Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Just Fix It, All Right?

Sunday evening, I was sitting on my couch, talking to my mother, when I realized that it had gotten quite chilly in my apartment. At first, I thought the heat just wasn't working. There was some difficulty when the landlord first turned it on this year, requiring service to the boiler and resulting in over a week of temperatures hovering around 50­°F so really it wasn't so far fetched. Then I realized that I could hear the faint hissing of the radiator in my bedroom. Obviously the heat was on. I felt the radiator behind the couch and made the odd discovery that the three bumps on the far right side of the radiator were hot, but that the other 12 or so bums were stone cold. This, obviously, is not normal. This meant that the only thing heating my entire apartment was the small radiator in the bedroom and an even smaller one near my front door. The radiator in the bathroom didn't work all last winter, but the enormous radiator in the living room kept the place so warm that I didn't bother to fuss about it.

I'd intended to call the landlord on Monday, but what with one thing and another, I just forgot. So Tuesday afternoon, I dialed the number that I'm beginning to know by heart now. Bob the Landlord answered, which was a bit of a shock-- he normally screens his calls and either returns them, ignores them but fixes the problem, or ignores them entirely, depending on his mood or maybe on the positions of the planets or maybe on messages that he gets from his neighbor's dog. I said "Hi Bob, this is Katze over at 400 Mystreet in apartment X. I'm calling because the radiator in my living room and the one in my bathroom are not working. The one in the bedroom seems to be working just fine, though." Bob the Landlord was silent for a moment, then he responded, with an undertone of irritation, "Soooo... are you complaining that your apartment's cold?"

Well, duh, you idiot! How else do you think that I'd even noticed that the radiators aren't working? Do you think I make the rounds every hour or so and check to be sure that the radiator in each room is working? I may be high strung, but I'm not OCD. And even if the apartment isn't cold, wouldn't you, as the owner of a property, be concerned if a major appliance-- or whatever the proper word for your heating system and its accoutrement is-- was not working? Especially one that might, if broken, leak a large amount of water, causing damage to not only the apartment in which it is located, but also the apartment or apartments underneath?

It's not like I call Bob-o for every little thing. If something goes wrong and I can fix it, I do. Case in point: the little bobber thing inside my toilet tank wasn't sealing properly. I looked it up online, saw that it was a simple matter of draining the tank and readjusting the arm mechanism with a gentle bit of pressure from a pair of pliers. I can handle that!, I thought to myself, and handle it I did. Problem solved, Bob didn't have to pay his maintenance guy to drive out to my place and do it himself.* Ditto for clogged drains or a broken window screen. Small things, I can fix them, I don't bother Bob about it. Furthermore, I pay my rent on time, and I'd be willing to bet a lot of money that Bob's never had another tenant complain about me for any reason because I am quiet and considerate of my neighbors. Frankly, I am a dream tenant, so I resent Bob's irritation with my request. Wonder how long it will take him to get around to fixing this?

*Though in the interest of full disclosure, the problem eventually returned maybe 7 or 8 months down the line and I had to call Bob when my fix didn't work. They ended up replacing the little rubber thingie altogether, so I guess that I really only delayed the repair. Still, it got him another 7 or 8 months out of the stupid thing, right?


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