Aug. 29th, 2013 09:56 pm
adrian_turtle: (Default)
Once upon a time, the University of Michigan asked 3 lifestyle* questions to match roommates.
Do you smoke?
Do you like to sleep with the window open or closed?**
Do you like raw or cooked carrots?***

The last question was either a subtle psychological attempt to predict SOMETHING, or it was a ploy to make new roommates feel they had something in common, rolling their eyes together at the absurdities of the university housing office.

I don't know how well it worked, overall. (My mother roomed with her twin sister, and they found one another exactly as annoying as they expected.) I just thought of it a lot, when I was wondering what to ask potential housemates. And what to ask the people they gave as references. There were some nerve-wracking false starts.

I finally found somebody just before going out of town last week. He's an academic, living away from his family for a year or so while he does a post-doc. I don't know him very well--I can't know him very well, on such short acquaintance, but I felt comfortable with the guy. He's taking over the second half of the lease from Sovay, and I really hope it goes well.

*It's amazing how many aspects of lifestyle one person might consider significant and another consider trivial. What time do you like to shower? Do you whistle? (CAN you whistle?)

**This was a great way for the housing office to prevent roommate conflict for 6 weeks. Then the roommate from a warm climate realizes those last few words of "with the window open, unless it's freezing outside," might not go without saying.

***I used to think the only options for carrots were "raw" and "cooked," but then I discovered pickled carrots. I recommend these:
adrian_turtle: (Default)
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'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.

old paper

Feb. 9th, 2013 11:17 am
adrian_turtle: (Default)
I need to do a lot of things before I move out of this apartment. The big ones, obviously, are finding a suitable* place to move TO, packing everying** into boxes***, and moving it. It won't be feasible to go look at potential apartments, nor to go get empty boxes, until the weather clears. So I am having a quiet day at home, beginning to sort through the everything.

I have 4 boxes of documents I've saved over the years, for a variety of reasons. Is there any reason to keep car insurance or purchase records when I don't own the car anymore? How long do I need to I save tax returns? Health insurance records? (I want to keep the dental insurance records because they're kind of funny.) Bank statements? Documents about my student loan, which was completely paid in 2001? I might be able to shred more than half this stuff, which would clear up a couple of boxes to start packing.

*I'd like to thank those of you who pointed me toward Sovay, who helped me redefine "suitable." We plan to share, and having an ally in the search is making the whole process less terrifying.

**Everything I expect to fit into half a large 2-bedroom apartment. That's quite a bit more than would fit into a studio, but I still need to do some culling.

***The only empty boxes currently in the apartment are shoeboxes.
adrian_turtle: (Default)
Spring has finally come to Massachusetts. It's the season of opening windows on warm days and closing them on cold night and when it rains. My apartment has horizontal sliding windows, which has been awfully inconvenient over the years (because window air conditioners are designed for ordinary up-and-down windows), but never so inconvenient as to make me move away from the bus stop, the bike path, and the supermarket.

The type of shoulder pain I've been dealing with for the last few months makes lateral motion exceptionally hard. More resistance makes the pain flare last longer. (Pushing a shirt on a hanger along the closet rod causes a sharp increase in pain. Pushing a heavy coat, or many shirts (all at once or one at a time) makes the pain increase for hours, maybe more than a day.) The windows don't slide easily. A friend came over this morning to open them for me, and we're not supposed to have another frost until Friday night, nor serious rain all week. I don't think this is a good long-term solution.

Do any of you know of a tool that would help me open and close the windows? I can push or pull (perpendicular to the window frame) reasonably well, but have trouble exerting the kind of lateral force that's needed. A wrench is too small and an automobile jack is too big, and either is hard to clamp to the window frame.


Jun. 7th, 2010 01:22 pm
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All right. That's enough. That's MORE than enough. For a little while, I was relieved to know I had not been hallucinating that my apartment was infested with bugs, but that only lasts so long. There remains the fact that my apartment is infested with bugs, and it's freaking me out. They don't fly, but the ones that drop from the ceiling are disturbing.

Does anybody know if beetles* eat colloidal oatmeal? I don't think there's any exposed food or garbage drawing them--all my stored food and garbage is pretty well contained. Besides, I'm not seeing them in the kitchen nearly so much as in the bedroom and bathroom. I tend to use Aveeno-type goop on my feet in sandal weather (and even more of it elsewhere, now that they make a version with sunscreen that doesn't feel icky) but it's not worth it if's attracting creepy-crawlies.

*Mostly little dark brown bugs, about half a centimeter long, shaped vaguely like miniature ladybugs. They have wings that shimmer a little, but I've never seen one flying. They don't move fast at all. There are also some bigger bugs, brown and yellow striped, 1-1.5cm long. I don't know if there are a lot fewer of this kind than the little beetles, overall, or if they're just very under-represented among those I can stomp, because they're faster.


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