My Apartment from Hell

Back in November when we found this apartment, I was already desperate to get out of my in-law’s house. We had been there for four years, and at that point I was getting desperate.

We had already outstayed our welcome by a few years while my husband was going back to school and I was dealing with my brain surgery and recovery. When hubby finally got his current job, it was a gift from the gods. Except that it was a two hour commute and we had to get up at 4:00am for him to get to work on time because of Miami morning traffic, and then he wouldn’t be back home until very late and only had enough time to eat and then go to bed.

After two weeks of this I was already looking for apartments (ANY APARTMENT) to make the torture stop. It was difficult because Sergio was working long hours and we basically had to make the decision to weed out the online offers and take an apartment on the spot that was willing to let us see it on a weekend. The only landlord willing to see us, was for an apartment 6 minutes away from my husband’s job. Which for our purposes was perfectly fine.

He was really pleasant. The place was big, tile floor, decent sized kitchen. Walk in closet with built in shelves and a large bedroom. The building was old, but you could tell it had originally been built with quality in mind, it was just old and had damage from time and negligent tenants.

I had previously spent most of my twenties homeless, and I am good at improvising. If the place was a shit hole that needed speckle and some caulk, I know how to use both. I make soap. I can keep things clean. And we had a year to find a new place in a better area, so we could deal with whatever came up. No problem.

At some point previous tenants had closed off the back patio and turned it into a room. So we have sliding glass doors going into a narrow room with a small window and a door that leads into the backyard. We do not ever use this room because it was not made properly, so it’s completely humid, and it’s full of insects.

Other than that, the worst problems we had/have since moving in are that the fridge is wonky, so our food goes bad quickly. the oven that came with the apartment malfunctioned and wouldn’t turn off and almost caused a fire (we replaced it). There’s a perfectly fine working dishwasher in the kitchen, but no water connection for it to actually be able to use it. We were gifted a mini washer dryer set by my in laws, but would have had to drill a hole through the wall to use the outside water connection to do laundry with, so instead I now have to connect the hose to the bathroom sink every time I do a loaf (and since the machine is so small I can only wash about three shirts and a pour of pants at a time). It also takes about 3 hours for my dryer to dry one load of laundry.

But the very worst thing about living here? The bugs. When we moved in there was a bee colony inside the outer wall of our backyard. We had a friend who is a beekeeper come and remove it, but he had to remove half the wall with it. After that our upstairs neighbors found another bee colony in their attic, had to evacuate, and the bees actually found their way into MY apartment through cracks in the front door. The apartment above us is owned by a different landlord and he wasn’t paying attention to his tenants. It took us calling our landlord and threatening to sue the other landlord for him to actually clear out the bees. And we have two cats so I was terrified.

Our upstairs neighbor says that their apartment is an awful mess and their landlord doesn’t do anything to fix it. Our roof has extensive water damage, and look like it’s about to come down any second, so I believe her. It’s a good thing that my husband and I know how to deal with stuff like this and don’t usually need outside help. But I feel bad for them, their landlord is a jerk.

After this incident there was the massive flooding from a crack in the building’s foundation. Three weeks of thunderstorms and massive outdoor flooding, and our living room just kept flooding incessantly. They couldn’t fix the leak while there was a literal lake of water around our house. And when it finally dried up, the guy who was supposed to come and pour cement never showed up, and then it rained again. This was way more frustrating than the bee invasion, and it caused me to put my business on hold and actually destroyed some of our belongings. My home is still a mess, even though we’ve cleaned a lot.

Now overall, the benefits have outweighed the bad for me. Bad neighborhood, but next to a great area with access to stores we need, our bank, an Aldi, and our pharmacies. Most of our neighbors are really great, they’re helpful, and we reciprocate. There is a sense of community here, and we know we all struggle, and it’s ok to struggle together. Before quarantine my husband would go outside and help out teenage neighbor with his basketball hoop or his bike. I take mail and packages for a lady who lives next door, and have given her soaps and lotions in an effort to help her feel better since the pandemic started. We’ve helped with groceries for our neighbors as well. They’ve helped us too. It’s honestly one of the kindest places I’ve ever lived.

When was the last time a neighbor left you a bag of veggies from their garden because they wanted to make sure you got your vitamins? I love it here.

So. This morning I got up like I always do and started my routine. Check the cat’s water and food bowls, clean their litter, and sweep. And then I noticed weird little piles of what looks like black sand around the area of where the leak was originally coming from. Then I noticed that I was sweeping up ants and ant like bugs with wings crawling around. So now I think I have carpenter ants. And this building is older than I’ve been alive. I have no idea how long they’ve been in my walls…

So here we continue with the apartment from hell. Quarantine starts back up again tomorrow. My landlord is stuck in panama in his own quarantine hell.

But to be honest I’d rather live here than go back to my in laws!

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