Friday, August 08, 2014
Warning: very long post--but so important to me.
Many of you wondered why a potentially outspoken and fairly opinionated person like myself didn't say anything (even Minnesota-politely) to the branch breakers and their caretaker. Well, kids hurting trees is just the tip of the iceberg around here. I skimmed through my years of photos to show you what little I have actually happened to take pictures of over the years...probably less than maybe 5% tops of what I see everyday, to be honest.
Like I never would have bothered to show you what I woke up to a few days ago.
Garbage scattered on the lawn...more than usual in one place.
Usually it's more like it was yesterday--two smashed plastic bottles in the yard and something that blew around up on the sidewalk by the red car.
Normally, I never take pictures of the trash, but I knew I would be writing this post soon. I feel sorry for the poor maintenance man who drives around in his golf cart every day picking up trash outside.
Inside is another matter.
It doesn't even look like the same place I moved into back in February 2005.
We have always had a cleaning person about once a week...if we can keep them. I have never, ever blamed one for leaving, I tell you. We were even on the local news (last year?) for it being so filthy here. I'm sure some resident called the local TV station. They got pictures of egg shells and dog poop and vomit in the hallways. But, I ask you--who's fault is that!?!
I've lived in apartments a lot of my adult life and most of them only had cleaning service once a week--or less. Some only cleaned the laundry room and front entrance once a month or when finally needed--and they were cleaner than this place! You can't blame management for the filthy, destructive element who gravitate to these two buildings. Not all of them, of course--but even though there is a high turnout here we always manage to collect more of them. The more run down it gets the more issues we seem to have.
This is a tax-credit building complex--not owned by federal housing. You have to be poor enough to live here, though. We get a lot of immigrants through a program that helps them get on their feet...Middle Eastern, African, and South American so far. Some are likely fleeing terrible circumstances I cannot even imagine. They come in waves, it seems. Extended families sometimes who live in several apartments and visit and babysit back and forth.
We get a lot of local families who have lost their homes and are down on their luck. You can tell. They are the ones who are in the three bedroom apartments and have two garages filled to the brim with possessions so that they cannot park in them.
We have a few seniors, several disabled folks in wheelchairs, and the latest influx of the past couple years has been the handicapped. At least that's what we called them way back when I worked with them. Probably not proper anymore. Intellectually impaired? Anyways, they have workers with them. Many of them have workers here in shifts 24/7. There is an "office" across the hall from me that also is home to a couple residents who need full time watching. They must check on other clients during the night because at first the racing up and down the stairs at 2am used to freak me out. I rarely hear the clomping anymore.
I used to work with the handicapped, so I am familiar with what these workers deal with. One lady who lives downstairs is a protest screamer. Every time they take her out to the vehicle (many of them go to day care or work centers) or bring her home she screams all the way out and all the way back. (Reminds me of Miss Karma in her stroller--LOL!) I don't think this woman speaks and she walks in teeny tiny steps...so it is a looong trip either way. I feel badly for the workers whose patience is tried every day of the week--but I also do like to hear my TV when my windows are open--LOL!
At least none of those people have parties or are the ones being destructive. The workers just stand outside in the hallway during shift changes and talk loudly--no matter what time of day or night--because to them this is their workplace. They forget other people actually live here, you know? Used to freak Karma out, but now she just takes note briefly and then ignores them when she realizes no one is actually coming in to our place. They are right outside my door, after all.
Oh, and I got used to the door ding-dinging, too, every time they open it. Reminds me of when I worked in small shops. We had them on the door so we'd hear if a customer came in if we were in the back room. They have them on the door across from me and somewhere else in the building on the other end of this floor, too. Obviously so they hear if someone leaves when they aren't supposed to. Took Karma forever to get used to that sound going off day and night.
Anyways, when I first moved here it looked really nice downstairs. Big stuffed chairs, a huge square wood coffee table with a glass top, glass topped sofa tables here and there, lots of artificial plants and pictures on the walls. Every floor had a table, plant, and picture you'd see when the elevator door opened. Sure the stuffed chairs were not expensive and the carpeting is utilitarian, but the wood tables and pictures were of nice quality and it was inviting and I had a comfortable place to sit when I was waiting for a ride--which was important to my body. ;)
By 2006 the littering bothered me enough to take a shot of the food in the elevator. I just couldn't understand why I saw this kind of thing all the time. Food, candy, kleenex, and a wide assortment of wrappers were always littered about inside and out.
