Monday, August 17, 2009

walking on sunshine

So… I’m in Columbus. And “settled” in my apartment. I haven’t finished unpacking, which was half of my goal for Sunday, and I am disappointed I didn’t get to it. But, it’s not my fault.

You see… I landed on time in Columbus after hours of travel on 3 hours of sleep. In the airport, I found some chairs that no one was sitting on and laid down with my feet bent and tried to sleep. I think I got a half hour of rest. I was EXHAUSTED. I’m not used to this go, go, go of the past few weeks. I have to build up my stamina again.

Anyway, in Columbus I had to get a stupid trolley thing because I had 5 pieces of luggage (2 suitcases, 2 carry-ons and a box with my work computer). Got the rental car no problem – a cute teeny little gray Hyundai. Or is it grey? Gray. And hot. It’s very hot outside. Humid and gross. I drive to my “corporate” apartment (will explain later) and go up to the office to check in. They have been expecting me. Rebecca and Preston are hanging out to help me. This is a new experience for me: an apartment building having an OFFICE to run things. In boston, you’d be lucky if your landlord had an office.

So they make me RE-SIGN the documents I paid $8 to fax to them last week. That included a lease (fine – whatever) and about 5 addendums. One of the addendums annoyed me again. Background story: I agreed to rent this apartment a few weeks ago and they told me the cost was $1200 per month (with furniture) and that included everything (heat, water, etc). Then they send me the lease and a document that I have to sign (one of the addendums) saying that I agree to get renter’s insurance of up to $300,000. wtf. So I call State Farm in Ohio and get a policy. It costs me something like $11 / month. Stupid. So fine, I do it. Then I get to the rental office in Columbus and there are MORE papers to sign. There is a form to fill out if I want guests to have access to my place. There is a form releasing them of liability if packages from fed ex or ups are delivered to their office. Half the forms don’t make sense. For example, the Fed Ex form says, “you must have packages left at your door.” Then later it says “when packages are left in the office, we have no liability.” Well, you just said they had to be left at the door. Now you accept them? I sign a form agreeing to check the smoke detector once a week. It explains how to check that the batteries are working. I have to agree to the charges they are going to charge me when I move out - $35 for a carpet cleaning, $20 for a broken window, $40 for a broken window AND to repaint the frame, etc. I mean, the WHOLE page is full of charges. I was like, “seriously? I’m renting this place for a month. I have two whole suitcases. I don’t know anyone in town so I’m not going to be throwing rager parties. It’s not like I even have the MEANS to clean the place. I’m not going to go buy Lysol and toilet bowl cleaner and windex and pledge just for one month.” I thought this was a “corporate” apartment. Apparently not. It’s more of an apartment that’s furnished. Whatever. Cleaning fees. Stupid.

Then I start to ask about internet. They seem surprised that I want it. Who doesn’t want internet?? so they tell me the internet is free, but they hand me a sheet to sign on which I see other options such as upgrading. I ask about the upgrade and they say that it’s only $10. “Normal / free” internet is something like 250 / 125 download upload speed. I don’t know much about this sort of thing, but I KNOW that is not good. Especially since I am such a big podcast downloader. So, I ask for the $10/month upgrade which is like 1,000 download 750 upload or something like that. Or is it the other way around? While Rebecca is showing the building to some 20 year old college kid, Preston and I talk about the internet. I say, “I have a work laptop and a personal laptop. I can just use those both, right?” He says, “yeah, you just have to use the same login and password.” Password AND login? What is that for? I’m imagining a normal connection where I pick the network and type in a password. WELL, turns out that this is hotel-style and when I try to connect to the internet, a web page pops up and I have to log in with my distinct login and password, which I have to give to them to give to the company. Is that weird or what? So fine, what-ever. Rebecca comes back and sees I want internet. I didn’t check the box for a second user to log on. That’s just stupid. Why should I have to pay an extra $5 to have a 2nd computer online. Especially when I’ll only be using one at a time. So she says that there is a $15 fee to sign up for internet. I was like, “you said it was free.” She explained that everyone has to pay the $15 fee, that’s what the company charges them to set the connection up. It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m getting the upgraded internet. I said, “well, that’s misleading.” She tries to explain again that EVERYONE pays the $15 fee. I said, “I know, I realize that. I’m saying it’s misleading to tell people that Internet is free and not tell them they have to pay a $15 fee to sign up. Then it’s not free.” She says, “well, that’s how we do it here, I’m sorry if that wasn’t explained to you.” No, that was not explained to me. Nor was the slow connection rate. Nor was the fee for the insurance. This whole thing is starting to grate on me. So do you want to know the password I chose for my stupid upgraded internet? 5and10u. as in they are trying to nickel and dime me all the way to the bank. So they run my credit card AGAIN for that. THEN they give me this form to sign which is their internet policy. Wtf. An internet policy?? Yes, I have to agree to not download porn (ok, fine, but why is that their business??), not steal music or anything illegal like that, etc. I finally realized where I am. I’m in a fucking dorm. Yes, I am back in college. GREAT.

So they hand me this folder with copies of all the documents I have just signed – all 30 of them. It also includes a list of cleaning products to use and not use in the apartment. For example, windex is ok, but Lysol is not. And one last paper. It’s one of those carbon-copy things with all the rooms listed on it. I have to go through the apartment and write down all the things that are wrong with it, so I don’t get charged. More proof that I’m in a really expensive dorm room.

