Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Home Sweet Home? Most of the Time.

I have written out the events of yesterday so many times, that I quite honestly don't feel like doing it again.  Therefore, I will share with you a lovely letter, written by yours truly, that I sent to Henderson-Webb Corporate, today.  I will copy the text and add the same photos that I included in the letter.  Happy reading.

PS... to enlarge photos, simply click on them.

July 26, 2011
Henderson Webb

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to formerly complain about the lack of cooperation I received with the maintenance department yesterday.
During yesterday's rainstorm, flash flooding (That was predicted by the National Weather Service) occurred outside my patio.  There is a drain that is constantly covered with debris, and every time it rains, it floods.  This time, the flooding almost came into my home.  
the drain is located on the ground (under water, now) behind that tree in the corner.

(Although it does not look like it, this water is just less than three feet deep.)       The water near my patio is just under a foot deep:
My bedroom is at the end of the building, just under that beige eave.

I called to request that someone come out and unclog the drain before the water got inside.  I told them that this was an emergency situation, and that I needed help fast.  I was told that someone would be out immediately.

Nearly 30 minutes went by, and nobody showed up.  I decided to go to the maintenance office myself and tell them what is happening.  I tell Troy.  He just sits in his chair, and because he is speaking on  his cell phone, says nothing to me.  He ignores me.  I stay inside the office.  He finally says, "Okay, okay… I'll be there when I get off of the phone."  I leave.

Another 20 minutes go by before he arrives.  He sees the 'lake' and tells me he'll need longer boots.  He comes back with a plastic rake, and walks around the perimeter of the water.  I direct him to where the drain is located.  He walks to the water's edge, and proceeds to swish his broom in the water.  He does this for five minutes.  Then he leaves -- and does not return.  Nothing was done.

Checking the weather channel, I see more rain is expected.  If any more rain had fallen, water would have poured into my apartment.  So, I call the customer service number again.  By now, the water is rising quickly.  My 19 year old son suggests that he go out and try to clear it, himself.  I forbid him.  I tell customer service that the maintenance person left without fixing the problem, and that the water is rising.  He told me someone would be out as soon as possible.  I told him, "Please, because I would much rather have them take care of it than my teenaged son, who is now up to his thighs in water trying to clear it himself."   NOBODY SHOWED UP.

My son and I ended up clearing it.  It took us over 90 minutes to do so.

On top of the water is debris that I manually removed myself... Otherwise it would have re-clogged the drain.
The only thing we could find that would even reach the clog was an old golf club.  Soon it was too deep for that!
All of that dark debris floating on top was removed, manually, by me.   It would have clogged the drain, again.  

After the drain was finally cleared by my son, he added stones around the perimeter of it - some of which weighed at least 50 lbs.  We needed to make sure that no more debris could wash over and clog the drain again.  This took him another 40 minutes.
The muck is cleared away (thank you, Aaron) and these are the stones and boulders that he carried and placed around the drain, to keep the debris from re-clogging it.
We did not have to do this, but we simply were given NO choice.   We should not have had to do this at all.  It was not only very dangerous to walk about in 3 feet of muddy water, but God forbid if we had gotten more rain yesterday, my apartment would be under water.  Because maintenance (TROY) did not do his job, or return to do so, he put myself and my family in harm's way.   

I feel as if this person simply does not care.  He does not care about the property.  He does not care about the residents.   He has a problem listening when I try to explain my reasons for calling in a service request.  He is extremely condescending.  His laxed manner in which he does his job puts your property and my family in imminent danger.  At the very least, your property would have been damaged.  My personal property would have been damaged, and ultimately, one of my family members could have been severely injured due to the potential of electric shock had the water entered my home.   The manner in which he handled this particular situation -- which does not differ from any past experience I've had with him -- is absolutely unacceptable.  The majority my experiences with Troy, as of recently, have been negative.  However this situation was extreme enough that I thought it necessary to be brought to your immediate attention. 

This drain must be repaired in such a way that this never happens again.  While it has always happened when it rains, this time was the worst.  I have more photos to back my complaint.  If this is not resolved, it will happen again.  And next time, my son and I are not clearing it.
Thank you for your time.

A few things:
  1. This letter was faxed this morning to cooperate headquarters.  I was told that I am not the only person to complain about this man.
  2. Nobody has come out today to even check to see if there is still any water remaining.
     3.  Although it was a very stressful event, I bonded with my son.  We actually shared a few laughs, and though it was hard work (yes, I did lift stones.  Yes, I did scoop muck away), we had a good time, together.  Aaron tried his best to make sure I did nothing strenuous... but being who I am, I did what I had to do. When all was said and done, we looked ridiculous;  covered with debris and orange mud.  So much in fact, that I had to hose us off before we hit the showers.

As tiny as our home is, and as much as we need more space, and our own washer and dryer; it's just that: Our Home.  To quote Kevin McCallister:  This is my home;  I have to defend it. 

So, there you have it.  My day yesterday.  I guess I asked for it -- in a way.  I do like rain.  I did say I wanted more.  Boy, did I get it.  Gonna be a bit more cautious on things I ask for in the future.  Damnit, I wish we had our old Maintenance Director back.  This would have never happened if she were still around.  Then, I can have all the blessed rain I want.

Thanks for reading.



  1. I cannot believe this. Unbelievable that jaintenance could be so blase about such an obviously dire emergency!

  2. Bad maintenance -- good for you, being a squeaky wheel and raging against the machine! Power to the people!

  3. Thanks MommaC. Thanks, Cuzzie. Sometimes, it feels great to rage... especially when I'm right. Love you both.


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