Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Electric Nazis and the Landlord from Hell

I. Am. In. Hell. I have had to resort to 60-hour workweeks again in addition to my crazy school schedule because of bills. I am a sort of magnet for drama. The therapist I saw after my mother died once told me that I have the tendency to get bored because my mind is capable of handling a lot at one time, and so sometimes I dramatize a little to entertain myself without realizing it. Back then, I would have to stop myself from over-reacting to little bumps in the road. Well, that was years ago. I can assure you that with motherhood, marriage, my career, and my rather ambitious educational endeavors, I am not bored. Not me, my mind, my heart, my soul.....All of the parts of me are challenged on a daily basis. And yet still, drama. Drama, drama, drama. Here is the latest:

We moved in to the property where we now reside back in November of this past year, right? Well, we have had trouble since. Trouble with neighbors and the general functionality of the house in which we live.

My absolute fave incident had to be the day I had my wisdom teeth cut out. As our luck would have it, despite best-laid plans, about an hour after Evan was dropped off at school, the school called saying he was vomiting. Yuck. But I had to have the procedure done, and John had to be there. I arranged for the sick childcare at work so John could take me. But we had to go. So John picks up Evan while I am in the shower. John and Evan are in Evan's bedroom changing Evan into pj's while I am in the next room getting ready. Apparently, Evan started projectile vomiting all over his room, so John shouts for me to help. The next thing we know, the neighbor from upstairs comes downstairs and is banging on our door, raising hell that we "jolted" his wife awake. I tried to apologize and explain that our son was ill and John needed my help. Before I could finish, he started talking about our "dumbass kid". Oh. Oh no. I called the landlord then and there and told him that if he did not do something about them, we wanted out of our lease.
But as if that wasn't enough...

We get a bill in the mail last Monday. Electric. $163.89. We have been paying about $200 monthly since we moved in in November, which is a pretty substantial electric bill for an apartment. I figured it was a little cheaper because we haven't been using heat. Sweet. Until the next day, when we get another bill. For...wait for it...$1,029.96. Ummmmm. Seriously? No way. I immediately get on the horn to the powers that be at the electric company. I pay my bill every month, in full, before it is due. What in the hell could this possibly be about? Well, as it turns out, they claim to not have access to our meters, which are under lock and key. Who has the key? The landlord. I didn't even realize that they couldn't read the meters. I mean, if they can't, how did they read it when the electric was first turned on in our name in November? So something is not right here. We start talking to our neighbors and find out that the upstairs neighbors got a bill for over $2K, and the neighbors across the hall got one for $1600. The neighbors upstairs aren't married, and thus have different last names, and so their solution was to turn it off in his name and turn it on in hers. But John and I cannot do that. I had no choice but to pay the bill.

Thinking that part of this fiasco is the landlord's mistake, I call him and tell him about it. I explained that, for the first time since we moved in, my rent would have to be 1 week late because I had to pay this enormous bill since he failed to provide a key to the meter reader. In other words, dude, even though you messed up and jilted your tenants, I will pay the sucky bill, but in exchange, I need you to give me one week. Nope. He wants us out. Which is fine. I want out. I am tired of the noisy neighbors and the bugs that crawl through the gaping holes in the screens because we cannot use our non-working a/c and thus must leave the windows open. I'm tired of trashy neighbors stealing my towels from my dryer downstairs when I turn my head for a second.

But then we start really looking at our lease. Boy was I stupid. It appeared to be a standard lease, and the day I signed it, Evan was running around like a madman and I was just trying to get home. But it is anything but standard. This asshole actually has it in his lease that we are responsible for repairs to electrical, plumbing, appliances, and even the roof if it leaks. In other words we got hosed again. So now we are looking for a new place...again. But not before I got my digs in:

We were leaving the house. There is already a "For Rent" sign in the front yard because one of the units upstairs is empty. Well this young couple pulls up and asks if I know how many bedrooms the empty unit has. "Two," I say. "Two pieces of crap."
"Really? You don't like living here?" the guy asks.
" Well, my electric bill was over $1000 this month. I make really good money, and I cannot afford this piece of crap." I tell him. This is when John walks up and pipes up about the bugs and the neighbors and the lease he makes people sign. The couple wanted to know if we knew of anyplace else around here for rent. We directed them to a place around the corner that has 1 bedroom, which we would have rented if we didn't have a child. They thanked us for our honesty. I doubt they will even inquire about this apartment. I figure that was my good deed for the day. At lkeast I could save them, if not myself.

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