Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In Violation

Seeing as the day is nearly complete, I can't say that the entire day was a total loss.  Yet.  It's pretty darn close, though.

I am not feeling well, at all.  Right now I have a cyst on my back that warrants some pretty nasty antibiotics right now.  They are wreaking havoc on my already delicate digestive system, and making me feel as if I have the flu with the fatigue being almost as bad as the puking.  I must eat to take the Evil Augmentin (you know, to prevent stomach upset); food is the last thing on my mind.  I do it; I eat.  I puke.  I go to bed, run to puke. Go back to bed.  Repeat.

We recently had to contact the county due to issues that have been long ignored in our apartment.  Our maintenance department is incompetent.  For over five years, we have had streams of water pour from our bathroom ceiling when someone showers above us, and when they don't shower.  We've been told that it is due to children (or adults) not using a shower curtain liner.   Fine.  The water comes down in a stream, as if it was being poured from a pitcher.  We've been told there is no leak.  I suggest calling in a plumber.  All I get are lame excuses.

Then the mold started growing.  And growing.  I could not keep up with it.  I was told they would send their contracted painter over with some Kilz and then he'd paint.  Fine.  That was 5 weeks ago.  I now know that that is not the correct thing to do where mold is concerned.  Five weeks later (and numerous leaks in between), the mold is back.  That tells me that the mold is not on the surface, but within the walls and ceiling tiles.

Two Saturdays ago, it leaked again.  I called the emergency number and was told someone would call and  would be out immediately.  We waited.  And waited.  Not only did nobody call, nobody showed up.  Time to call the county.

Monday, the county arrived.  A very sweet, kind woman that I knew I'd seen before.  She comes yearly with the fire department then they do the smoke detector inspections.  I showed her the video that we took those two Saturdays ago (please pardon my husband's language... he's a bit annoyed).

By the time we discovered the leak, it had been leaking for some time as our floor had a about an inch of water on it.  The leak had slowed down but Rob managed to capture the last part. We then showed her to the bathroom and immediately she saw the mold.  She confirmed my suspicions that the mold is now within the walls.  She took photos of the new mold spots. I mentioned my husband's severe allergy to mold and she added that yes, this is now a health issue.  She said our maintenance department would now have thirty days to call in a plumber at her suggestion.  If nothing was done, they'd get a warning and fourteen days... then they'd get a hefty fine.

She called my husband later that afternoon to tell him that she would be back on Wednesday with the maintenance director and the assistant to the maintenance VP to show them what she saw and to discuss the situation including the penalties for not repairing the problem. She would insist on a plumber.  That was supposed to happen today.  Rob called me to tell me that it would be rescheduled because Bonnie (from the county) was ill.  Rob was planning on being here for the meeting.  I was a bit relieved because I too felt awful.  I went to bed, but something told me that they might come anyway without Bonnie.  I called Rob to voice my intuition.  He beat me to it by sending me an email.  On the same wave, we are.

I am in bed.  I had been sick about forty minutes earlier and I was finally dozing.  The TV was on.  My boys were napping (Ah, Summer).  My bedroom door was open.  I was dressed for sleep.

In our community, instead of doorbells, each resident has a button which is located at the entrance to each building.  I am apartment B.  Push B and I'll hear a loud buzz.  It will wake the dead.  Living here seventeen years, I am very familiar with every sound this place makes.  I awaken at the sound of a butterfly outside.

Before I know what is truly happening, I hear a very loud male voice jarring me awake outside my bedroom.

"MAINTENANCE!"  By the time I get up and try to cover my body, a man, the assistant to the maintenance VP is standing in my hallway, just outside my bathroom.  I am shocked.  I heard no knocking.  I say,

"Bonnie from the county is ill.  I'm sick too.  We need to do this another day..."  Before I could go on,

"Well, we just want to take care of this before the county gets here."  He walks right past me and starts taking photos.  "It's okay, we'll be right quick."  I fight horrid nausea.  I am still half asleep.  My eldest son comes out.

"I want you to leave.  I'm sick!  I need for you to do this later."

"Really, it's all right.  Now, where exactly is the area where it leaked... over there?"  I am about to lose my lunch.  I point and shake my head.

The maintenance director moves in front of me.  No 'excuse me.'  That is another blog for another day.  This man is a very condescending ass-wipe.  Smart as a bag of marbles.  I have complained about him before Home Sweet Home (Most of the Time).  I realized that they were moving so quickly and basically ran out of my apartment.  Why would they tell me they were trying to avoid the county!?

Fighting nausea, I lock my deadbolt as they leave.  My son is angry.  "Isn't that breaking and entering?"  I shake.  I feel violated.  I call my husband.  He immediately called the county.  He was told that this is, indeed, a severe violation of our rental agreement and a violation of their work agreement. No maintenance worker may enter an apartment unless the tenant is given 24 hour written notice, unless it is a life-threatening emergency.  We learned that it was this same kind county worker that called the maintenance director this very morning to tell him not to come because the case worker was ill.  He ignored that instruction, and entered my home without notice and without knocking.  Okay, I may not have heard the knocking, but if he simply would have buzzed my door like he was supposed to have done in the first place, this could have been avoided because I would have not let them come in.

We were told to write an email (an official complaint) to the county, to Bonnie, and to Henderson-Webb.  We were told that not only will Henderson-Webb get fined, but people will most likely be fired.

I cannot share the letter we sent.  I have to say, when my husband is angry, he becomes a fabulous writer.

I am not embarrassed to say that I had a panic attack after all was said and done.  I probably should have called the police, but we were told we did everything right. I do have to live here, after all.

I want to move.  BADLY.  It's just not that easy.

I should have puked on them.


  1. (Yeah! You should have puked on him! Tee-hee!)

    I am SOOOOOO PROUD OF YOU right now for handling this well! Yay for you, yay for Rob, yay for Aaron being there with you, yay for the county! GOOD WORK YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And sending you get well wishes with lots and lots of gentle hugs. :)

  2. Thanks, Bestie. Oh, and the bird was out while they were here. It landed on the Asst. to the VP. Maybe she scared him. I do have a sign. "Beware of Parakeet" :P

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