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This is what our balcony looks like right now…

Cuidado, indeed. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t open the door– there is a 2×4 wedged behind the slider, in a cruel reversal of the “security system” GP has devised that involves placing a level (yes, a level) behind the interior sliding door space.

Oh, and where is all the stuff that usually lives on the balcony?

Why, right in the living room, of course! Where else should we put the 12-foot tripod that elevates our DirecTV dish to a height where it’s able to receive signal? I am shocked that I haven’t stubbed any toes on this thing, shocked and grateful.

In addition to this business, there are currently many different Huge Piles of Dirt blocking random walkways throughout the complex, which make getting to one’s car or fetching the mail a more challenging task than ever thought possible. There is, of course, also the accompaniment of numerous power tools, if your brain needed any more aggravation. Ah, apartment living…



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So, remember that time that I bitched and moaned about all the construction that’s going on around The Apartment? Well, some of it has begun…and this is what our walls look like:

Just behind where the front door is, facing into our living room, are two good-sized holes, as well as the drywall that was cut from several locations in the apartment, to allow access to pipes.

This is one of my favorites, because it displays the best of what the plumbers/contractors/whoeverthehells are doing here. One of the holes, the bigger one, is “securely” covered with plastic that is roughly one-eighth the thickness of plastic wrap, while its smaller sibling peeks out from behind the fridge, completely uncovered, a perfect entry point for whatever creatures might be living in our/any of our six neighbors in this buildings’ walls to come in and claw out our eyes in our sleep, and then drink all our wine.

Guest bath hole #2–pretty unassuming, behind where our towels usually are. (They, however, will not be replaced until some unknown day when the construction people come back to patch and paint because, seriously, they tore shit up in my bathrooms. Not cool.)

And here, we have the Terrifying Open Hole of Danger, conveniently located right above our shower head. Good thing GP’s parents, who land at SJC tonight, will be staying in a hotel.

This one is in our bathroom, right next to the toilet. This will be gross, so avert your eyes if you are delicate, but I have a terrible, irrational fear of something leaping through the plastic (thank god it’s covered!) and strangling me or something while I’m on the toilet. This would probably be some cousin of the creature that pops through the hole in the kitchen.

At any rate, I am now off to watch (and prepare a recap of!) SNL, in a hole-free room of the apartment. Please direct all positive thoughts to the protection of me and GP from any malicious creatures that now have a couple new entry points into our apartment.

That really cuts my cake…

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…and not even in a good way. So, our apartment complex was recently purchased by a new management company, which I think is based in LA (at least that’s what it said when I Googled it). Right there, I feel, is Strike One, because how the eff are they supposed to manage anything from hundreds of miles away. I suppose that’s not the point, and it’s not like they’d be walking around the units, inspecting the landscaping and making sure that nothing was floating around in the fountain, even if they were based here in San Jose, but still. LA is not close, people.

There have been issues with the apartment and management before– there have been too many “we need to shut off the water today between 10ish and 6ish” notices to count, not to mention general pain-in-the-ass cable and internet setups (basically, there is an internet monopoly for people who don’t want a landline in their apartment, as the internet would have to have some sort of…line, and the only alternative to crap-ass, no-Food-Network-having cable is DirecTV, which entails a huge pole/tower/tripod thing on our deck, not to mention a godawful DVR– but that’s a tangent we just don’t have time for…). But, by and large, the most egregious things have happened since the new management company has taken over. Don’t get me wrong, GP and I are happy to be in the location we are (mostly), happy that we’re not paying a too-crazy (for the Bay Area) amount of rent, and happy that we have all the necessities, like shelter, food, and enough wine to last for a couple weeks, at least, even if it were to be the only thing we ever drank. The offenses I am about to describe to you are offenses of intense inconvenience than they are of actual damage or harm. Right now, and in the next few weeks, there will be three concurrent construction projects going on throughout the complex– and this is after they replaced all the doors and windows in the midst of a few stormy weeks in late January (genius thinking, by the way…).

Three projects. At the same time. Now, as a college graduate, I feel that I may have an advantage over these clearly middle-school-educated property management companies in that I know a thing or two about time management, even if I don’t always practice it. (Warning: I am about to be very petty, complainy, and all-around unpleasant. Consider yourself warned.) Since when is it a good idea to run three enormous construction projects at the same time? Since never, is the normal-people answer. You want to re-roof all twenty-odd buildings in the complex? Knock yourself out. That in itself is quite the undertaking, and I realize that you have a Serious Company set up to do it, not some guy in his pickup truck with his sixteen year old son helping him out after school. I get it, but why not pace yourselves? Might be nice to have to deal with only one potential clusterfuck at a time.

Oh, no? You want to replace all the balconies, too? Oh, that’d be nice, especially since we had to have some of the boards out there replaced immediately after moving in because they were rotted through and we could see through them. I get it, you want to be all structurally sound in earthquake country, that’s cool. Oh, and bringing in our small table, chairs, plants, and grill? Not a problem, they might be able to live in our kitchen or whatever. But we have to get the eyesore of a DirecTV tripod off the balcony, too? Hmm, let me think: no. No freaking way am I going to bring that thing into my apartment, and neither is GP. (Sidenote: I’m going to have this conversation, this one about the eyesore-tripod de- and re-installation with Management tomorrow, as I seriously have no intention of paying to have it re-installed, nor do I plan to take that thing down by myself.) I’m interested to see what sort of solution you have, because my suggestion is that you be the ones to contact the cable company to have them take it down and put it back up. You wait for that four-hour window in the middle of a workday for that grubby guy to show up, and you pay him for the privilege of his company.

Oh, and the third thing? Is probably the worst yet. We got a three-page, Very Serious Document taped to our door (the typical delivery method for Very Serious Documents, no?) on Monday, saying that all the units are going to be re-piped. Apparently, this is a process that involves not only plumbers, but drywall and painting teams, too, and there’s always the wait for the city inspectors somewhere in the middle there. During the process, we are to have everything off the counters in the kitchen and bathrooms and everything out from under the sinks, which leads me to an interesting question, a Zen koan of sorts– where is all that stuff supposed to go? See, we’re in a two-bedroom apartment, and storage is not at a maximum around here (witness the shoes that meander over all available floor space). I can’t wait until this process begins, and the note taped to the door gives us some more firm dates, but you see, I can’t read it in its entirety. Why? Because it is to remain on the door, like some sort of Passover marker, although I doubt that this one will serve to protect us very successfully. How, exactly, am I to review the pages that are posted on my door, if they are supposed to stay in that very place? Also, you guys put the wrong floorplan in the packet. Idiots.

You may be able to gauge the level of frustration…and I’m not sure what exactly (if anything) there is that I can do about it. A law-school-attending best friend of mine told me recently that she regretted that she didn’t have any advice, as they haven’t gotten to landlord-tenant relations in her Property class just yet, so I ask you, Internets: is there anything I can do besides complain into your vast tubes? Sure, it’s therapeutic, and I’m sure at least someone likes to read my bitching, but I’d hate to think that it ended there. What would you do, in my position?