Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Must...escape...the...Dungeon Cave.

WARNING: This post has a butt load of run-on sentences, misuse of punctuation, the Roman Asterisk footnoting method (patent pending), and other assaults on the English language. English teachers, librarians, scholars, and those who think they might be a scholar probably should not read this. Side effects may include, headaches, irritability, depression, mania, a desire to stab me with a red marking pen, and/or unmitigated insanity. 

Ever rented an apartment or house with little time to shop around, so you pick the one that meets the majority of your basic requirements thinking, "Okay, it's dated & not that nice looking, but it's in my budget, a decent location, and it will do for a year until I can find something better."

THEN, within a couple of months of moving in, when the landlord has completely ignored a simple request to fix the two faucets that are dribbling water (one was leaking 2 1/2 gallons a day), all the faucets leak at the handles when you turn them on (except for temporarily stopping when the water pressure randomly drops to nothing again, which happens 90% of the time), and the garbage that the landlord's handyman threw in a pile in the parking lot when he was prepping the place next door has been sitting there for a month, etc., etc., etc., you start to think..."Hmm, so they're really throwing down the gauntlet to see if I'll stay here the whole year."

HOWEVER, you're traveling a lot, so you tell yourself it's really only like six months that you have to live there. No big deal.

THEN, you have an ice storm that leaves you without power for four or five days, and you can't even go to McDonalds to get some "food" and warm up, because you're parked at the far end of your parking lot and then there's the driveway that is only slightly less than a 90 degree slope* all covered in ice with a layer of snow that is just thick enough to get your tires spinning on the road to nowhere and completely solidify all snow underneath it into a marble ice slab.

HOWEVER, you remember by the second day that you actually own a snow shovel** and decide to start shoveling & see if you can make a path to get out. Turns out you can when you're a kick-ass snow/ice shoveler (I expect my invitation to be on the next US Winter Olympics Snow Shoveling team any day now.), and you have a couple of people to relieve you every once in a while.  So, three hours later, two-thirds of the parking lot is shoveled, as well as the entire Evel Knievel driveway and you finally make it to the in-laws house who already have power on.***

THEN, you eventually make it back home once the power is on, thinking about how nice it'll be to be in your own place again, only to remember the refrigerator FULL of food that has to be cleaned out. BONUS, the 35 year old stove*^, which came with three whole functional burners and an oven that likes to sit there randomly with its door open a little, like a mouth breather during allergy season, has initiated what one can only guess is its final death wail for itself.

HOWEVER, you decide to ignore it for awhile, because A) given the landlord only fixed the leak on 1 1/2 faucets (The second one still drips, just not as much. All other water issues are untouched.) B) the trash heap is still sitting in the parking lot C) landlord's answer to pointing out some mold on the living room ceiling, was to assure us it was a continuing problem with the bathtub upstairs (Oh, that wasn't disclosed to you before you signed the lease?), and that he would fix it by redoing the entire bathroom, kicking you out of the place for at least a week to do it, and charging you more rent (Didn't happen, of course.), it seemed rather unlikely that generous landlord would do anything about a depressed, old, but somewhat functional stove. Plus, it kind of feels like you're kicking Grandma to the curb just because her broken hip and emphysema were slowing her down to much.

THEN, two months later the heater unit decides your electric bill has been way too low. So it decides that sometimes when it kicks on, it will only run the blower, and not the heating element too that actually heats the air it's blowing, so instead of heating the rental unit, it actually cools it until you notice that your teeth are chattering and go and reset the whole unit again. So, after dealing with this somewhat random problem for a couple of weeks you call the landlord about the heater and the stove that still hasn't stopped moaning. Amazingly, he actually sends someone out to fix the heater the next morning. [Insert SHOCK FACE!!!]

HOWEVER, you're amused because the fix is a $3 can of cleaner and a pocket knife to clean the sensor, and the whole time they're musing over the ancientness of the whole system^, along with the fact that there are giant unfilled holes in the furnace closet where piping used to be, and give you a stern warning to get a carbon monoxide detector (A quick look around reveals that there isn't any in the house. Doh! You expected there to be one along with the smoke alarms, or at least a mention that their not included? Ha ha ha ha. Silly you.) No one ever comes to check on the stove, because she's obviously unloved at this point, but you do buy carbon monoxide detector and install it the next day, because you would hate to have survived this long only to be killed by some gas coming from an obviously vengeful heating system.

