 months to get rid of the broken fridge. It sat in the middle of our eating area the whole time, so we didn’t even have our table set up. Our guy always had an excuse for why he couldn’t pick it up, and since I was very pregnant, I couldn’t even help Kyle drag it outside. Eventually, he got a friend to help him drag it to the porch. Two days later, some scrappers in a pick-up truck asked if they could have it, I told them they could, and then it was gone.
4) This one is something that we could probably fix ourselves, but I haven’t gotten a chance to after the first time I attempted. We have two doors that lead into the apartment. Our “front” door, is connected to the living room, which goes out into the building’s hallway that the 4 apartments all share. This door is solid as a rock, well insulated, and makes a very loud suction noise when you open and close it. The back door, which leads to the porch, and is in the back hallway where the bedrooms are, is not so sturdy. The outside storm door is completely crooked, leaving a half inch gap along the top of the door. We’ve had spiders, ladybugs, and hornets building nests live between our two doors. There is also a large hole at the bottom of the door, which was covered with duct tape by… someone. The door to the apartment is also crooked, and there is a gap between the door and the door frame. The gap is so bad, that you can see straight outside through it. I’m not joking. Because of this, the back of the apartment is freezing in the winter. We tried to get strip insulation, but it was too thick, and I ended up not being able to close the door at all. I had to pull it all off, ruining the door frame. It is now almost November. Gotta fix it, or we’ll be in for a VERY cold winter this year. Again.
5) When we did the initial tour of the apartment, the woman who works at the realty company told us that his apartment had forced heating, as well as central air. That is the main reason we chose this apartment over our next top choice. But when it started warming out outside, and we tried to turn on the air, nothing happened. The thermostat has settings for the fan and air, but we couldn’t get it to work, so we called the realty people. The man who called me back told me that none of the apartments in this building had air. They never have. Those are just universal thermostats. WHAT? We didn’t have enough money for a window AC unit, and couldn’t even open our windows, because NONE of them have screens. I mentioned this to them, and they promised to come out and measure the windows for screens. That was in… June, I believe. Still no screens! The reason screens are so important? The bugs. Continue reading!
6) The bugs. Oh, the bugs. Every day, since the day we moved in, I’ve had to kill a minimum of 2-3 cellar spiders a day that have crept into the apartment. They don’t bother me too much, but Kyle hates them. So I squish. One day, the corners will be free and clear of webs, but by the next morning, there are webs in every corner of the living room. We get a couple garden spiders, or jumping spiders, that wander in as well. We’ve also had a few silverfish and carpet millipede sightings. And, of course, ladybugs. But the worst? The yellow jackets/wasps/hornets. There is something about the outside of this apartment that attracts all the worst kinds of creepy crawlies. During the day, there are flying, stinging bugs all around the building. They build their stupid nests everywhere, and the exterminators keep having to come out. By night, the outside of the building is covered with big spiders, who magically appear and rappel down the siding on their butt string. They are awful. Yeah, yeah, they’re harmless. But I don’t like them. And since our windows don’t have screens, we can’t open them at all because of this. Have you read my story about the time a fuck ton of angry yellow jackets burrowed into my apartment while Liam and I were home alone? You should read that. Good times. >> CLICK HERE TO READ <<
There are more things I could list. Like the lack of parking for all the people living here, and how our Mustang got stuck EVERY day last winter. And the time a giant tree branch fell on Kyle’s head when we were trying to dig out the car, because no one trims the branches. Or how shitty my neighbors across the hall are, and how her demon children wake Liam up several times EVERY night, despite me asking them to keep it down (now I’ve just started pounding on the wall angrily). Ah, the joys of living in shitty apartments because you’re broke!
Now, does anyone have any towels they can loan me for the week? Haha… no, but seriously. I’ll be air-drying all week.
Happy Halloween, friends! Stay safe, stay spooky.