Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I think I'd rather just live in my car.

The seats fold down into a comfortable recline, the cup holders are conveniently located, what more could a tenant ask for?

Hmmm...let me about a livable apartment in the city of Chicago?

Apparently, when you're looking for an apartment, that criteria is simply out of the question.

Let's go back to 2005 when I moved into my lovely Lakeview apartment. My roommate and I probably searched for two months straight before settling on the place we live now. The thing is, we had high hopes, high expectations, and someone should have told us that that is just not practical when looking for an apartment.

Basically, what we came away with was a 700 sq/ft hot box money pit. Seriously, we turned our air conditioning on in April and it just cooled down our apartment yesterday.

For starters, our leasing agency is a joke. DO NOT RENT FROM ENTERPRISE LEASING. I'm just going to go ahead and put that out there. It took them three months and threatening to hold our rent in escrow until they replaced our dishwasher. Oh and it wasn't just broken. There was filthy, disease-infested water standing in the bottom of it just breeding West Nile. Finally they came and replaced our dishwasher with an even older one, and left the broken dishwasher on our back porch for three more months.

And then there is the shower. It's hard for me to even talk about the shower.

Every morning I wake up and take what can only be described as the worst shower in the world. Every morning I do this because I have no other choice.

Here's how it goes down.

I have to set my alarm for twenty minutes earlier than I want to get up, just so I can run my ass in my skivvies to the bathroom to turn on the shower, full blast, as hot as it can go. Even though I do this, it still comes out freezing cold for the first fifteen minutes.

After that I run my ass back to my bedroom and jump under the covers until my alarm clock's snooze alarm rings again. Then I roll around in my bed for about two minutes more, cursing and moaning, running the gamut of emotions from strong anger to optimism. Finally I get out of bed and run back to the bathroom and get in the shower.

Most often the shower is still on the chilly side when I get in, which you really pleasant. I probably should preface this with a description of my actual shower head. It's not one of those you know, normal shower heads with the plastic part with the holes in it where the actual water comes out.

Its just a pipe sticking out of the wall. Seriously.

It has a metal "filter" over the pipe's opening that looks like someone just stabbed it with a knife a few times to make holes for the water to come out. This causes an erratic spray of water to actually come out of the "shower head". Because of that, the stream of water is stronger on one side of the shower than the other and it's basically like a jet stream. So the right side of the shower is like a light misting, while the left side of the shower burns laser beam holes through the left side of my body.

The only problem with this is that if I actually want to rinse the shampoo out of my hair, I have to stand under the jet stream which is not actually that harsh, but in my shower the temperature is...well...tempermental.

As I mentioned before, when you first turn on the shower you have to turn it all the way to the left, as hot as it can go because it takes fifteen minutes to heat up anyway. Once you get in, it's still not very hot, but then all of a sudden...maybe three minutes into my shower, it will get unbearably hot. At that point I have to stand under the jet stream to turn the nozzle maybe a millimeter to the right which will then make it extremely cold for a minute before it actually gets to the right temperature.

I am almost positive the people who live upstairs think we run some sort of S&M thing through our apartment from the screams coming from below in the morning. I literally horror movie scream every morning. If my roommate is asleep I scream silently. It's a horrible experience.

Oh, and I forgot to I mention that our tub is incessantly clogged, even after seven trips from the landlord's maintenance lackeys. So when I initially get into the shower, there is about a foot of standing water in the tub--and it's freezing since it takes so long to heat up. I don't even want to know what kind of bacteria thrive in that disgusting water. I've thought about buying a pair of rain boots or weighters just to take a shower.

And a bath? Well, that's not something we talk about.

So every morning I stand, hopping from one side of the shower to another in a foot of my own shower water, soap in my eyes and screaming. Trying to avoid touching the mold growing on the window sill--oftentimes entertaining the low cost option alternative of growing my own penicillin in my shower to avoid prescription drug costs.

Maybe this is why I'm not a morning person.

But as usual, I digress.

Apartment hunting. We've been at it for about three weeks now, only to realize we found "the one" at our first appointment. Of course, if there's an available apartment in this building, its not going to last. And it didn't. And because of my unreasonable optimism, I thought, "Well, we can't just settle for the first apartment we see, right?"

Yeah, actually you can. And you should.

