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  • Fed up

    I am done, done, done with landlords. I’m never taking on a tenancy again.

    I will live with other people if it means not dealing with bullshit like this.

    Our run of good luck is up. Not that I  thought this would be simple, don’t get me wrong! No matter how many times T assured me moving out would be fine and how the LL wouldn’t make things a hassle, I knew it would be. He needs to trust my instincts!!

    So this week has brought the worst weather all year. Storm warnings were issued and although Auckland never really gets the worst of anything, we still got hit hard by wind, rain, thunder and lightning. I’m talking torrential downpours, beating down on my laundry line and leaving me out of clean underwear for days.

    Anyhow, the roof at the old house finally gave way and sprung a leak, soaking the carpet in the living room. It’s been a long time coming. In June the ceiling started bubbling up, which we mentioned to him. I even took a photo of the bubbling paint, so we can prove it. Back then, he said not to worry and that some of the roof tiles had been replaced. Whether they did or not, or whether they did a crap job, something went wrong this last week, and the house is now about as far from watertight as you can get.

    This prompted the LL  to send me a shitty text, saying one of us must have cracked the tiles while up on the roof. Can you say RIDICULOUS? Why on earth would anyone be up on the roof? Certainly not to remove the aerial, like he suggested – it came with the house, and that’s where it’s going to stay. And, what’s more, it’s OBVIOUSLY STILL THERE. And how much of a coincidence is it that the roof caved in the exact spot where the paint began bubbling months ago, where the tiles were allegedly replaced?

    Roof aside, the whole house is incredibly damp and always had had a problem with damp. Every time I’ve been back since we moved, my sinuses flare up and my nose starts running (or dripping, sometimes). Not surprisingly really; breathing in mould spores can’t be good for anyone. That place is turning into a health hazard.

    T walked the LL around, and did all the talking, explaining that we’d warned him about the ceiling months ago and that we had done nothing to cause damage to the roof (something he’s refusing to admit. He’s going to get a builder’s opinion, which I am more than confident will reflect the truth – that there’s four months of water damage in the ceiling, if not more.)

    I’m just irritated because this is the last thing I need. I do not need the stress!  Sounds like this is going to drag out forever and who knows when we’ll get our bond money back. Thankfully, T is happy to deal with this. I hate conflict, and he’s much more confident and knowledgable in matters like these. He says the LL was pretty quiet, unusually, and simply walked around the house looking mopey because he knows the house is falling apart. Our old room? So damp you can see the outline of the rafters coming through, the ceiling is getting soft, and did I mention how I could see my breath in front of me in there during winter?
    As if that’s not enough, heinous flatmate only turned up at the last hour this morning to clean. Then asked if he would be getting some bond back. Hello, you never actually paid any! This is partly my fault. When we first moved in, our other two flatmates shifted in two weeks before we did and paid the full rent for the house (ie, double). So I wasn’t too strict about chasing up bond in addition to that; I was just grateful they were willing to cover for us. When the heinous flatmate started “paying off” his bond, he was so far behind on bills, I put every payment towards bills. There was never any money left over to go towards a bond. Not, of course, that he keeps track of anything enough to know this.

    Kudos to you if you’ve read this far! /end rant

  • Shiny happy people

    Okay, so the title really has nothing to do with the post. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of how I’m feeling. But I’ve got the phrase stuck in my head after seeing the REM video in the pub today at lunch, and it’s as good a title as any!Katie

    Why was I in the pub at lunch? Weeeell….

    BF texted me five minutes before the end of my first lecture. Mechanics FINALLY got round to looking at his car. Not the clutch after all, nooo…..but a crack in the gearbox. To the tune of $1300.

    Stomach started turning tricks, as it does when I’m stressed. I called him back, confirmed the horrible truth, and went for a walk around campus. I waited FOREVER at the crossing for this one way street, and a girl breezed along past me and walked across. I decided to do the same, seeing as the traffic was stopped and was only going one way. Of course, the bus driver at the lights honked at me; obviously their light went green just as I started across. I ate the chocolate brownie I made last night. I generally wallowed for a bit, then went to the library and lost myself in a book till I was due to meet a friend for lunch.

    “I need a stiff drink. Where to?” I texted.