By this time, I’m just sighing all of my annoyances away. I go to my apartment and lit-er-a-lly, it is NINETY DEGREES INSIDE. And the AC is on. Its clearly not working. The rest of the place is… ok. The carpet is stained. There are chips in the linoleum in the kitchen. There are cobwebs in the corners. The hallway (outside) smells like my grandma’s old apartment building. But the furniture is cute. Really cute. It’s modern and totally my style. One high point. I wait about 10 minutes to see if the AC just didn’t get started until that morning or what. It’s just getting hotter and I’m dripping with sweat. I head back to the office. By this time I’m hot and annoyed and sticky and tired. I’m very cranky. I walk in and tell them about the AC. They agree to call the maintenance guy and tell me he’ll head to my apartment. I start bringing my luggage into my place when I realize I can drive a lot closer. It’s so muggy out, I can barely bring my suitcases up the two flights of stairs. It’s not possible to attempt to bring both at one time. I sit in the hot room and just wait to cool down. No go. I try unpacking but it’s too hot. After a half hour, just as I’m about to leave to run errands so I can sit in an air conditioned car, he arrives. He agrees its hot, but he’s already sweaty and dirty. I don’t want to know where he’s been. So he opens up the AC unit and takes out the filter. It is completely black with two inches of gunk on it. “that’s why!” he exclaims. I’m so relieved. He says he has to go get something and he’ll be right back. I don’t want to wait, but I also don’t want him to be in my apartment alone and I want to make sure it gets fixed so I know if I have to go to a hotel to sleep the night. He comes back. We start chatting. He asks where I’m from and I have this great new tip to “attempt” to explain myself, “well, I worked in boston, but I’m originally from north Dakota.” “oh, so you know about hot then,” he says. ?? I’m trying to work this out in my head. Boston, although blazing hot in the summer, most people don’t think of it like that. And no one thinks north Dakota is hot, even though it does get ungodly hot for a few weeks. “yeah…” I reply. And then I ask, “are you from columus?” “Toledo, actually.” Ahhh, I’m thinking. No idea. Toledo, ohio? That sounds right. Must be in ohio. And then he says, “about the same parallel from north Dakota.” I’m frozen as I think about this. I’m pretty sure Toledo is in ohio. Then I realize, ooooohhhhh. He’s thinking north CAROLINA. Which is hot. I didn’t say anything. He was a really nice guy and he can do work I could never do. He just doesn’t know much about geography.

Despite promises a few times that he was almost done, it took him an hour to fix the AC thingie. By the end, it was like 88 degrees in the apartment, so I was pleased. Oh, I forgot to mention the part about the tv. So when I got to my apartment, before the maintenance guy showed up, I turned on the tv for some background noise. It doesn’t work. I check the cables and the channels and no go. I called the office and said, “hii preston, it’s too hot to walk back so I thought I would just call.” He laughs. I ask about the cable and he asks Rebecca who I hear in the background say, “it’s not included.” Are. You. Kidding. Me. I tell them that its weird to include a tv in a furnished place and not the cable. But then I remember I’m not in a corporate apartment, just a furnished dorm room. So I ask who I can get it with and he tells me time warner. Lovely. Oh, and also, “how come the internet isn’t working?” I ask innocently. He explains that the internet company is only open during the work week, so he can’t submit the password until then. Wtf. I say, “well, that’s not good because I’m supposed to be working from home before work tomorrow.” He says he’ll get back to me. He calls after the maintenance guy leaves and tells me that the internet won’t work today. He tells me borders books down the street has free internet. GREAT. THANKS.

I can hardly get up I’ve been beaten down so much by the day. But I need toilet paper and shampoo and conditioner for the next day. I head out to find CVS and Trader Joe’s. going to Trader Joe’s put me in better spirits. I got some bubbly (cava) for me to celebrate my arrival in CMH, but by the time I got home and ate a bit, I was too tired. I couldn’t drink it. The apartment was normal, so that’s good. I went to bed around 9:30 hoping to get 8 hours of sleep before work. I didn’t unpack and hardly put away my new purchases. I was too tired. Of course, I don’t end up sleeping all night – I woke up at 3am and couldn’t fall back asleep. Stupid body and stupid sleep schedule.

Ok, this is incredibly long, but I wanted to detail all the frustrations with my new place so you understand why I am now looking for a sublet in Columbus for the last three months of my stay. If you’ve got any tips, let me know.


  1. dang, its still effed up the second time I heard the story. You should def leave there at the end of the month!! What was the name of the cava?


  2. yeah, i'm def looking for a new place to stay, but i've emailed 5 places and only heard from one. !! i'll get back to you on the cava....

  3. That is f'n terrible. I got pissed just reading that. I want to slap them bitches in the face!

  4. thanks for the support. wish you were here to slap them bithces in the face.

  5. cava: segura viudas. i have no idea how to say it... i just finished it tonight - a few days later and it was not bad.

  6. hey i got an idea... have jon and i come down and we'll straighten them out!

  7. you should have left. or demanded a better living environment.

  8. I am literally exhausted just reading that. Not that it was long but because of all the BS you went through. Seriously.