Needless to say, when I realized my mistake, the apartment was gone. So we went back to the drawing board. We saw big places, small places, places in the South Loop, places in West Town, shitty places, amazing places and everything in between.

And finally, FINALLY we found something we both loved. I remember turning to Laura while the guy was showing us the place and not so casually whisper-shouting, "I WANT THIS APARTMENT."

Here's the problem. There were about 12 other people who were not so casually whisper-shouting the same thing to their respective roommates. As we waited outside in the rain for applications, I turned to Laura and said, "Am I gonna have to throw down today?" I mean seriously.

What ensued was an epic Battle Royale of scheming, conniving, hair pulling, and cattiness. This is Chicago people. There is like one acceptable apartment every 20 blocks.

Ok, so maybe it wasn't that dramatic, but I did have to take down a gay couple, but they were easy targets. Actually, to my satisfaction, all we had to do was flirt a little with the rental agent, who I'm not so unassumingly having a steamy, over the phone, love affair with. My roommate met him in the Loop yesterday to drop off our application fee checks and jokingly told me he complimented her on her hair. *Cut to me smothering her in her sleep*

No, but seriously, while the rental agent was showing us the apartment, Laura stopped me mid-sentence as the words, "Who do I need to..." came out of my mouth.

Apparently, she thought I was going to say, "Who do I need to blow to get this apartment?"

I mean, that's my style and all, but come on! I have tact! Well, some. Ok, very little.

To make a long story short, pending our current douche-bag leasing company doesn't completely fuck us, we'll get the apartment.

And here's the best part...Don and Jebus, you'll appreciate the value of this: It's right above Sedgwick's the local Lincoln Park Iowa bar.

It's a match made in heaven.


Anonymous said...

You totally copied the message you sent me on facebook from this post. I feel cheapened.

Dre said...

I think I've lived in your current apartment in a past live... sounds sooo

GOod luck w/ the new pad!

Anonymous said...

OK, turns out it was the other way around. So I'm the opposite of cheapened. I'll let you figure out what that is.

Peter DeWolf said...

As someone with an unhealthy -- though sparklingly clean -- fixation on showers, this story just makes me sad.

I'm willing to have a knife fight if someone so much as washes their hands in a ten mile radius while I am in the shower.

Hellafied said...

Mortar: Did I redeem myself?

Dre: Thanks for the well wishes. I'm sure there will be more horror stories before we move out in a month.

Peter: "."

Todd said...

It freaks me the fuck out when people come in and out of the bathroom while I'm in the shower without announcing their comings and goings. This does not apply when I am in the process of showering with said other person(s). Nor does it apply to any third parties who may be in the process of showering with me. It only applies to non-shower participants.

country roads said...

I hope you get it! That shower is unnervingly nasty.

Peter DeWolf said...

Re: "."

The sauce!

Flop said...

Fifteen minutes every day? I'm convinced that indifferent slumlords are the cause of approximately 76 percent of all wasted water. We had a slow but steady leak in our shower for eight months until the nail salon below our place started having water drip through the ceiling. I never measured precisely how much water was lost, but I could put a gallon bucket below the leak and it'd be full in less than 15 minutes. Four gallons an hour x 24 hours a day x 200-plus days = criminal. Even here, where fresh water is plentiful.

Also, I hope you get the place. It looks awesome.

sam said...

Did the shower look like that when you moved in? Were they supposed to fix it? You should have no problem breaking the lease and don't even think about letting them keep your deposit. That shower wouldn't meet city code in Kabul, Afghanistan!

Hellafied said...

Flop: Yeah. I am going to put my landlord under citizens arrest for crimes against humanity.

Todd: You could solve all of those unnecessary walk-ins by simply locking the bathroom door. There. I'm a genius.

Country: Your encouragement is appreciated!

Sam: If you can believe it, the shower was worse when we moved in. That photo was of the shower when it was being REHABBED. Now imagine it before that. GOOD GOD.

Irish and Jew said...

Omg I've actually been to this bar. My midwest stalker took me there once (he lives in LP). With my luck you'll end up meeting him. Lol but the irony is he's frat bros/BFFs with yr Floridian bartender. If that made sense. Congrats!


Hellafied said...

Irish: Shut up! That's crazy. What a small world. :)

JHC said...

That shower is beyond words. It's worse than the showers in college. It's so gross it made me want to take a shower, then I was revolted by myself. Now I'm lost.
Thanks a lot.