One night I was heading down with some mail to leave for the morning pickup and I felt like I was in Hansel and Gretel. Starting next door to me...
...I followed the food...
...all the way to the table by the elevator. (Note the artificial plant was already stolen or destroyed and removed.)
So, in 2007...I had this big artificial plant from my old apartment that I had no place for in my new smaller place...so I donated it to the building. (Note the big picture that hung above the table was already stolen or destroyed and removed.) Yes, my plant was stolen as I expected, but it lasted a few months.
Not only has there been constant trash and destruction of property here--we have always had building issues, too. 2008--when it rained I had water leaking down right through the wood frame of my bedroom window.
Oh, and for five years I had some flap on the side of the building banging so loud in the wind that I couldn't sleep if the wind was gusting the right direction. I told them about it every couple of years, but they said there was nothing they could do about it. One time they told me it was because they didn't have ladders that went that high--LOL! When we got our new maintenance man four years ago he finally went up and fixed it. Something wasn't bolted down in the first place when they built the place--duh!
Even when it looked like people who cared moved in...well, for example, I thought this was a good sign that these people had put out pumpkins for Halloween...
...but then they left them there so long they rotted and left big sloppy wet spots on the carpeting.
Oh, and fire alarms. (When it's cold people gather down in the lobby instead of outside.) I've been here nine years and we've had the fire alarm go off at least a dozen times. Note behind the head of the woman in the red pants on the right there--we had a bulletin board on the wall next to the elevator. Our only actual, legitimate fire--somebody put a match to it. We haven't had a bulletin board since.
Carrying a 20 lb cat down three flights of stairs, out to the garage, and back again...that's why I bought Karma a cat stroller. I can wheel her out to the garage (much preferred to the crowded lobby or standing around in the parking lot) where I can sit in this old red chair. Karma quits crying if she's not moving and she can see me--so we wait for the trucks to leave. But I am sooo sick of kids pulling the fire alarm. I told you last time I took Karma in her stroller and we just sat at the top of the stairwell. I am not going down and out again unless I smell smoke.
But 2009--I thought this looked bad enough to take pictures. (Funny now.) Because all the artificial plants were stolen off the tables and they had broken the glass twice in the huge wooden coffee table so it was removed for good.
We had one fairly good fake tree left...
...but see what they had done to this exact same one by the window?
You'd come down in the morning and find the trees on their sides and the furniture moved around. (They broke the wood inside the chair backs...one by one. They stole enough tables and the pictures finally that they removed all the rest of them.)
For fun they break the railings in the stairwells.
This has happened many times because they are made in sections and that seems to be just too inviting for angry hands, I guess.
2010--now I had water leaking from my bathroom door frame.
It was dripping down the wall from my light switch in the bathroom.
And see this light in the hallway outside the bathroom...
...it filled with water until it overflowed.
(Ha! Karma's old cat box! Leah modified a cheap toy box from Target. I digress.)
Meanwhile the battle of the fire door exit raged. The door became an "us and they" situation. Was the only time I put my two cents worth in to the office. People went out the door and didn't check to see it closed. Snow drifts in the winter--especially by this particular fire door on both buildings. Residents tried to kick snow out of the way and slam the door shut (myself included) because the whole building gets cold when it's 20 below and you have a door open 2-3 inches. The door got bent enough on the other building that they had to replace it and that's when the war started. (The stairwell is right next to my apartment as I am on the end of the building.)
Their solution was to put up signs that said you couldn't go out that door. (Duh!) People still used them because going out that door instead of the door on the end of the building saved you a long walk three times as far when it was 20 below. They shoveled by the other fire exits just fine (doesn't drift there). Their solution was to refuse to shovel.
They said they only legally had to clear it enough to get the door open in an emergency. Can you see my trying to climb over the snowbanks with Karma in her stroller?
That fall they finally began on roof repair.
2011--Click to enlarge.
I got into the elevator and thought I saw "301 is a bitch" carved on the inside of the door.
But upon closer inspection it looks like 309 or even 307--whew!
That moment made me realize how I never talk to people here and that I am genuinely afraid of some of them. I give the polite head nods, smiles, or the occasional hello but no way am I social here. When I say this little apartment is my sanctuary--it truly is my very separate little haven. I walk out the door and put blinders on as much as possible. But the shoveling of the sidewalk issue must have pissed me off more than I thought because the most pictures I took around here were in 2011--LOL!
They were still working on the roof.
There had been so much peeing in the elevator--from dogs and humans--that they pulled up the carpeting because it just reeked in there no matter how they tried to shampoo it any more. This is dog pee and poop...
...but these streaks in the corner here start almost two feet off the ground. Human.
I tried to get pictures of the spit and snot in the elevator once, but it didn't show up really. Just like it was difficult to get the urine streaks down the walls. They'd wipe boogers outside the elevators on the walls, too. They apparently had nothing better to do with their time while elevator waiting--inside or out.
The fire alarms continued, of course.
The police are here fairly regularly.
Cars are towed away every year. Sometimes quite obviously without consent.
The battle of the fire door sidewalk continued.
Even though they shoveled by this door...
...and this other fire door (note the daylight you can see under this door--not what you want to see when it's 40 below wind chill, I tell you!), but they refused to shovel the one sidewalk on my end.
People kept using that door and making a boot trail.
Now this was definitely some one old enough to know better. They went around the building on all the floors and gradually pulled down the exit signs so they were dangling by the wires. They'd put them back up and they'd pull them back down.
So they bolted each one up with a metal strap.
They have torn off the braille signs by the elevators. Why? And here's an example of one of our mystery products smeared on the elevator wall and more pee streaked down the wall in the corner. Would you stay to clean this building? I wouldn't.
They scratched up the elevator door so badly (and often foully) that they had to paint it...and had to repaint so many times that they finally covered the entire inside with metal sheeting. (Which I think is why we are having door troubles with the elevator since then with it making crazy, scare-the-sh$t-out-of-you noises and loud slamming shut.)
Tried to catch another pee streak in the corner--Looks almost identical to that last one, doesn't it? Different day. Same person? They had put carpeting down again...just an open invitation to the pee-ers, I guess.
Finally--winter of 2011 they started shoveling the sidewalk by my fire door again. Not always the best job, but there's a decent pathway kept open most of the time. Hurray!
I took this with my phone and it is tiny for some reason...but because of the constant peeing in the elevator...
...by 2012 they removed the carpeting and it has never come back...but the peeing still goes on every once in a while. The last year and a half it's been mostly dog, I think...knock on wood. ;)
I quit taking pictures inside the building in 2011. Well, except for the dead, brown Christmas wreath the people next door to me had hanging outside their apartment for a full year--LOL! But I still see things out the window...because I write there every day. That same tree has been attacked by little humans before. This was in 2013.
Besides the police, ambulances, tow trucks, workmen, and cable vans...you do on occasion see something more interesting. Like this woman being escorted to her vehicle with her dog.
She seemed to need safety, right?
But the police left while she sat in her vehicle on her cell phone...for an hour. She never did leave. Must have been making a point? Or talked into coming home?
And I see this family often--digging through the chaos--kids smashing and kicking toys. The mother is depressed and angry most of the time. The kids scream a lot.
Let's just say Dagan and Leah have wanted me to move for years. They want me in a safer, nicer place. Besides the fact that I hate moving and have a ton of supplies and books and just plain a lot of stuff to move...I think I just didn't want to see how badly run down this place has gotten since I moved in. Seeing it on the news as a noteworthy dump/trashy place to live...really? Even though I think the sidewalk feud was ridiculous, I do not blame management for the pizza boxes in the hallway--pop bottles everywhere--the cigarette butts in the stairwells--the used women's pad (landed upside-down thank God!) in the middle of the floor in the hall?--vast assortments of food and packaging of said food--and just trash-trash-trash tossed willy nilly. That is the fault of the people who live here. The people who just drop their unwanted junk mail...scatter it in the elevator and along hallway as they "sort" their mail on the way to their apartment. Who are these people? What must their apartments look like?
We had children who stole somebody's pet mice and crushed them through the outgoing mail slot so that when the mail lady came and opened the big door dead mice fell out. The mail lady found out who did it because the mother actually told her--laughing! Said the kids told her they found the mice in the field (but they were white and obviously domestic). When was that? Last year? That family is gone now.
Then we had fire bugs--besides the one we had years ago who lit the bulletin board on fire. They did scare me. They were taking empty plastic pop bottles and lighting them on fire and shoving them into the carpeting in the stairwells. There are plastic blobs in my stairwell. Apparently they tracked down those kids and evicted that family, too.
I've mentioned a few things here and there over the years, but on the whole--just haven't wanted to talk about it. Especially when I think about all of this all together like I am today...just depressing. I went down and took pictures for you. This is our lobby today.
Totally striped and barren...for years. Can't keep anything here because it will be destroyed or stolen. The only thing left at all is this wire rack by the mail boxes that is for the weekly free paper...and they often toss that about and bend and mangle it so that it disappears for a time. It's back again--for now.
And why am I telling you all this?
Something happened while I was watching that girl and her brother tear the branch down on that tree right in front of that mother who couldn't have cared less...I started crying. I didn't even realize I was until a tear hit the tabletop. Somehow that was the last straw for me. I know that makes no sense. Dagan and Leah haven't set foot in the elevator here for many years and never go in the front door...but I really thought I could just continue to live on this kind of third floor island here with Karma. I'd joke about the place crumbling around us...but we'd be fine. I'm not fine any more. Karma is. But I'm not.
So, I went online and stumbled upon federal housing for 55+ and disabled! I started talking about wanting out of here--and Caroline told me about one of the places...and Pam the library lady told me about two of them. And I checked with Dagan and Leah (who would get the brunt of the moving on many levels) and they were all for it (even though they hate moving, too--LOL!).
Leah, Ian and I went driving about last week to look at three places. Two of them are established and one is being built right now in three phases. The one way up in North Fargo and the one more south--I talked to a lady in the office in the south one and she said the waiting lists are years and years. She said knows a lady who has been waiting for four years and is still number 47. But she said the odds would at least be better of getting on the waiting list for the one they're building now...North Sky.
And--North Sky is closer to Dagan and Leah's than I am right now! That is the one I wanted in the first place!! They will have a community room, a library with internet, a fitness center...and I can bet you furniture in the lobby! They have both one-bedrooms and a few one-bedrooms with dens! Washer and dryer hookups in each apartment. A garage. Security entrance. And like Dagan and Leah said, I doubt there will be seniors pulling the fire alarm for fun! And it sounds like Karma can come with me as a companion animal. All I'd need is a doctor's signature. At least that is what the both other two federal housing 55+ building's policy is. I already got a letter from a counselor to get Karma in the first place here. They should have that in my file, so I'd have that, too.
North Sky is being built in three sections/buildings that will all be connected when it is finished. One is opening fall of this year, another in 2015 and another after that. So, I kind of have three chances over the next couple years. Otherwise, it could be many more years.
Again--why am I telling you all this?
Because I truly, truly do believe in the power of prayer, positive thought, and good energy. I am hoping you might send some to the powers that be. I am using visualization and positive vibes and whatever I can muster. I am imagining the perfect place to live out the rest of my days...a one-bedroom with den, second floor, facing south (or east). Couldn't get any better than that. If I had the little den--I'd have an art and craft room!!
OMG! OMG! OMG!
And I could actually be a little social and not feel so isolated! With the community areas you can meet people in a neutral space and get to know them. I might even meet a new friend or two that I really click with...enough to dare to have them over for coffee one day or go to their place for a visit, you know?
Oh, the very thought of moving there just makes me so happy I can hardly stand it. :):)
Not that I am complaining. I, personally, have always been more than grateful to be here where I am all these years. I know how blessed I am to be here and to have some help with rent, etc. I have always loved my little apartment, as you know. I just have never understood why we have people living here who obviously are not grateful, you know? But I finally agree with Dagan and Leah--and I can no longer imagine living out the rest of my years here until I can no longer live by myself or am taken out feet first.
I want to move.
So, if you can put anything out there--even a fleeting positive thought--I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And if you can think of a one-bedroom with den, 2nd floor, facing south--that would be extra, extra nice. I've always read that when we visualize we are supposed to be specific. Let's see if it works, eh?
Now I won't talk about all the negative stuff here anymore after this depressing post. Only positive things about moving. I am going to start downsizing and acting like I will be moving. Thinking isn't enough. I want to add movement into the energy, too. So--whew! This took me all day to write. I am sooo glad it is done. I had been putting this off for weeks because going through all of this at once is such a downer for me. But now--I made it to the end! You all know why I want to leave my lovely little apartment--Karma's and my sanctuary.
Say a prayer.
I want to move.
:) :) :)
"Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart."