Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our New Apartment: Smaller, Crappier, and Even More Ghetto-Fab!

WARNING: Metric ton of photos - some of them may require clicking on to load!

Last week, Superhero Lou Ryan and I began moving all our stuff out to our new ghetto-fab apartment - and partly with the help of other people. Unfortunately, February's warm, sunny days gave way to March's freezing and unrelenting rain. We eventually wound up looking like this little fox sparrow:

birdeh Well, at least we weren't as bad off as these guys - they were installing gas meters and had to stay out in it for at least three weeks!
whatistobecomeofthestreet We would no longer have a porch roof to go out onto, nor a mud pit for a yard because of the people who think it's a great place to park. (And because the construction workers had dug three large holes in the lawn.)

theyardrut Despite the chill rain, I made sure my kitties had plenty of time to say goodbye to the roof.
lastnightatthehouse All the stress and flutter of moving (assuming moves can be said to 'flutter') Violet began to try finding creative expression through rapping, though lacking speech organs she only got as far as dressing like Eminem.

violetseminemwear Vada, on the other hand, responded by coming out of the closet. (Of course I still love her - don't you know homosexual cats are the best?)

closetcatcomesout Meanwhile, Lou and I were preparing the apartment for habitation. Now, I'm sure most people would expect an apartment to be clean when they move in. Not so here - we had to spend a couple of days on that!

Other than that, I suppose it ain't so bad: When I walk in the door, I instantly feel so reassured that it was the previous tenant who had suffered a break-in and not us.

achybreakydoor But not to worry; if there's an intruder, the next-door neighbor's dog will yap at it relentlessly. Just like it does whenever its owners are not home! My entire first day there involved wearing earplugs to the point that my ears were sore!

Generally I think that the first thing people do when they move in would be to start bringing in their furniture. But, since furniture blocks the way of scrubbing mildew off the walls, I had to do that first.

cleaningoffthewall Same with using the bathroom - the mildew in this picture was three feet up from the floor, plus there's still a field of it on the ten-foot ceiling!

mildewyay The view above is from behind the toilet, which is in the middle of the bathroom floor instead of up against the wall. As a result, the only way to sit down on it is sideways. That's because the whole bathroom is only as wide as the shower, which was filled with debris from broken fish-treads. (Ooh! Mildew-towel!)

showerwithmildewtowel Fish treads, fish treads, brittle, breaking fish treads.... I won't be able to wash dishes in it, true, but that's no problem considering the new sink is large enough to contain dishes! Isn't that amazingly convenient? Kick ass!
tacklingthosedishes You're probably still wondering why our room is so conducive to mildew growth. I'll tell ya: It's very hard to keep the place warm or dry without a heater, partly because the ceilings are ten feet high, and partly because there is zero ventilation (and along with it, the thick, ever-present smell of dogs and natural gas).

Why natural gas? It's the only logical... no, because the only source of heat we're allowed is the stovetop burners - the oven doesn't even work! - and we're not allowed to use our electric heaters.

Why not? Because the slumlord said he couldn't afford it. What? Can't afford electric heaters? How can he not afford them? What if the cats were attracted to the blue flickering on the stove, jumped up there, caught themselves on fire, died, and burned everyone's apartment down with all their stuff/pets, etc? And... you know, his building, too?

And don't think I'm just bitching - we even tried using the open flame as heat, but we almost got caught on fire ourselves because - plus the heat from it just went straight up to the ceiling and everywhere from the windows down was still quite chilly, damp and generally mildew-propagating (especially the bathroom).

I don't care what the slumlord says, the stovetop cannot heat this apartment, nor is it safe, but he kept saying, "I can't afford the electric bill." He also doesn't care that the only way we can trap stoveburner heat is to close the windows almost all the way (which also makes it incredibly humid), nor does he mind if our apartment fills up with carbon monoxide because there's no exhaust fans or any other way to let the fumes out.

Even more outrageously, he won't even fix the oven so we can use that as a heat source, considering that ovens are much better for heating rooms. Seriously! We kept telling him he needed to get our oven fixed and he just countered with, "I don't see your problem. Why can't you just use the stovetop? You don't need an oven!"

Screw that! That is seriously f****d up! I don't care if we get in trouble, I guarantee we're doing everyone a favor by using our electric heaters. Besides, we won't even need to use them at all in a couple of months. For now, though it's been alternating cold rain with cold sun constantly, it's quite toasty in here even though we have to leave the windows open a little to keep the walls from sweating.

Besides that whole fiasco, there were a few more nasty little surprises: We discovered, to our horror, that before we would be able to stock the fridge we would have to empty all the disgusting crap that's been rotting in there while it was unplugged: Chicken nuggets, slimy condiments, scraps from a meat explosion that got my hands all gross, and this stuff, which required lots of scrubbing....

ournewfridge Later on, I found the source of another foul stench - a bucket of brown liquid under the sink with plenty of layers of scum on top. It smelled like slug poop! I was so grossed out and eager to get rid of it that I didn't think to take a photo of its horribleness, but trust me, it was so nasty you probably wouldn't want to see it anyway!

