Tag Archives: housing

The Security Breach

24 Oct

We had to move to our apartment (in a new state) sight-unseen.  We have 2 cats.  And a strict budget–especially at that time, b/c moving is expensive!  No one called us back in Salt Lake City.  Everyone who responded at all, never even read our out-of-state situation, and invited us to a showing.  When we couldn’t make a showing “tomorrow” they just didn’t correspond with us.  It was everyone.  How nice for realtor’s in SLC that it’s a seller’s market.

Bottom line:  We pretty much had to take what we could get.

It was OK.  The apartment was a little larger and better then what we had in Spokompton.  The neighborhood was quiet, but had tons of potential.  The park across the street was not like the ghetto-homeless situation of Mission Park near our apt in WA-state, but largely empty.  And quiet.  And they did lawn maint like 4 times a week.

But recently things have slowly started to change.

Every once and again there will be a homeless person sleeping it off under a tree in the park.  Someone parked their shopping cart 5 blocks up on the sidewalk next to the main street.  Nothing big.

The change from quiet to icky came with this homeless family.  A man, woman, toddler, and dog lived in their car.  And parked the car in our complex’s parking lot.  Like, every night.  Nobody seemed to notice, and they stayed under the radar for 5-6 weeks.  Everything started sliding downhill after that:

8/17/2016:  Wrote in the apartment portal that homeless people were living in the car in our parking lot.

9/2/16:  Texted the manager that the homeless people were still parking/living in our apartment’s parking lot.  Was informed the manager was out of town and instructed to call police about it.

9/13/16:  We came back from an out-of-state week-long trip and suddenly the homeless family in the car weren’t around anymore.

Wed Sept 28:  A knock on the bedroom window at 11 PM.  Cool had turned on the bedroom light to change for bed, and the knock came.  Then there was the sound of some tool trying to pry open the window frame.  She didn’t want to call 911 only to find it was a squirrel not an emergency (and she was still a little manic) so she she ran out of the apartment, to the entrance of the back alley.  She held up the flashlight app on her phone, but our window is toward the 300W street-side more, so the person she saw was not detailed.  She DID see a person in black clothing, holding something red (a cigarette or a pen light?) and at our window!  She called 911 and they sent 6 police officers and a dog.  They did an official sweep of the apartment, holding up guns, and calling for intruders.

I wasn’t too, too concerned though.  Because I thought it was probably a crime of opportunity.  There is an apartment on 300 W, and its parking lot is behind their building.  It ajuts to the end of our (dark, abandoned) fire alley.  They must have had problems with prowlers because they no longer park cars behind the building, favoring the side of the building, which is visible to the street.  They also installed a bright light in back.  The light illuminates a portion of our fire alley, but the first window in the dark is ours.  So I figured someone just went to the first dark window they saw.  And the person must have been dumb or not sober.  Because Cool had just turned on the light when she heard a knock–and who breaks into an apartment when the light is on, meaning someone is home?!  And a bunch of cops came in about 5 minutes, so I figured whoever it was went along their way.  And would never be back.

Fri/Sat, Sept 30:  The next door neighbor fixed the hole in the fence between the dark parking lot behind the next apartment and our fire alley.

Sat Oct 1:  I closed the black-out curtains, tucking them between the dresser and the wall.  We are watching a movie in the living room, and there are a lot of people outside their apartments talking, smoking, and drinking.  I hear what I think is Goose fussing with the curtains, trying to get in the window sill to look outside (it’s his fave thing to do).  Thinking he might pull the whole suspension bar holding the curtains down (and holding my dinner at the time) I ask Cool to go in the bedroom and check on him.  She reports someone is knocking on the back window.  I’m scared–who comes back a second time?!  I was too scared to open the curtains and see who it was.  I would be face-to-face with them, and that’s too much!  My adrenaline was pumping from the fear and I banged (3+ times) on the inside of the window with my fist, hoping to scare the would-be intruder away.  I banged a 2nd time (3 loud knocking sounds), while Cool was on the phone with 911.  Whoever was on the other side of the window. . .  Didn’t startle away–they knocked again.  This told me about their frame of mind and made me even more afraid.  I knocked on the thin wall of our bedroom, hoping to get help from the neighbor.

Bronco ran out to the fire alley, but all was quiet.  A police officer arrived about 20 min after our call, and stayed a long time, hearing our story, the neighbor’s opinions, and offering suggestions:  Lights in the alley.  Remove the abandoned/broke-down cars b/c they are a thief/vagrant attractant (and a fire hazard).  Put razor wire along the top of the fence surrounding the alley.  The police officer did not seem impatient or eager to leave.  I could hear calls on his radio on a busy Saturday night, but he made sure to get the whole story and he made sure he answered all of our questions.

We were afraid all the time at this point.  It felt like we were waiting with dreaded anticipation for someone to come back and try to get in.  I was afraid to open the windows.  I didn’t want to shower when I was home.  I was afraid to sleep and let my guard down, in case someone tried to break in.  I checked every noise to make sure it wasn’t someone trying to get in the apartment.  Every time the cats jumped in or out of the window, I was alarmed.  I listened for footsteps in the alley.  I felt stressed and unsafe.  Cool became crazy.  She started hearing things.  She wouldn’t go to sleep when I wasn’t home.  When I finally coerced her to sleep so that she could make it to work in the day, she wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom.  She had all the lights in the apartment turned on all the time–even while she was sleeping.  She started bothering the neighbors, asking them to check the alley.  We were scared in our apartment.

Sun Oct 2:  We were also scared about being away from the apartment for 11 hours, because someone could get inside.  So I took 1.5 hours of vacation and left early (forfeiting some of my weekend double-time) to go guard the house.  We bought a bat, a strong flashlight, and strong, locking bars to block the window and the door closed.  After work at 6:30 PM we inspected the fire alley (carrying the bat) and saw a broken bench was propped up on the chain link fence.  It looked like maybe someone had attempted to throw it away at the dumpster across the parking lot–just my theory.  And someone else came along and dragged it over to use as a step-stool over our fence.  We pushed it away from the fence and it folded in half, making a crunching/squeaking sound.  It ended up about 2 feet away from our fence and folded sort of in half (because it had already been broken).

Mon Oct 3, 1 AM:  I awoke to hear that same bench being moved.  It happened only briefly.  No one came to our window.  In the daylight I checked, and the bench was still away from the chain link fence.  I wasn’t going to mention it to Cool, because she was already freaked, and I wasn’t 100% certain (just 98%), but Cool mentioned she had heard it, so I know it happened, b/c we had both heard it.

Wed Oct 5 a pack of stray cats were eating from our bird feeder and making a tapping sound on the window.  Cool thought it sounded like the knocking of before so she knocked on our neighbor’s wall.  We absolutely know the first 2 incidents were a person though b/c the first time Cool had run outside and actually seen a person.  And the 2nd time, I had banged HARD on the window.  Hard enough that my knuckles were bruised the next day-and I never bruise.  No animal would have sat there for that banging.  And I had done it multiple times, twice.  It would have startled away any animal.  And after I had banged, someone knocked back at me.

Thurs Oct 6, 12:30 PM:  A man was sitting in Bronco and Cough’s parking spot, which is directly across from my living room window.  My curtains had been open.  I took a pic, but his head was down.  He stood and looked into my apartment so I called the non-emergency police line, but before I could complete the call, the man meandered to 300 W.  I asked for police patrol.

11PM:  heard walking in the fire alley and a quiet jangling (like keys in a pocket).

10-6-16:  Texted the apartment manager asking when any safety measures will be taken–never got a response.

10-6-16:  Wrote in official apartment portal-

Someone tried to break into the bedroom window this last Wednesday (9/28) at 10 PM. On that occasion, a person knocked on the window, then used some sort of tool to try to pry the window frame apart. Luckily one of us was home and called 911. We also reported the incident to management the next day, but so far no additional security has been completed. Saturday (10/1) at 8 PM, someone came back to the bedroom window and knocked. I pounded the window to scare them off–and they tapped again. We called 911 a second time, and the officer gave us some tips: 1) The cars on the side of the building are an attractant to burglars and homeless people. Some are also in violation of fire code. 2) Get a motion sensor light. 3) Put razor wire along the top of the entire fence, because someone is probably climbing over. 4) Consider a gate on the back side of the fire alley. I need to feel safe in my apt–please make some changes soon so we don t have to move.

Sat Oct 8, 5 AM:  Saw flashlight through blackout curtains (through sleep mask while sleeping).  But for certain.

Sat Oct 8, 5:10 AM:  Thud on bedroom window.  Goose ran behind curtains and stayed, so it may have been a cat.

Sun 11 PM:  tromping in fire alley (may have been police patrol).

Mon 1:40 PM-police drove by front of apt.

Tues 10/11, 3 PM:  marked police car was sitting on the street next to the park.

Wed, 1 AM-ish:  I got home from work, and the homeless car was parked street-side at our apartments.

Wed 3:15 PM:  the same man that had been sitting in front of the window last Thursday slowly walked past our window toward 300W.  He was with another guy, and they walked slowly, looking in the apartment.  The neighbor also came outside and commented how the two guys had been leering into his apartment–so it wasn’t just me that noticed.  I called the police just to make a report.

Wed 4 PM:  The apartment manager (Royal) was leaving and we caught him.  He has been on the job 4 days Bryson left in Sept?, a woman took over for a week, Dusty was with us for a week or 2, now this guy.  We asked for locks or lighting or safety measures and he said the management company couldn’t do anything–it was all up to the owner.  He was defensive and scoffed in our faces as if we were being hysterical and unreasonable.  He kept saying they are not the police and cannot have 24/7 security.  I tried to tell him there were things that could be done–such as the police suggestions.  Lights for starters.  I also said we were coming from a place of frustration, b/c we were living in fear, and no one from the apartments had even acknowledged our requests/complaints.  And no action had been taken.  He told us he/the management company couldn’t do anything because everything was up to the owner.  We don’t have contact info for the owner.   Royal said the owner wouldn’t do anything–and didn’t have to.  He also told us the housing association doesn’t regulate apartment owners.  The conversation escalated to a confrontation for sure.

Wed 4:30 PM:  The police called back to get a full report of all the incidents.  I recounted the 4 incidents we called about and offered the other 2 that I thought/hoped were the police.

10-13-16, 12:45 AM:  Noticed homeless car parked street-side at our apt as I got home from work.

Oct 15-16:  Started looking for a new apt.  Contacted several options located around work.

10-16-16, 1 AM:  Someone moved the bench.  We then heard footsteps in the back alley.  After an hour, finally called the non-emergency police line to report it.  While on the phone with the dispatcher, flashlight shined in the bedroom.

10/16, 2 AM:  2nd flashlight swept across bedroom–assumed/hoped it was the police.

10/17/16:  Went and looked at a unit in a different apartment complex.  Turned in our application for it.

10/17/16, 2:30 PM:  A homeless man and woman with a bike and a sleeping bag were on the walkway directly above our apartment waiting for the neighbor to get home.

10/17, 12AM:  Possibly homeless car parked street-side by our complex.  Looks slightly different than the homeless car that I remember before, but still the same size and color.  A woman was outside of the car, and stuff was on the complex lawn outside the passenger side.

10/17, 12:35 AM:  Flashlight through bedroom window and footsteps, assumed/hoped it was the police.

10/18/16:  Application for new apartment approved.  The new landlord just needs a reference from our current apartment.  She calls and calls, but cannot get through.  Cool makes a dozen phone calls to random places because our management company has no evident contact information, and we never had contact info for the apartment owner.  Finally, a different complex managed by the same company gets in contact with the regional office who gets in contact with Royal, our apartment manager.  He is annoyed anyone is contacting him.  When Cool asks him to contact this new apartment landlord, Royal off-handedly mentions how our current owner contacted him and said they didn’t want to renew our lease.  We are out at the end of December.  Also, his demeanor on the phone was annoyed/rude.

So I’m not sure,

  1. why, out-of-the-blue the owner (with whom we’ve had ZERO contact) would terminate our “lease.”
  2. I’m suspicious our confrontation with the new manager, Royal, where we asked for ANY security such as lights or removal of concrete blocks and broke-down cars from the fire-alley had everything to do with this given the timing.
  3. We don’t have a lease until December.  The only lease we ever signed for this current complex was the first one when we moved here.  It was for 6 months, and ended October 2015.  That lease specifies that if no other lease is signed, it defaults to a month-to-month arrangement.  And month-to-month is an additional $100/month.  I’m sure we just slipped through the cracks, because it’s been a full year since our original lease expired and no one asked us to sign another lease–or raised our rent price.
  4. I am concerned about an eviction.  I don’t want it on my rental history.  And WHY?  We just passed on info from the police about amping up security.  We’ve paid all our rent, have been quiet, and clean.  We’re actually great tenants.  We just demand things like hot water, flushing toilets, and ask for ANY security measures.
  5. I’m SUPER concerned once they find out we don’t actually have a lease through December, they will put us out in 15 days, without cause, per our original lease conditions.  That’s October 30.  Our new apartment isn’t vacated and available to us until Nov 15. . .  And that’s before any carpet replacement or painting that they will surely do, driving the date back.
  6. We had to band over backwards to contact the manager–and he had already known about our non-lease renewal–when was he going to mention this to us??!
  7. I’m so, so, so glad we were all but in a new apartment at that point, because this news would have REALLY flipped me out if we had to start from scratch.  It’s not always easy to get into a new apartment.  Especially with cats–and he have a price range that can’t budge b/c we had absolutely no notice or time to plan/save.

later that day (10/18/16) I typed up a formal notice of termination for the current apartment.  It asked that we get a walk-though in order to redeem our deposit, and that we leave last day of December (or mid-Dec if they are willing to pro-rate rent).  And I typed it into the apartment portal online.  There is no formal address to mail it to, and that makes me nervous.

10/19/16:  Dropped formal leaving letter off where we drop rent, since we have no contact info for the management or owner, and there is no formal office for anything, and we can’t even send it certified mail.

10/20/16:  Paid $400 deposit at new apartment.

10/21/16:  Our letter with prospective move-out date still hasn’t been acknowledged.

10/24/16, 12:30 PM:  A group of 3-6 people dressed in rags had a bike and shopping cart and bags on the sidewalk between our complex and the studio property next door.  They seemed to be hanging around, and I wondered if that was a new bus stop or if the park was doing some kind of maint and asked them to step off that property for a time.

2:35 PM:  When Cool got home from work the group was still loitering around on the sidewalk.  We closed all of our curtains b/c where they were standing had a direct view in our apartment.  After we did our afternoon workout, about 3-ish PM, I looked out and they had moved along.

10/25/16:  Our letter with prospective move-out date still hasn’t been acknowledged.  Cool called a lot of numbers trying to see what recourse we have if they just never respond.  Because I don’t want to go and get slapped with abandonment fees.  No one knows–everyone just gave her more phone numbers to try.  We texted the number for the apartment managers and heard nothing.  So Cool called the number.  Royal is no longer our person.  Now we have Brian.  This is the 5th manager we’ve had since August (2 months).

10/28/16:  Still haven’t heard anything about our lease (they think we have), and acknowledgement of our end date, or a walk through.

10/29/16, 5-ish PM:  Saw the police go to apt #2, two doors down.  Eddie, who lives there, said someone in a red hoodie had banged on his front window (blinds closed) and shouted his name.  The police and Eddie came to our door, because we were peering out our (blinds open) window, and since we had had trouble with banging on our window.

10/30/16, 3PM:  The homeless car parked inside the laundry area.  Looked they’d been in our apt complex for awhile and were very comfortable here.

11/1/16, 10:38:  Noticed the homeless car in the complex parking-lot by the laundry area.

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When It Rains, It Pours: April [clean-queen]

8 Jun

The packing and moving phase happened so quickly there was no time for simultaneous cleaning of the SpoKompton (referred to from here on out as the “old” apartment) which was a major bummer now.  Because Cool got to be in the NEW apartment and new city, working, while I had to clean all by myself.

Spokane Apt 010

It was a much bigger job then I anticipated–and it sucked.  The old apartment still had utilities–thank goodness I had the foresight not to shut them off.  But it was echoing, dusty, and cold inside.  And we had no TV, bed, or anything, really to keep me occupied or comfortable in any way.

Also, there had been a lot of messes made, wear & tear, and damage done over the prior 4 years and 7 months in there:  Cool spilled a bottle of bleach AND a bottle of laundry soap on the carpet the first week we had moved in.  Sloppy had sand-crabbed litter so much that tiny sand was embedded in the carpet, in the seam between the carpet and wall, and dusting the walls.  My daily tread-milling had left black marks on the carpet at each of the 4 points of impact.   There were about 800,000 holes in the walls.

And stuff that wasn’t our fault, such as mold growing from the walls, grease on the kitchen ceiling from no ventalation, and grout deterioration lended to an overall feeling of grossness, and panic.  We certainly were not going to get our deposit back as I initially hoped–but would they charge us for damages??!

241

And I had Sunday from 10-ish AM to Monday at 6AM before my house-sitting job started.  And the work sucked, I was alone with it, and to tell the truth, I no longer cared so much about the OLD apartment.

But I gave it a good effort.  Oh yeah, I forgot, there were remnants (more then I knew!) that hadn’t been packed on the first go-around.  Like, the fridge and freezer had been untouched.  So I’m cleaning, I’m trying to stuff things in Rusty, and I’m throwing a TON of things away.  So many things.  Perfectly good items, or items I would just have to re-buy in the new state but would keep or didn’t fit.

My friend from work came over (in a skirt?) to help for 5 hours, and I’m glad she did, because I might still be there otherwise.  She spackled for a fill 70 minutes, and there were still holes in the walls. . .

I slept on the dusty, cold floor that night, and was pretty well mentally finished the next day.  But I pressed on for my of my first day into house-sitting.  And I could have spent the whole 10 days cleaning and it still wouldn’t have looked nice.  So I made the choice to be finished Monday then focus on my house-sitting job.  Because the animals were lonely, I was getting paid GOOD money to do it, the apartment wasn’t going to look nice no matter what I did at this point, and it wasn’t fair that 100% of the job fell to me anyway.

But I fretted that we were going to get charged.

Still, the lure of warmth, the animals, a mattress, kitchen, and most of all–a TV–made me finish up.  I turned in our keys and left Riverton Terrace forever.

Next:  House-sitting, the NEXT long drive, and (more) unpacking.

Independent Woman

16 Dec

I told Cool that if I ever lose the use of my legs or need diapers to euthanize me. That is how important my independence is to me.

So I’m very skeptical I would like to be in the military. I know full-well that the affordable housing, job opportunities, and paid tuition–come at a cost.  Once you sign on that dotted line the government owns you.  You are no longer a free agent.  Sure, they’ll say that they try to accommodate you, but when it comes down to it–you are going to do what the military tells you to do, and that’s it.

I feel guilty about being stubborn against this idea.  But I’m reminding myself that yes, it’s absolutely ok to be stubborn about your own life–I am the one who has to live it.  I don’t have to justify my choices to anyone.

Enter my well-meaning parents.  They are worried about how I’m going to pay for graduate school.  I am also super-worried.  They feel like the solution to ALL my problems is going into the Navy.  Which, I could do.  And I’d like to follow in my father’s footsteps, and I’d be honored to serve my country.  BUT the logistics just do not work out for what I want in my life.  But they won’t listen to me.  They don’t hear my concerns, they just think I’m making an uninformed stubborn choice.  And I can tell saying no about this is stepping into a landmine.  It’s going to hurt the good place my relationship with my parents has finally gotten to.  Which sucks!  It was hard work getting to this better place with them.  School funding/Navy is a point of contention, for sure.  Except–you should not join the military for someone else, and you should never do it out of guilt–which is what I would be doing.  I did look into it and here is why it just isn’t going to work for me at this point in my life:

-It’s an 8 year commitment!

That’s a long time.  That’s all 4 years of school AND 4 more.  There is a lot of opportunity for being moved around.  A lot of dealing with less then optimal conditions.  And 8 years to worry about my little family and my own survival.

-I would have to be separated from my family.  

That’s what I have.  It’s my whole support system.  Cool wouldn’t be traveled around with me (more on this later), and I’m sorry if that makes me weak and a whiner–I want to be with her.  Maybe other people can live apart from their mate, but I never want to.  Also, Kitties cannot go to bootcamp, nor to officer training, or to different countries–and moving them around to different states would be difficult at best.  After being separated from them in Seattle–I want my pets to live with me.  I love them and they are my responsibility.

-I am gay.  And this poses many problems:

–Cool and I aren’t married because I think it’s an antiquated tradition, she would ruin my good credit, and I figure why bother when the benefits depend what state you’re in at the time.  In the military, they try to ensure married couples remain together–they could care less about what the law considers a roommate.

–So She and I would have to be apart.  When and how would I see her?  And where would she live?  How would she afford it?  What if her bipolar flared up as it does and things went terribly wrong?  I wouldn’t be there.  That doesn’t work for me.

–Also, being gay may be legal in the military, but that isn’t the same thing as being accepted.  It’s a lot to ask of me to hide a fundamental aspect of who I am.  But if I didn’t I could be teased, hazed, harassed, or even raped.  I want no part of that–and who could blame me?

-I do not want to involve a recruiter

to get specific answers to my questions I have to call a recruiter.  Which I don’t want to do.  They give you the hard-sell.  They gloss over the bad parts and emphasize the good, so you really have to read the fine print anyway.  They spam you!  I don’t want constant phone calls or mailers pressuring me.

-I’m fearful about the training and expectations.  

I’m not sure I’d like getting screamed at.  With work, I could do the physical stuff, but I in no way want to take my gas mask off for such and such amount of time like you have to in the Navy.  I might be capable of doing it, but I think I would be very unhappy and stressed about it.

-I don’t like travel.  

Basic is 2 weeks in some cold, Great Lake state.  Officer training is in RI–for a month.  You have to spend such and such time per year training who knows where.  They promise you during your service they try to put you where you want to be, but let’s be real, if the government needs you somewhere they’re going to put you there, whether it works for you or not.  And on relatively short notice.  Plus, I have bathroom privacy and hygiene standards that cannot be accommodated in a military lifestyle.  I need a (warm) shower EVERY day!  And a private bathroom stall (with American plumbing) and a door and a fan.

-I don’t want stress, trauma, or long term effects like my dad (and many, many others) have

I’m sensitive,  I don’t want to undergo emotional trauma, physical abuse, and I would be suicidal if I went through the sexxual abuse common in the military and in the Middle East.  I also don’t want PTSD which is a very real side-effect of service.

-I don’t want to risk my LIFE

I also have NO interest of traveling abroad–especially the Middle East.  And I read they are starting to put Audiologists on the forefront of actions because of portable equipment.  Before they mostly did noise-prevention and VA stuff, but with accessible equipment, the government can stop sending soldiers to the closest sound booth (in Germany) after explosions and check them right on the front lines.  That means audiologists are on the front lines.

-And bottom line, the money/perks just aren’t that great.

I can get better stipends from my school, or at the very least loans that don’t involve travel and put my life on the line.  I will find a job once I’m out of school, and I could still do noise-prevention or VA work as a civilian.

I’m going to have to put my foot down to my parents, and I hope it doesn’t cause a big, ugly scene.  But better that then ruining what I want for my life.  I’ll just have to find another way to finance my education.  This is about me and what I want, and nobody–even my parents–gets to demand what path I take.  I just hope they can understand that I’m not just being rebellious, I actually researched and see many reasons why that’s not what I want. . .

Scary Carl + Grades

15 Jun

We huddled together in my dark closet, apprehensive to make noise, and worried he would return and do something worse. My roommate dialed 9-1-1 on her cellular phone and told the operator in a wavering tone of voice that our landlord had assailed us by kicking in the front door during a fit of rage. The operator got the address to our secluded my missouribasement apartment and assured us she would send help.

This was just the latest in a series of escalating acts of harassment since 2004 had begun. Preceding this, I heard a sound in the living room and walked out of the bedroom to see my erratic landlord had used his keys to let himself inside without prior notice, or even a knock. I still have no idea what he was planning to do that day, and I began to use my chain lock regularly because I did not want to find out.

A few long moments after our frantic emergency call, the police arrived. They were so Sarah, me, Eileen 2005astounded by the profound damage to the door and the frame that they took pictures. Though the landlord owned the property he had destroyed, he severed the chain lock, which had violated our reasonable expectation of privacy. While the police were collecting the evidence and writing their reports, the landlord came back to the house to “fix the door.” The police arrested him, but a few hours after his release from jail that same day, our implacable landlord antagonized us by shouting through the living room window. It was at that point my roommate went to stay with her boyfriend.

I had nowhere else to go with more than a month left on my lease, and fall finals were commencing in one week. I was fretful the arrest had inflamed our fractious landlord even more and he would come in while I was showering or sleeping and do terrible things. I locked the screen door and the front door; not that it mattered, as he had keys to both. Then I took further precaution by barricading myself inside using the futon. After one sleepless night, I went to get a restraining order against my landlord. I was granted an ex parte that kept him from setting foot on the property but still, I was overwrought. I figured a piece of paper would do little to stop my volatile landlord from terrorizing me.

MizzouThis atmosphere of paranoia and chaos was not conducive to studying. At the time, aside from being enervated from fear, I did not realize I had any recourse. I assumed since the University of Missouri was closing for winter break, there was no possibility of taking my finals later. I felt I had no choice but to muddle through my exams and hope for the best. In my restive state, I bombed every test I attempted, probably dropping my grade about a full letter in each class.

If something extraordinarily aberrant like that happened these days I would inform my professors in The Quad 2an attempt to get accommodation on my final exams. Alerting the university of my predicament would be my next step, as I vowed never again to be reticent with my school when I am in crises. I regret that my grades suffered during that trying time, but this disturbing incident taught me the life lesson of not taking my safety for granted and how to utilize the police, the courts, and the university system in place to help people with such dilemmas. In combination with my more formal lessons imparted from academia, this upsetting episode helped shape me into the strong, resilient person that I am today.

TV

5 Feb

We’re going back.  Back to Christmas Eve 2014.

Our television broke. The picture slims down to a tiny horizontal line in the middle of the screen. It’s very unfortunate, because Cool has a TV. 6 hours away at her mom’s house. I also have a really fancy TV. A huge, flatscreen–my parent’s former TV. In storage. . . 14 hours away. And we are moving in less then 2 years.

