Sunday, December 14, 2014

Maintenance in the winter.

It was a few days before Thanksgiving, when after a dinner with friends we decided to go back to my place and watch a movie on Netflix. "It's toasty in here"- and he was right. The thermostat was showing 83 Fahrenheit, about 28 Celsius, despite the system set to 76F. The air conditioning was turning on and off and appeared to do something or at least make a sound, but nothing was cooler. The next day my maintenance staff came back with a verdict. I've had a Freon leak somewhere and they couldn't touch it without a specialist handling it. Another twenty four hours later the news was even more dire. My system was so old that it couldn't simply be fixed- the whole thing needed to be replaced/ I knew they wouldn't get to it until the following week. That weekend was the most celebrated family holiday in the American calendar. Christmas here is just the one day, nobody does anything for Easter, but Thanksgiving, that starts Thursday and goes well into Saturday and Sunday. Luckily for me I read up on Freon and it wasn't poisonous. It could however suffocate me in the right concentration as it pushes out oxygen. 24 hours before the big holiday I was given a window unit. A small, yet incredibly loud machine with  a pipe going through the open window. I'd serve me until Monday, only waking me five times a night. I felt like I lived in one of those  older college dorms without a proper installation with boxes affixed to the outside wall. It wasn't a great week, but at least it kept me cool. And it really brought me back to my first apartment in Gainesville. Oddly enough it was managed by the same leasing company as where I am today, but that was their low end "affordable housing" segment. It only had AC in the living room and it seemed like a huge airport style unit. My new roommate who I've just met at the time had to sacrifice our privacy in order to keep cool. With all our fans on and doors open, which was a strange thing to do with a virtual stranger we were able to maintain some degree of cool. Of course we couldn't unpack as pest control was spraying all of our apartment every other day. The roaches seemed to have taken over and they were not about to be evicted. We had to gather our things in the middle of the room. The wheelchair ramp I was promised upon signing turned into be being able to get a ramp if I hired a contractor and pay for it. Needless to say that place was an experience and as close as I've ever gotten to living in a dump. It was an experience- and all that stress certainly didn't help the then-forming relationship with my roommate. The maintenance and management of where I live ten years later is of course much more helpful, but the place is far more expensive. But I have to say, what happened over the following week brought me back to those experiences from years before. Whoever was working on the replacement of the AC unit Monday and the unrelated but schedule inspection and replacement of my sprinkler system Tuesday seemed constantly surprised and baffled by what they found in the walls. There was a lot of drilling, plenty of saw action and a lot of frustration, that things either didn't fit, didn't go where they supposed to, that there wasn't enough room. The people dealing with the fire system- and again I think it was poor planning on my complex' part to schedule all  that work in my apartment they after day, with strangers coming in and out, which of course had it me stay home and watch it. As they made holes in my ceiling not only was there a hole there until the following Monday, but they didn't cover or move anything from my oven or my floor. For days I wasn't to keen about getting into my kitchen to get to the refrigerator. The drywall dust was everywhere, I didn't want to track it on my walls and why should I  have to clean it? After I complained - somebody came over and at least vacuumed the floor. I was less than impressed with how both issues were handled, that they were attempted one after the other and then left and disarray, that hardly anybody noticed that it was a struggle for me, that no one cared to properly apologize and make it up to me. Something I'd expect from the high end of the apartment portfolio.

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