A middle-aged man dreaming of the day when he can stop begging for scraps and write for a living.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Fabulous Roller Coaster Ride

I've talked a lot about everything except myself. For those of you dying to know what's going on (and thank you both), here's the rundown: it's been a hell of a roller coaster ride in the SpaceGhoti home the past couple of weeks. Stress levels are running high, finances are quirky and the availability of hot water varies from day to day. Fun times, right?

So, to begin. At the beginning of the month we the hot water ran out in the apartment complex. Grant Plaza isn't the most modern building with all the conveniences of home, but we could always depend on scalding hot water. Okay, call the building manager and let 'em know what's up. Friday passes. No feedback, and no hot water, either. Call several more times, including the backup maintenance number. No response, and again no hot water. Of course, this is Labor Day Weekend, so people are out for an extended period of time. I figure on Tuesday we'll see some action. I call, but get nothing.

Finally at the end of the week I get fed up and find the number for the city's Health and Safety. I probably should have done it before then, but I'm kind of stupid that way. The lady on the phone assures me that this is a high priority and will likely have an inspector out the same day. I get a reference number. Finally, the ability to take a hot shower in time for the weekend.

It never happens. We spend the rest of the weekend without hot water, still calling management the whole time. We also get a letter from someone claiming to be the owner wanting the money directly. I add that question to the voicemails I leave for the building manager. I get no word on that.

Monday I call Health and Safety again and mention the reference number. I'm transferred to the city inspector who says he never heard anything about it. But he goes out and makes his inspection. Finally the management company does something, and the next day we have hot water for a few hours. Then it goes cold again.

The inspector and I end up on a first-name basis, because I'm calling to report whenever the hot water goes out. Generally we have a day without hot water, followed by a few hours of hot water in the evening, then another day or two without it. As of this date, we have not had consistent hot water for more than two days in a row; we've certainly been without it more often than with it. Consequently, we eat out far too much because washing dishes in cold water doesn't fly.

At the moment we have hot water. I figure it might last through tomorrow morning.

In the middle of all this I'm discovering I have zero motivation to work for my employer anymore. Too much politics, too many arbitrary policies handed down, no opportunity for feedback in either direction and my boss just doesn't give a damn what I think about anything. Complaints? Problems? Suck it up. I spend more time hunting for new jobs than I do performing my old one. Not a good sign. I do a couple of interviews.

Then T gets a letter from the alleged property owner. This one says that the banks are likely to foreclose on the building, so we're going to need to move in the next month or two. Stress levels, already high, skyrocket. T isn't eating much, and not sleeping well either. A lovely conundrum: her libido explodes when her stress increases, while mine implodes. Gods, I need to find her a harem.

We start looking at new properties, find some things we like but only one we can afford. That one doesn't accept cats, and we're not giving up ours. No rush; we've got time and we really, really need to save as much as humanly possible to be able to afford this move. We're generally not good at that, but we don't have a choice.

This week I learn I landed one of the jobs I interviewed for. It's a lead position for a night deployment that goes through the end of the year. There's a two week unpaid break, then another deployment going through to spring. The employer has a good reputation for hiring people on if they perform well, and I've already impressed them enough that I'm starting in a position of authority. Benefits through the agency are better than what I have with my current employer, and I'll be getting a slight (very slight) raise. I hand in my notice, with a scathing review of my experience with them. My boss goes into spin mode.

We get confirmation that the lady claiming to be the owner is, in fact, the owner. We find this out not through the building manager (whom we haven't heard from in over a month), but by calling the management company directly. I also keep calling them (along with the inspector, Ray) to let them know when the hot water is out. I contact the owner and leave a message asking how she would like to handle prorating rent for the days without hot water. She calls back a little while later and talks my ear off about how the management company has been screwing her over, she hasn't seen money from them in months and how she's having to take them to court. After half an hour of this, I bring the topic back to the prorated rent. She admits she doesn't even know what our lease terms are, and whatever I can send would be GREATLY appreciated. She understands that she's putting the tenants in a bad position with this foreclosure and isn't demanding full rent. Sweet. I point out some other problems we've had with the management company, things she wasn't aware of before that can give her ammunition in court. It seems the company won't even return calls to her lawyer, which suggests they may default in court. Even if they don't, I volunteered as a witness against them.

So, up and down. New job, but it's contract and night work. T hates it when I'm not there at night. We have SOME hot water, but we have to move and can't really afford it. We won't need to pay full rent out of respect for that fact. And I have to deal with another week and half of extreme stress as I try to put my affairs in order at my old employer.

Oh, did I mention that it'll cost more to fix my old laptop than to replace it? It's no wonder people get addicted to the lottery: it's impossible to achieve financial security any longer. I'm betting the reason we're having this subprime lending mess is because the prime lending market was shrinking too fast.


Andrew said...

Chin up old bean. I'll pop over soon and entertain you with my oddball antics!

SpaceGhoti said...

Really? 'Cause you're not answering your IMs or emails. What's going on, man? What's the plan?