As such, we didn’t want to go into debt at Christmastime to get a new one. But we need something. That’s my one relaxation. Over to Craigslist. FLAKESlist. Cool was in charge.

ornery face

She informes me she found a nice, functional one, for $30. But (there’s always a BUT on Craigslist) the people she was talking to actually had it at their parent’s house, and they had to see when it was convenant for their parents to set a pick up. Turns out that day was Christmas Eve. At 1 PM. Well, I had agreed to work until noon that day, which always turns into about 12:45-1PM.

And of course work did run late, which I expect. And is why I try not to plan things until at least 2 hours after expected closing time. If at all, because after work I’m tired. And usually grumpy–due to work.

And this is how Cool operates: When we were almost finished with work (12:35PM?) I picked up my phone expecteing to see a text from Cool making some sort of adjustment to the pick up plan–we were going to be late. But nothing. So I texted her–maybe she would meet me at my work, because that was closer to the loacation? Nope, come home, it’s fine.

I get home at 12:55PM. We are already going to be late. And Cool? No shoes on. AND she hasn’t lokked at the address, a map, or programed directions into the GPS/phone. This is normal Coollie-style. I’m freaking out, as my style is all anxiety/stress/lateness-phobia.

We drive around. We get lost. Finally, Cool calls the people. We are LATE. I’m unhappy and grumpy and tired and exasperated. Neither party is any good at conveying directions, so the Craigslist people agree to come to where we are, so we can follow them back home.

We get there–and the guys were really nice. But 5(!) men loaded this TV into the back of Cool’s HHR. And it barely fit. I’m thinking: 1) If people were there to load it, why did I have to be involved at all 2) It sucks that Cool neglected to remember cash so I had to pay 3) Where are we going to put that–and how will the 2 of us ever get it up the stairs?!

We pull up to the bottom of the stairs at home. Cool takes one side and I the other. We have less then half the manpower that got the TV into the car, and a verticle to overcome. Cool starts taking slow, tiny steps, and I’m telling her, “Go faster, it will be over faster if we hustle. Use momentum!” But any momentum we had was lost. We made it up 1-2 steps before Cool turned shaky and red in the face and started yelling in frustration. I was like, “Shhhh, shut UP the neighbors will hear [you can hear everything through the walls] and DON’T drop it!” She set her end on the step, leaving me with the bulk of the weight. And I heard metal crunching sounds.

So I told her to come below and help me push. We would have to roll the TV end-over-end up the remaining stairs. Magically, it worked. At the top, Cool went to park the car and I finished lugging the TV (probably double my weight) into the apartment, and across the room.

The first thing that I notice is that this new TV is just as big as our largest piece of furniture, the entertainment center.  We have Wal-Mart cheap furniture, just to get by before we move.  I have some nicer, more substancial pieces. . .  In storage.  I’m thinking–there is no way we can set heft this TV onto any furniture because the furniture will be crushed.  Cool says, “Maybe I should have measured,”

Welcome to my life.

 

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How to Keep Utilities Down

29 Jan

Use less KWH, obs.

Here’s some things we do to limit our consumption and avoid turning our whole paycheck into our monopoly-utility company:

Turn things off/use less

-when you’re not in a room, when 1 will do, or if there’s sun–>shut off the lights!

-shut off your computer/TV.

-unplug things that aren’t regularly in use

-use cold water to do things (when possible) & turn it off between tasks if possible.

-if you wanna be extreme–don’t flush pee.

We (OK, I) Winterize

-I put plastic over the (single-paned, drafty) sliding glass door and window.  This is a MAJOR pain, and I usually have vast amounts of frustration, tantrums, and melt-downs during the tedious, horrible process.  But, the temps stay substantially more regulated, and things maintain MUCH longer.

-And a note:  Remember to take the plastic/tape off while it’s still chilly outside in early spring.  It’s a real Bit(h to get dry, old tape off windows–which you inevitably have to tape over somewhere, (despite every effort not to) in order to seal it off.  I spent countless hours scraping old tape reminants off my renter’s glass with a blade = super-sucks!

-I also hang blankets over the front of the slider and window.  Except for a piece I can see from the treadmill and my study spot.  It would keep it even warmer, but I derive much joy from seeing my ducks/geese on the river.  Just don’t forget to take them down and wash them once or twice mid-winter, or else they will mold and destroy the only quilt your grandmother sewed specifically for you.  Major bummer.

-Put blankets (or old clothes in a pinch) on door thresholds.  Our sliding glass door is not installed properly, and we get a huge draft between the metal railing and the carpet.

We don’t use our apartment’s heater or AC (At all.  Ever.)

So how do we stay warm in winter, you ask?

-We dress in layers:  Sweats, socks, +/- beanie.  All the time.

-We have an electric blanket, goose-down comforter, and many blankets on the bed.

-We move around to increase metabolism (and heat).

-We warm up from the inside out:  Drink hot beverages, eat warm foods, ingest spicy food to rev up the metabolism.  I’d like to say we avoid cold foods, but we love ice cream, and Cool needs ice in most drinks.  That’s NOT a good way to stay warm.

-We huddle/snuggle.  With each other and the cats.

-Our electric throw blankets are cheaper then heating the entire apartment and keep us super-toasty!

-Ok, we do use space heaters.  BUT only in the room we are in at the time.  And set on a threshold of 60F.  So they only turn on when the temp drops below that level, then shut back off.  Also, we have the kind of space heaters that shut off if they fall over–for fire-safety with pets.  Also, between my day schedule and Cool’s night schedule one of us is home 24/7 to monitor for hazzards.  This is not so good for decreasing utility use.

-In the bathroom, we put in an infrared light–which is magical and awesome.  Instead of dreading chilly winter showers, I look forward to basking under the heated light.  And it’s only on when we’re IN bathroom–no more pre-heating a whole room before a shower.

-Also, to make showering warmer (and be aware of water consumption) we close the tub-drain.  The hot water puddling around the feet, keeps the ankles warm–and therefore you’re entire body warmer.  Also, it’s a good way to know if the shower is too long = deep water.

Stay Cool

-take a cold bath/shower

-soak your feet in cold water

-pour cold water over your wrists

-put a bag of frozen veg (or an ice pack if you’re fancy!) on your forehead/neck/wrists/feet/ or stomach if you can handle it.

-eat or drink something cold

-wear your skivvies.

-go to a lake or pool (or the mall or a theater)

-don’t use the oven.  Or the dryer, dishwasher, anything that uses electricity b/c it will create heat.  If you must–wait until early morning when the temps are at the lowest point.

-exercise in the early morning too.

-acclimate.

MMM, there’s probably some more tips we utilize, but it’s getting past my bedtime (and my 4×4 and I have to pick up Cool from work at midnight) so I’ll leave you to brainstorm more ways on your own.

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There’s No Pleasing Me

6 Dec

At least when it comes to matters of worry.

-An open note test is a GOOD thing.  Except now I’m worried about taking it online.  My internet connection often drops and it would be horrible to lose my test before I completed all the questions.  I thought it would ease my mind if I did a practice quiz, disconnected the internet, and saw whether the test shut down or if it would be OK.  So much to the annoyance of the prof, I requested a mini practice quiz.  She obliged and I went through my procedure.  The test time continued to count down, but it didn’t cease.  Which is good, but the practice run didn’t allieviate any worry.  AND I had been so worried about the connectivity that didn’t pay attention to the questions at all.  I figured she would make 2 non-questions, but she put effort into making legit questions–and I didn’t look at them.  And I couldn’t open them back up once the test was submitted.  And now I’m fretting about WHERE to take the exam that has a more trustworthy connection.  I’m worried the library at school will be full of finals-crammers, as will the coffee shops.  Now what?  And when?  There’s no great time to take the thing either.

-I DID have a productive study day.  And I got to leave work early, which I always, always love.  I utilized that extra time too, by studying in the bath, and I studied until 7PM, which is virtually unheard of for me.  I’m happy about those things.

-I’m also proud of my three-part blog series I wrote on feline/cat/animal restraint.  I mention it, because a gal at work got bit up and it’s a major issue right now.  And I thought of an extra tip and added it to part 1 today.  So you should check those out–and no, I still don’t know how to post a link to former posts on this post to make these things a click away for you.  But look under Sept 2013, or wade through the tag “veterinary.”

-Why did my neighbors become severly obnoxious in the last week?  These are the same ones who have lived next door for at least 6 months, that used to be quiet.  Last night, they were blasting music, shouting, and stomping on the stairs again.  And portions throughout the day.  I’m always amazed at how little inconsiderate people sleep.  Last night’s shennenigans were equal volume with my noise-masking fan, so I tossed a little, but mostly got fitfull sleep, and that beats no sleep at all.  *Insert glare eyeballs*

-Shoot, I always do this–I had something else and now I’ve forgotten it.  I should start these posts by doing a quick outline, then filling in details.  Maybe I’ll think of it again later.  I’m sure I’ll be back in between study sessions tomorrow.