2003-07-20 @ 12:00 a.m.
|my mom has been trying to get me to sue my ex-landlord. i have been dragging my feet big time. not sure why. guess its because i feel like my needs and rights aren't very important. but here's what happened. you decide.
i rented a very cute vintage apartment in a 150 year old building. it was actually part of the historical tour in our town. i lived up at the very top and the very back of the building. it was the biggest place i've had since i've lived on the east coast. it had multiple levels, a huge exposed beam in the living room, burgundy paint, windows all the way to the ceiling, the most kitchen counter space i had ever had. it had a nice little porch, a side yard that i could garden in, trees all around the edges. it looked over at a really cool victorian house next door. it was centrally located near a bus stop and shopping mall. i was happy as pig shit when i found it. it was only $400/mo. plus utilities.
but it turned out to be the apartment from hell. as cute as it was, it was also one floor above domestic violence central. an alcoholic couple lived downstairs with two kids. the mother was bipolar and virtually screamed day and night at her kids and at her boyfriend. the guy was scummy. he lived there, he didn't live there, he lived there, he didn't live there. she was constantly throwing him out and their fights were vicious. my windows and lamps would shake as they threw bodies or furniture around downstairs. the police came on a regular basis. and in the summer it was worse, because the windows were open and i could hear every single fuck...cock sucker...shit...bitch, that flew out of their apartment. by the way, their kids were 9 and 3 and listened to this on a daily basis. i felt really sorry for them. this stuff was very upsetting to me too because i had grown up in an alcoholic household. we never had language like that but we certainly had fighting. and what was worse was when she would lock him out of the apartment and he would beat on the building with his fists and things would fall off my porch and pictures would fall off walls and i would want to hide under my bed. i also felt the little girl, who was around 9 and very pretty, was probably being molested by the boyfriend just by the way he talked to her, calling her sexy and flirting with her, out on the porch, while mommy dearest was inside pickling her liver. It made me sick.
But this was only the beginning of the excitement. My other neighbor, who lived next door, had a proclivity for barbecuing at 3:20 a.m. One night I woke up and there was a strange flashing red glow in front of my bedroom window which faced on his deck. I snuck over to my mini-blinds and looked out and could just see the back of this guy. He was sweating over a hot grill, flipping burgers. What a freakin' loondog. But this was actually the least of his transgressions. As spring turned into summer, my electric bills started to grow in leaps and bounds. I was always very cautious about my power bill because I'm poor. One light on at a time. No excessive fan use. So my bill starts jumping $20-$30-$40. I'm like what the hell? So one day, I unplugged every single thing in my apartment and went down in the basement to look at my power meter and it was spinning like the tornado in the Wizard of Oz. Something was definitely wrong. So I told my landlady who acted appropriately shocked. She was so good at that. And then I called the power company who finally came after 10 days. They go in my closet and look at my circuit breakers and see what's wrong immediately. My neighbor, you know, the 3 a.m. grillmaster, is wired into my circuit breaker. So the power company guy, the landlady and I go into that guy's apartment (he wasn't home) and it was a really hot day. But it sure wasn't hot in HIS apartment. WHY? Because he had this huge industrial power cord plugged into the wall that backed up to my power box and had it running all through his apartment and had 2 air conditioners plugged into it. And knowing what the weather had been the preceding summer, HOT, I knew that I had been hearing the roar of twin air conditioners all summer. And I had been paying for it. I was beyond furious. So the power company did their shared power report and when I got it, I almost burst a blood vessel. I had been living there since February and this was August. They figured in that length of time, my neighbor had used a measley $68 worth of power. WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTT??????? I immediately protested that and after fighting another month i got another $98 knocked off my bill after threatening to go to the media. Of course these amounts were going on HIS bill (poor baby). When the second $98 hit his bill, you know what he did? 4:20 a.m., he must have dragged his stereo speakers over to my bedroom closet wall (which was only a single sheet of paneling) and blasted his stereo as loud as he could. This went on for about 8-10 minutes before I got up to call the cops. The cops came, the music went off, the cops left, the music went back on. I finally just went out and slept in the living room. Fucking idiot. He should have brought me a dozen roses for paying his fucking electric bill for 8 months.
