Apr. 8th, 2013

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I still love Somerville. The more I explore this side of Somerville--Magoun Square, Winter Hill, east of the main library--the more I find to like about the place. For more than a week, I was even feeling thrilled with the heroic building inspectors of Somerville, as well as the parks and libraries and interesting little shops.

A few days after we moved into this gorgeous apartment, we discovered the windows didn't quite close. When we called the landlord, he acknowledged there was a problem with 2 windows, and said he was planning to have those fixed in a few weeks. As you may know, Somerville is in New England, where the end of March is still awfully cold. Thus we called the city, and they sent out The Heroic Building Inspector to have a look.

the story of the Heroic Building Inspector, the Mean Landlord, and the Cold Apartment )

It wasn't that simple. I'm afraid it's never that simple. The landlord was willing to replace 2 windows because they didn't open properly. Sovay and I considered those a nuisance--with 16 windows in the apartment, it's not that big of a deal to just leave a couple of them closed. But 14 windows that don't close tightly are a serious problem, and the landlord really doesn't want to fix those. I can understand why...it's an expensive project. But sometime expensive repairs are part of owning rental property.

the story of documenting repairs, building permits, and Non-Heroic Building Inspectors )

I am so very discouraged. The Notice of Violation was written up by the Heroic Building Inspector, and I think that still exists. Technically. But 2 out of 3 building inspectors think there's no violation, so I'm afraid it's going to evaporate any minute now. And thus we will have no excuse for withholding rent, demanding further repairs, or breaking the lease.
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I learned how to use a broiler when I had an electric stove. I had cooked for decades without any broiling at all, and still don't feel comfortable broiling meat. But I liked using it for toast or eggy things. I especially liked being able to leave the oven door open a little and peek at the top of the food to see how done it was.

This apartment has a gas stove with the broiler in a drawer under the oven. (I don't know if all gas stoves have that kind of broiler arrangement.) Because it's an unfamiliar stove, I expect to do some fumbling around getting used to how long things take. Just like I had to learn this oven's idea of 375 degrees F is a bit hotter than my Arlington oven's. I don't have a problem with that. I'm annoyed that there doesn't seem to be a way to adjust the vertical distance from the heat, but I can be ok with that too.

What bothers me is that it's so painful for me to move the drawer in and out. I can't tell if this is a problem with my body or with the stove. Either way, it makes it extremely difficult to adjust timing. I can't watch the food while it cooks, because the drawer has to slide in to put the food under the heat. I'd like to slide it out frequently to check for doneness, and that's a horrible strain, even when I'm sitting on the floor so I can pull straight out without twisting. (And so I can peek at the food with minimal sliding out.) It's painful enough that I've been choosing not to cook foods that would need broiling.

Is this a solved problem? Is there some kind of lube that makes broiler drawers slide easily, and doesn't catch fire? Or is it just common knowledge that moving a broiler drawer requires a nontrivial amount of arm strength and a few healthy joints, like lifting a full stockpot or putting a turkey in the oven?

ETA: The stove is new to the apartment, but not "new" in the usual sense. (There were a lot of renovations before we moved in.) The drawer rails don't seem to be bent or damaged, but it's hard to know for sure. I slid the broiler drawer out as far as possible without lifting, and the rails weren't obviously distorted.


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