THEN, you happen to look up in your dining room one day...big mistake, NEVER, look up...to see that the portion of the ceiling just on the other side of the beam from the living room mold...that was reported 3 months ago...has a significant patch of green & black grossness. BONUS, the living room side of the beam now has two visible wet spots, not dripping, but wet, and all of this seems to be under the toilet area upstairs. Landlord, without looking at it, insists it's still the bad bathtub plumbing, which he's more than happy to replace (with the same previous conditions attached) or he can have his guy just fix the problem, and notifies you that his guy will be out there the next morning to diagnose. Landlord's "guy" shows up a little after 6....PM! the next day, and agrees that it is probably just the toilet, and will be out the next afternoon to fix it. Two days later, the wax ring is replaced, the moldy portion of the ceiling is bleached and then covered with a couple of coats of spray-on Kilz. BONUS, he decides to re-caulk around the outside of the tub in case the one drop of water that escapes the shower per day was the real culprit of the mold farm growing below. UN-BONUS, he didn't realized he purchased black caulk, until he'd laid about 20" of it, then since he only uses silicone caulk (Because "It's the only way to get a real good seal.") he just squirted some white over it the next day, except he didn't cover all the black, so it just looks like our caulk is all moldy there. [Insert IRONIC FACE!]

HOWEVER, you're happy content for now, because the leaky/moldy spots don't seem to be reappearing, so it would seem that the toilet was the issue, and total cost for supplies to fix it was about $15 including the bonus caulk job, an hour in labor cost, and three months waiting on the landlord to finally send someone to look at it. You get a small bit of satisfaction from knowing you were right, but you're annoyed that it took the landlord so long to address it because he's too busy trying to up-sale you. You make a mental note, to research if said landlord was ever a used car dealer or some other shyster salesman.

THEN, you look at the parts of the ceiling that were Kilzed (What is the past tense of Kilz?) and are reminded for the 264th time that the walls in this place are the color of dirt and the trim and ceiling are the color of off-white with a little extra dirt thrown in to coordinate with the walls, except for the kitchen and bathrooms that  break up the dirt motif with the occasional 70s gold marble counter top or 80s blue wallpaper with floral pattern to add a bit of pizzazz, and the flooring, which consists of 95% carpet, is an ancient Berber the color of dirt mixed with some gravel and pebbles.^*

THEN, your mind briefly awakens from the fog you've been in for say the last eight months, to realize that the reason you haven't wanted to do anything, including writing quirky, humorous, [insert other positive adjectives here] blog posts is that you actually rented a dungeon cave loosely disguised as a two-story townhouse.

That my friends,^** is what happened to me and Lawyer Jim, exactly eight months ago. I swear it really is a dungeon cave. Think about it. It has "dirt" walls and a floor with the occasional rare flora that can grow in a cave and fools gold vein running through it, water is always dripping, it gets colder and darker as you go to the lower levels, there's a weird ghostly moaning that pervades the place, it's sucking the life out of us and we've been sentenced to live here for one year. That is the very definition of a dungeon cave.

Now that we realize what it's doing to us, we are rapidly planning our escape. Unfortunately, money always seems to get in the way. So, rapidly means four more months, as of today. Let the countdown begin. In the meantime, I'll try to score some black market anti-depressants or something so I can keep writing while serving out my remaining time.

*I SWEAR I'm only exaggerating a little. There should be a run-a-way ramp installed on this driveway.
**Turns out that snow shovels are a valuable tool to own even when living in the south, where you get snow on average once a year, because they're also great for shoveling giant loads of mulch & fertilizer around all of those lovely trees and flower beds one must have when one owns a yard.
***They are famous for 7 to 10 day outages after any significant storm, summer or winter. So, it really was a Festivus miracle that they got their power back 24 hours after it went out.
*^Not making up the age at all. Google knows all and dated this stove back to 1977. In 1977, I'm sure all the other housewives were jealous, because this thing had all the bells and whistles. Now it just has all the moans & aches.
^You're less amused the next month, when your electric bill has increased by 50% due to your heater playing freeze out on your dime.
^*Landlord obviously believes one can't have too much carpeting in a rental unit, including the bathrooms. There must have been some concern about the kitchen, so landlord covered it in a laminate that is obviously meant to look like a floor made from dirt tiles.
^**You are obviously my friend, if you've read all of this insanity. Thank you. Please message me if you know where I packed my lasso and I'll try to reign it in a little next time.

Monday, April 29, 2013

An important safety message...

More excuses...but mitigating the insanity in many little world has been about as futile as trying to keep the pollen washed off your car in the springtime. You can clean up the mess, but turn away for a moment & it's already back. Sometimes it's just better to hunker down & wait it out. I'll do a catch up soon.

In the meantime, an important safety message from our trash can:

"Don't forget to leave a little room at the tip."