    “London Bar?”

    “Sounds good,” I sent back.

    London Bar was civilised enough to not open until 4pm, so we went to Father Ted’s next door (open from 10am, FYI). I nursed a whiskey on the rocks, he had a Guinness, and we had beer battered fish and chips. REM, Oasis, Justin Timberlake, Amy Winehouse and the Ting Tings played in the background. Then we debated over whether the Sugababes’ Freak Like Me was their first single.

    He said: No, it was that one, you know, with the car, where they…um…and it has the word situation?

    Me: *puzzled look*…… OH!!! *bangs head on bar top* Wasn’t it called Destination something!!

    He knew what I meant. I knew what he was talking about.

    “That was IMPRESSIVE! Just from the one word!”

    (I just googled it. It was actually called Overload, although one of the search results did call it ‘Destination”)

    We did a spot of shopping, where I failed to find a dress for my friend’s party. And we went into Smith and Caughey’s, and ooohed and ahhhhed over baby clothes and toys (since when does a posh place like SnC stock BONDS?? Since when did Bonds make baby gear??) In particular, a $79 music box amused us to no end, as did an antique telephone ($339) and a $55 baby comforter (I originally thought it was $5 and was almost tempted to buy it just because it was surely the cheapest item in the store….and what is a comforter anyway?? It looked like a piece of fuzzy fabric folded in half, topped off with a bear’s head, to me…).

    And why on earth did I check the prices on everything! And remember them six hours later??

    When I got home, me and BF popped over to see the LL. I had every intention of telling him we wanted a rent reduction if the water wasn’t sorted in a week. But he seemed so apologetic, I didn’t.

    So now I’m settled in front of the fire, trying to put off typing up a huge bunch of notes for a project, and thinking, when life throws lemons at you, just make a sour face, head to the bar and order a nasty, nasty whiskey.

  • Weekend wrapup

    It’s been a hell of a week.

    Sunday: Plumber was meant to come, according to LL. Never showed. Man, am I sick of being fucked around.

    Monday: Up at 6, went with BF to sit his full licence. His friend N turns up to pick us up (he was sitting his too, straight before BF, and lending BF the car for his)…only to inform us his registration had run out two days ago and he’d only just realised. But at 6.30am, there ain’t nowhere to buy a new rego. NOWHERE.

    Instructor tells friend he can fit him in at 3.30. BF rings around to see who he can borrow a car off. My friend M obliges, but turning up with one headlight out. It’s the instructor’s last day, and he says he’ll let it slide. Off they go. But they’re back in five minutes, because there’s a bit of fog and they need both headlights. In the meantime N has hurried off to VTNZ to renew his reg, and has returned. Instructor sets off with him to take his test. BF, me and M gun it to Repco to buy a new headlight. By the time N returns, it’s time for the instructor’s next test and BF has to wait half an hour.

    Halfway through BF’s test, he pulls back into the carpark. He comes over to me and M, stony faced, and informs us that the instructor pulled him over halfway through because of a scratching sound on the left side of the car, got out, KICKED both sides of the bumper, and caused it to fall off. (M’s car is a junker. But it is warranted, roadworthy, and has never had the bumper come off, that is, until this instructor saw fit to assault it). He then declared the car unfit to finish the test in.

    We ask the AA for a complaint form, which we fill out and return to the counter staff. Counter staff flat out REFUSE to fax it off to Christchurch HQ, despite not being busy and having a fax machine right behind them. No, we have to waste more of our morning, after that appalling experience, and invest more of our time and money into following this up. BF is fairly controlled, all things considered, and simply spits out “You make it impossible to complain” and we stalk out. You would think they would appreciate feedback and the opportunity to improve, but clearly their policy is to make it difficult to complain and hope that puts people off.

    BF calls up the LTNZ call centre, has a girl take down all the details, and she says he’ll get a response within three days. She says he may get a full refund. Which would be nice, even if it doesn’t make up for the time wasted. It’ll be weeks before he can get a resit. That’s how backlogged the AA are. Pity we can’t even boycott them, because nobody else does driver testing.

    Tuesday: Lugged BF’s crutches to town and around uni (well, to one lecture). Fax off complaint form to LTNZ for verification purposes (costs me a dollar and ten minutes waiting time). Bussed up to Grafton, walked across the bridge and to Auckland Hospital to return them. Lady at reception told me to leave them “by the doors where the lino starts”. Well, where the said lino started was by the lifts, and a corridor which clearly stated “staff only”. I wandered further down the wing and took a look all around to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I also stuck my head into the “admin reception” to check there, and the receptionist told me there would be an “equipment pool” at the main reception. Trudged back there.

    Out of all the three staff, I HAD to be served by the same first lady. She snapped at me and insisted there were double doors there and I had gone “way too far”. I went back to the “start of the lino”, saw no doors, and promptly started crying. Stress, tiredness, and tiredness of everything in my life having to be so goddamn complicated. Even returning one pair of crutches.

    Thankfully, a security guard and a female volunteer took pity on me. The guard told me to leave the crutches by the lifts, and the woman had a little chat to me as I blew my nose, tried to dry my eyes and straighten my skirt. Then back to the reception with my receipt for my $35 refund. GOT THE SAME GODDAMN LADY again. She directed me round to the cashier around the corner….who refused to help me and insisted I had to go back to ED and fill out some sort of form there. Seriously. No wonder people go on shooting sprees for less. (Jokes. Sort of)

    Trudged down to ED, on the verge of more angry tears. Amazingly, the staff there were really nice. I filled out a form, and after a brief explanation of the situation to the puzzled girl I offered to go and try retrieve the crutches from where they were. Luckily, they were where I’d left them, and I signed that form and was told to expect a check in the mail. Well, all right then.

    After a full day, went to a pub quiz at the Horse and Trap (great atmosphere, pity the place is always packed, but we’ve been lucky enough to get a table every time as someone leaves right before the quiz starts). Started feeling weird aches in my neck, but tried to ignore them all night.

    Wednesday: Woke up feeling like the behind of a donkey. Except I had six straight hours of class starting at 8, and a test I had to sit and pass. (I aced it, BTW, 100%). I struggled through the day, feeling strange aches and pains in my neck, shoulders and back, alternate chills and flushes, whole-body numbness and that awful burning mouth feeling you get when you’re coming down with the flu. I made sure to hand in the two assignments I had due the next day, texted to say I had the death flu and wouldn’t be coming in to work, and left at 1pm to go home and pass out.

    Thursday: Awoke around 9, with the aches and pains gone, but a huge lump in my throat. Went back to sleep. Up at noon, sore throat staved off and feeling well enough to email my tutors to explain my absence. BF got the car towed to the workshop which did his clutch in December, where they said they’d have a look tomorrow and if it was in fact the clutch, then it would be under warranty still and all we’d have to pay is labour.

    Friday: No word back from the mechanics. Struggle through morning class, six hours of work, and home to dinner and bed.

  • Thoughts on a Sunday night

    There have been a lot of op-eds and columns about how 20somethings are being hit hardest by the recession. Last in, first out. Brought up with the idea that if you just worked hard you could get ahead. Thinking you should get a degree, find a job, buy a house. And how that’s just not true, and it’s all falling apart.

    I’m just glad we don’t have a mortgage.

    I know once we get through this, nothing will ever be the same again. I won’t take anything for granted. I’m going to be even more cautious than I was before. Nothing is for certain. Nothing is safe, nothing is assured, and it can all be taken away from you in an instant. Corps have no loyalty to you. All you can do is look out for yourself, be prepared for anything and pick yourself back up.

    I feel stressed a lot, and I freaked out today at the butcher’s because we had to keep it to $20 or less to stay under budget.

    It’s not like my card would have been declined or anything, but it would have been money we didn’t have.

    We got in at $21, and BF came up with a $5 bill from nowhere.

    “See? Now we’re UNDER budget,” he told me.

    Bless him.

    Please, let Work and Income DO something. DO their jobs and give him what he’s entitled to. $10. $25. $50. Whatever.Any little bit would help, and keep us afloat for longer. $100 would be gold. That’s about how much we’re falling short by.

    If this is being a grown up, REALLY realising that the only person with your best interests at heart is YOU….I don’t like it.

    As long as we can get through this.

    One step at a time.