I was amused when Lou Ryan said, "just close the cabinet doors and you can't smell it." Heedless of that advice, I went outside and dumped it out on the lawn so we'd at least have a bucket. However, the smell it left in the air was so foul that there was no way I would take it back inside, so I just left it out in the rain.

Meanwhile, back at the old apartment, the cats were stupefied as to what was happening to the furniture. Violet's saying, "Where's the couch, Mom? I'd like to sit in the window...."
wheredacouch A few minutes later, she pounced on Vada, growling, "What did you do with the couch?" (Errr... yeah.)
noyoudid But, once we got the cats to the new apartment - where they were reunited with the furniture - they were amazed by the amount of headroom they had over the top of the mattress!

moreheadroom We had yet to move all the rest of our stuff in, and that gave me some extra time to clean. Since my usual sitting place is the floor, I immediately noticed that the carpet needed some attention.

It's actually pretty decent because it's very thick and there are no carpet tacks that stick into me when I step in the wrong place (like in the old apartment). Unfortunately, it's so thick that it's difficult to clean and even after we'd vacuumed it seven times, it was still filthy and I was constantly picking dog hair and splinters off of my legs each time I stood up. Not to mention, it still exuded the thick stench of natural gas and dogs that had settled in over the winter.

In a desperate attempt to make the room cleaner and better-smelling, I reached my hands into the deep pile and pulled out what I could with my hands - looks like it could coat a whole dog!

amassoffur And that's not including the part of the carpet where the furniture's sitting, as I didn't really feel like moving that all again.

I remember there was a time I'd done a similar cleaning maneuver just before one of Director Nate's business stays. Irony of ironies, he arrived at our new place just after that, the day we'd officially 'moved in' (Friday). Here's a photo of him playing Lou Ryan's guitar as the two of them discuss their plans - to the music!

theconversationsong It's hard to keep a straight face if you're singing your own debate! (And much more pleasant to listen to than the ever-yapping dog!) Anyway, Nate slept at our apartment Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights, though in the daytime he was in the studio at the old apartment building.

Meanwhile, we kept moving stuff in to the point where there was scarcely enough room for the cats to perch without something falling someplace odd.

whoopsie ...And the floor? Forget it!

pileojunk But, since the cats were such good sports about this stressful transition, I made sure the whole deal was well worth their time!

violetgetsatreat Mm! Strawberry! Next on the agenda, Lou and I set up the bookcases and began attaching shelves to the wall with a power drill/screwdriver thingy. No, Violet, it's not a catshelf!

snakecatandabookshelf Before long, the mess was cleared up and we could finally put down my nice rug (and clean it thoroughly). Even better, with all the things on their shelves, the yapping dog is much less noticeable! Time to play!

yayclearfloor As you can probably guess, this new apartment is even smaller than the last one. It's more expensive, too. In fact, our couch is about 400% closer to the stove than our last one.

chewonplaything As I've said before, Nate spent large parts of his days at the recording studio that Lou Ryan built in our former apartment building, mostly editing videos with and without Mr. Rap Artist. Now, I've already dedicated a couple of posts largely to his unacceptable behavior (and the reason for his visits), consistent tardiness as well as just shooting the video, which involved being surrounded by the SWAT team at one point!

As usual, Mr. Rap Artist was many hours late for his appointments with Nate - for two of them he didn't show up until after Lou was sound asleep, and he stayed until about four in the morning! At least Nate's a night owl - he also had other work to do while he was waiting, and a nice place to do it in. Don't you agree?

nateatthestudio And don't forget, Sideshow, the guy who's been telling vicious lies and basically being a total bastard in order to stop the studio's construction, still lives right next door to it. And - being consistently pathetic - he's begun playing his music much louder than usual because he still hates our studio.

However, he fails to grasp the concept that recording studios are soundproof. As a result, his neighbors are the only people who can hear it and thus are the only people he sees knocking on his door to ask him to turn it down. Hullo?

On the last afternoon Nate was up here (that'd be Tuesday), he got tired of waiting for his morning appointment with Mr. Rap Artist, and by the time the guy had shown up (in his girlfriend's rig) we were just leaving for the train station.

intimetosaybye He was really decent to us, so we didn't give him a hard time. Finally, we arrived at the super-extra ghetto fab King Street Station - it has that little clock tower in the middle! (I suggest clicking to see this one full-size.)

thetrainstation Bye, Nate! I'll miss you so much!
sayingbye You can tell it used to be a really elegant-looking place - a hundred years ago! In fact, you can still get a glimpse of the original ceiling....

originalceiling On the way back home, I took this really cool photo!

buses And when I'd finally gotten there, I took this one of... a Windowcat in her own element!

windowcathearssomething The Windowcat differs from the Roofcat in that it is often surrounded by a cloaking device which distorts its shape.

windowcatistransforming It is also most comfortable in the narrowest of spaces. (Whoops - is that mildew?)

mahbaybahwindowcat On Thursday morning, after acing my final exam, I came home to a toilet and a shower that were oozing sewage all over the place. Arrrgh! And it wasn't just us, it was all the toilets downstairs! Didn't look much like sewage, but the floor was all wet with it from the overflow. Once again, I don't think you want to see pictures of poopy water.

Even worse, I was having bloody period diarrhea with nowhere to put it (again with my vagina getting into my stories in unsavory ways!), and the slumlord said he wouldn't be able to get by with his plumbing equipment until 2:30!

However, on the third level there was a vacant apartment that some people were moving into, much like ourselves. The door was unlocked, and nobody was around, so I used that bathroom a few times. Lou Ryan then went up there to unload something of his own... and found that he couldn't flush the toilet!

He came out to find a note on everyone's door that said that the water had been turned off by 'Maintenance'. However, it wasn't 'Maintenance'; it was a man I'd prefer to call 'Jackass'! Then again, his bathroom is lower than everyone else's and so that's probably where my bloody period diarrhea was going.... (He deserves it, too.)

So - get this! - Lou had to go to the store in order to buy water... in order to flush someone else's toilet before they return to their new home and find something unflushable and think some horrible prank's been played on them! Aaa haa haaaaa!

He just made it too, barely!

Later on, the slumlord had made it with his plumber's snake and discovered that the leaky sewage pipe (which has apparently always leaked) was now unable to serve its function and was mostly filling the basement up with sewage. How did this happen, you ask? (Because you really want to know, right?)

Because our retarded neighbor had run out of toilet paper and instead of dashing off to the store ASAP to get more, she had been using baby wipes - the pipe was plugged with hundreds of them!

Also around this time, the landlord of our old apartment called and said that one of the new tenants we were helping to move in told him that we were still living there and therefore, we owed him money. I'm sorry, but does it look like we were still living there?

wheredeverythinggo Well, okay, except for the cats, but I only brought them up for one last trip to the roof because they were being extremely rambunctious and knocking things over. Apparently, when a cat moves into a different living space, it has to make sure all the same rules apply - by breaking them!

Only after we had been well-settled into our new apartment did the new tenants actually begin moving in, which we helped some with. (They actually helped us move out.) I was wondering when I'd take the last photo of the view....

onelastview By this time, it was clear that the cats understood what was happening - this just isn't their home anymore, though I was still letting them out for one last play session.

onelastlook They didn't have much heart in it, though. By the end of that day, they were exhausted. (How do you like the 'fridge art' we inherited?)

tiredout The next morning, on Friday, we got cable internet and all was well! (But we still had to do some putting away of items, like Violet's 'pillow', there.)

As you can probably guess, I've continued to take tons of photos, especially of the cats, though I can only fit half of them into this post. Notably, though it's hard to hear the dog anymore, there was a crow yapping at the cats from the telephone pole outside!

can'tgetme Vada kept asking, "Mommy, can we go out and play with it?"

pleasemom They crowded around the window, begging, "Please!?"
wewanttogoout At one point, Lucas came into the room and the crow was doing its worst. "Yar! Yar! Yar! Yar! Yar! Awooo!"

awkawk He was absolutely stupefied when he heard the cats 'chattering' at the crow, despite the fact that they do this all the time, and despite the fact he's had many cats as pets. Well, of course they do! That's because they're performing Cat Hypnosis!

lookmom They're saying; "You will fly down! Fly down to us!"

yeahletsgetit I couldn't stand it any longer - I had to let them fulfill their natural instincts! So I took them out on the leashes... and Vada promptly planted herself in one spot and began grazing.

grazingcat Well, I say the grass needs a good trim! Violet, on the other hand, looked left and right for that bird - it kept flying all around in the trees out back!

leashcat She was determined to get that bird no matter what, wings or no!

climbingbear But it flew to the next tree before she made it. No matter - she vented her hunting instincts on a fly for a moment.

flycatchercat Then it was back to chasing the crow - she's actually trying to hypnotize it from the tree! "Fly over to this tree, birdie!"

afterthecrow The bastard crow, who was bloody hard to photograph, merely laughed at her efforts. (It's that blobby thing near the center.)

cawcaw Violet wasn't about to take that. She said, "all right, I'll show you!"
afterthedamncrow Then the crow just flew away. (And my camera didn't take the picture until it was out of frame. Damn autofocus!)

Well-deserving of a breather, she took some time off to catch the scent of other potential prey animals.

violetizhappy Nope, none under here!

thecaryard While Violet was busy doing that, Vada had become so irritated with her harness that she lost her temper and wriggled out of it. I wasn't too concerned; not only did she continue to not wander, but she felt so much better that she started chasing flies!

ikeelyoufly Happy, happy cats!

Anyway, I think I've written enough for now on this blog. (But maybe not other blogs....)

Update: The rest of my photos have spilled over into here!


J Morgetron said...

Oh no S E E ...

I always clean before I move in too, but ... but ... but ... you shouldn't have to scrape mildew off of a new apartment wall ... nor should you have to clean out former tenants liquified food. Ick.

Hubbetron and I used to own rental property and one of the tenants walked out and didn't tell us for a month ... turned off the electricity, water, and stopped paying for trash service. She left food galore in the fridge. It was summertime ... in Nebraska. We opened the fridge and the milk was on the verge of exploding. HOOOORRRRRRIIIIIBLLLLLE odors.

She alse let her dog poop and pee in her kids' rooms and her own room and just left the piles there. Poop poop poop. Everywhere poop.

So, I've been there sort of, only I knew I didn't have to move back in to the place once I cleaned it. We sold the property shortly after.

Being a landlord can be difficult, but we always took care of our tenants' needs. Mind you, at one point, this house was our house and we loved it, and we were only managing the one house ... but it was an hour away from our new house ... so challenge ... yes, but subjecting people to all sorts of nastiness ...

Mold can make you sick! Be careful. I can't wait to see your place once it's all finished.

Post more, post more!

S E E Quine said...

` OMG!!! That sounds like some Fridge Stink! And what is wrong with people who couldn't care less when there's poop and pee all over the place? (Like this one woman who left her baby's dirty diapers all over her house without even rolling them up first!)
` It doesn't surprise me, though: Lou Ryan has helped the former landlord to clean out apartments and it generally involved ripping out the carpet, scrubbing the walls, fumigating and taking out a lot of trash!
` In fact, the landlord remarked that when we moved out ourselves, our apartment was cleaner than any other he's seen! And it wasn't even spotless!
` I think that shows right there the standards of living some upper-ghetto people have.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

That was some adventure—and it really sounds as if it’s not over yet. I suspect you’ll be having on-going problems with that cheap-ass slumlord. (Throughout the past 35 or so years as both a social worker and a minister, I have loved taking on slum lords—even got one into prison for what he did to one of my clients).

You did an excellent job telling the story with prose and photos. Again, I am impressed!

Alex sends purrs to the kitties and says that he hopes that they adjust to their new castle OK.

Blessings and more to all of you!

S E E Quine said...

` Thanks, Nick! Good to know you got the best of one 'o those pesky slumlords! Ours is such a punk!

keith 'I hate those bendy letters - hillman said...

Wow - some place you landed yourselves in! And wotta lotta pics! Great journey and well worth the time I spent travelling it with you!

Charles said...

Geesh, I think you may actually have hit the nail on the head calling that a__h__e a slumlord. Good luck to you in the "new" digs.

S E E Quine said...

` Thanks so much, Keith and Charles! Luckily, Lou and I are somewhat experienced at dealing with slumlords.

` And sorry about the bendy letters, Keith, but damn it, I don't like spam!
` (Spam spammmm, wonderful spam!)
` Sadly, the bendy letters have failed me once: I somehow have never blogged about it, but deleting the stuff from two hundred-something odd posts once took up most of my internet time for a while, not to mention, it really interfered with my emails because of all the notifications!

Simon Sterwin said...

Your retarded neighbour might have discovered something with the baby wipe idea.

(warped imagination moment incoming)

Even better might be the hot towels which are distributed in Indian restaurants after the meal.

One would have to be quick though, to get the full benefit, which would surely outweigh blockage issues...

S E E Quine said...

` Eh, I say it's a waste of towels! But, if you're going to do that you will need a bonfire in which to dispose of them....

angel said...

GLORIOUS pictures!!!
i'm sorry the apartment was such a mess, but i am SO glad the furbabies are happy!

Galtron said...

I'm finally back to read the second half of this post, and add that it's totally tyrannical to not let you have a heater! Jeez.
Too bad you can't complain to the slumlord that he didn't even clean the apartment before you moved in! At least it's clean now, with some happy roofcats to keep you company!

P.S. Those trees look suspiciously like the ones you had before!

P.P.S. It's snowing again here. Is it snowing over where you live?

Galtron said...

P.P.P.S. Aren't you just a little weirded out by the fact that the previous tenent kept a bucket of poopy water under the sink?

S E E Quine said...

` Angel and Galtron; indeed!

` Galtron yes, it is odd. Whatever it was from, he was evidently pouring it down the sink!
` And yes, it is snowing here, and yes, Galtron, don't you think cedar trees generally look similar to one another?