But the topper for my last apartment came in december. fa la la la la la la la la. one morning a ladder slams against the edge of my apartment roof and suddenly 8-10 men are climbing up on the roof. its december. its 20 degrees out. they're ripping the roof off the building. the next night i come home after an enjoyable day with the Married Guy and his kids. We had gone out and cut down a Christmas tree together. It was really fun, until wifey got home, glared at me and wondered why i was putting ornaments on their family tree. whoops. the Married Guy said i could? anyways, to punish me for such an aggrevous violation, i went home to a very cold apartment. i kept turning up the heat, as i was sitting at the computer, then i walked around my apartment until i saw some broken glass. the window where the guys climbed up to the roof everyday was completely smashed out with just a large jagged piece hanging precariously from the top. i was very upset. called the landlady. she came over. oh my. the dorks who did it, didn't leave a note, didn't put a piece of wood over it or didn't do anything. and i have a cat, who could have easily gotten killed by flying shrapnel or jumped out the window and escaped. next morning, 8:30 a.m. i am standing outside as the crew arrives. i let loose with enough screaming to shake loose the rest of the roof. i asked everyone why they didn't cover the broken window. why they didn't leave a note. why they didn't contact the owner. and they all stare at me like i'm talking swahili. later that day the landlady comes back with the foreman of the job. he tries to joke around with me. i wasn't in a joking mood. i told him i wanted the window replaced by the end of the day. he was non-commital. next my landlady told me the biggest crock of shit imaginable. she told me the glass for the window was "special" it had "gas" between the window panes and had to be special ordered. Bullshit. Its called double paned glass lady and you can go to any hardware store and pick it up that day. my stepfather builds houses. anyways, i had to wait 6 days for the window to be replaced. during that time it was snowing and the temperatures got as low as 13 degrees, and all i had over the window was a piece of wood which didn't quite cover the opening, so it was damn cold. the day it was fixed i was ecstatic.
the very next day however, cold air again. i went from window to window. nothing broken. i went in my bedroom. it was dark. i fumbled for a light, turned it on. there was insulation all over my dresser as well as a chunk of wood. then i looked up and there was a gaping hole, probably 12X12" punched through my bedroom ceiling and it was freezing. i just starting crying hysterically. i called the bitch landlady to come over again. it was like 10:30 p.m., but i didn't care. i wasn't about to clean up that mess. i had had a box of christmas ornaments in front of my dresser and some of them got smashed. so she came over and vacuumed up the insulation and had some kid from another apartment (no not the power stealer or the alcoholic) tape a piece of flimsy cardboard over the hole. i didn't sleep in there that night, or actually ever again. the insulation dirt and dust made me sick. i was coughing and had a sore throat and sounded like a smoker when i talked. this was about 10 days before Christmas. i didn't feel much like celebrating christmas. i was too upset. so i forwent the tree. and slept on the living room couch. and kept asking my landlady when the hole in the ceiling was going to be fixed. i was really angry at her. she finally told me dec. 23. i was like ok. so i waited around all day dec. 23 and nobody ever came and then it was christmas and then it was after christmas and then finally on new years eve day when i wasn't home, someone came in and duct taped a piece of formica to the ceiling. it looked hideous. it was the day before the rent was due. SURPRISE!
OH, something did happen while i was waiting and waiting for this hole to be fixed. on dec. 21 my landlady taped a note to my front door which said, "i figure you'll be moving around january 1st so i will be showing your apartment to potential renters." WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE HEADS UP LADY. Except i had never given her any notice. sure i was pissed off, but no notice to move had ever transpired. i called the Married Guy that night...he's a landlord and read him the note and asked him if he thought it was an eviction notice and he said he wasn't sure but i should cut my losses and start looking for another apartment. well, as usual i got freaked out. i had no money, so i went begging at the local church and at the salvation army and i snapped up the first piece of crap i laid my eyes on (the place i'm in now) and that's that. unfortunately the landlady from hell never gave me back my security deposit either. she said i broke the lease. technically she's right on the money, by one month, but if a judge and jury ever looked at the circumstances i'm sure they'd agree i was forced out. i actually talked to a free lawyer at a local church and he said my case is a slam dunk case. i just don't have the confidence to pursue it. and i saw this bitch at the grocery store recently and she smiles at me and says, "HI!" and i just glared at her. we were passing by each other in the vegetable department and i'm fairly certain if i had had my wits about me i should have grabbed a rutabaga and shoved it right up her ass.
Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty