Monday, February 23, 2009

Apartment Life Sucks

Hello again,
Like many young married couples my wife and I are saving up to buy our first home, hopefully within the next couple of years, but until that time we live in a spacious one bedroom apartment here in Victoria. It's a nice enough apartment, don't get me wrong (hardwood floors, clean building, good location, on a bus route, reasonable rent, and a friendly caretaker) but, as I'm sure many of you can agree, there are some things about apartment life that just suck no matter how nice your apartment is.
It seems that no matter when I want to have a shower someone else has the same idea and then it becomes a fight to maintain a consistent water temperature. The nice thing is that I live directly above the boiler room so I get the hot water first, but when the water is hot enough to blister the paint off the walls that's too hot! So I ever so slightly turn the hot down - and I mean just a tiny fraction of a turn people - and suddenly the water becomes so cold certain parts of my anatomy instantly disappear! I don't even think Mariah Carey could hit the high notes I hit when that happens!
I wish I could get these people back by starting a load of laundry, but unfortunately my apartment does not come with in suite machines so I have to go downstairs and use the common laundry room. This can sometimes be another adventure. First of all there are only 3 washers and 3 dryers. Of course there's always one machine that doesn't work as well as the others and after a while you start to strategize and try to time your laundry perfectly to take advantage of the good machines. It would be nice if the other tenants knew how to play this game but instead they come in willy nilly, take up all of the machines and seem to always forget they're doing laundry. I'm never comfortable with handling other people's laundry.
Perhaps even more unsettling is when someone can't wait and removes my laundry from the machine the second the cycle stops. I do my best to be in the room a minute before the end of the cycle, but sometimes things happen and I'm a few minutes late. By the time I get downstairs all of my laundry is in a big pile on the counter- beside my basket!
I could probably do an entire post about just laundry, and I know so many people that have similar complaints, but then you folks may get as bored as the Maytag Repair Man. Suffice it to say those of you who happen to have your own machines don't know how lucky you are.
I remember once hearing a famous Aboriginal author talking about how at one point in time his people lived in villages where everyone knew and respected each other and that nowadays nobody even knows who's living on the other side of the wall and he's really got a point. TV sitcoms would have you believe that everyone knows everyone else in their building, but it's just not like that for most people these days. All you get are fleeting glimpses of people quickly shuffling up and down the hallway before they disappear into their suite and hastily slam the deadbolt into place.
Some of my neighbors seem like nice enough people and I probably would get along with them, but in this day and age people just don't randomly knock on their neighbor's doors and invite themselves into their lives. Idle small talk when you meet while taking out the garbage is about as far as it goes these days.
Of course then there are those people in the building that can just get on your nerves. The couple fighting across the hall, the stuffy old woman who bathes in perfume and gives everyone a dirty scrutinizing look as they come in and out of the building, the person who's always doing laundry but seems to own only one outfit, and the guy who can't afford to fix his crappy car and wakes the building up bright and early with his noisy engine, squeaky brakes, and terrible power steering. Did I mention my balcony faces the parking lot?
Now I know that when I eventually own my own place there may be other issues with neighbors, but as long as I can have a nice shower, do laundry at my own pace, and not hear the upstairs neighbors walking around or -ahem- expressing their physical love for each other, then I'll be happy.


  1. There are some pretty good benefits to renting though. If the refrigerator breaks, you call the landlord and ask him to fix it. If the plumbing or electric needs to be redone, the same. If you lose your job and can't pay the rent, you merely move and do not loose all the equity you had built up so like everything else there are benefits and burdens.

    Nice to see you again.

  2. What you say is true, but considering the mood I was in when I wrote this I wasn't really thinking of the positives. This really is a great apartment and the maintenence people are really good here.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Don't even get me started on my neighbours.. the ones on the left, the ones on the right and the ones across the hall.

    The ones on my left have 3 children under the age of 10 who constantly run no matter what time of day it is. I have threatened the landlord with legal action if he doesn't deal with them, meanwhile I have public security on speed dial. Then there was the other problem that they have a prayer clock that goes off every 5 hours and it was so loud, the moaning sounded like someone was trapped in the wall. My 5yo was scared to go to sleep at night because of "the ghosts in the wall mom" and this also prevented him from using the toilet (on that same wall) so he was peeing the bed. I took my old boom box with equalizer after several failed attempts to get the landlord to shut them up and put in 3 CDs, Rage against the Machine, NIN and Nirvana, hit shuffle, Mega Bass, and then hit full bass on the equalizer, stuck the speakers against the wall and went out for a few hours.

    We have been prayer music free ever since.

    The ones across the hall are just stupid. There is one man, 5 women, 1 teenage boy and 6 younger kids ranging from 10 months to 6yo. So the racket that comes from there is just their normal day to day activities.. Then the one on the right is quieter, but still has their moments. I feel like a foreigner in my own country.. haha.

    Oh the noisy engine? There was some knob who refused to fix his muffler at one point and he was parking in the underground garage.. it was waking me up on the 2nd floor and if I was in my living room on the ground floor the noise was unbearable.

  4. Hey! Wonderful to have you back in Blogland! :)
    Lets see...last thing I remember, you were engaged, working for a phone company that you despised, had a sassy cat, played awesome guitar--and took wonderful pics!
    I see a few things have changed but all for the better it seems :)
    Apartment life does suck. Hang in there--your home time will come! :)

  5. Dead, Those stories made me laugh. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

    Haphazard, It's nice to be back. Yes a lot has changed, but the cat remains sassy and I still rock out on the guitar from time to time. Nice to see you again too!


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