Thursday, April 19, 2007


(What WOULD Jen's Management Company Do????)

This has become the buzz phrase in my life as of late. I hadn't bothered to write a post about current dealings with my landlord as they started very mundane and have only recently snowballed into a "What else could they possibly do????" situation.

I should state, to put this rant into perspective, that this is THE FIRST AND ONLY REPAIR that I've requested in the two years I've been at this address. The fun started about 6 weeks ago when I called to get a light switch fixed; both to avoid any hassle at my checkout and as a courtesy to the new tenant. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago when after multiple calls they finally decided they could come out and make the repair. "Beavis" and "Butthead" (as they shall be known for what will be obvious reasons) showed up to fix the switch; apparently they actually HAD been out several days earlier but couldn't figure out what the difficulty was as the bathroom fixture in question also has a manual thumb button on the side. Guess the word "switch" in the maintenance report threw them off! I escorted them into the bathroom to flip the offensive circuit on and off showing that nothing happened. They said "OH, well we'll need to get a new switch" and after that brilliant exchange, they left and didn't show up for 2 more days.

This time, just "Beavis" showed up and had the repair done in about 15min. About 2 hours after he left, my power started flickering and then failed completely. A call the management office sent both "Beavis" and "Butthead" out this time. They mucked around in the bathroom and breaker box and decided they would need to have a professional come out after I moved to fix the bathroom switch, which they replaced with the old unfunctioning one and put in a new breaker switch for good measure, dubbing everything fine.

Four hours later, the power again flickers and goes out, only now it's 8pm in the evening and I frantically call the emergency maintenence line which results in my building's manager coming out, looking in the box and saying "They f*cked this up, we'll send an electrician in the morning." Thankfully, Bosco was there with me by this point and advised that I should kill all the breakers (with a wooden spoon to avoid being shocked), pack up my groceries and stay at his place as whatever was wrong, was seriously wrong and could lead to an electrical fire if more power was drawn overnight.

This next repair I know little about, and can only assume it was both "Beavis" and "Butthead" as I was at a meeting downtown and had left a description of the problem, foolishly thinking they would send a professional this time. I returned home to a scrawled missive on the back of my note saying "The breaker we installed was bad, so we replaced it". Once again, several hours later my power starts flickering and I call the management office (thankfully, still open this time) and am assured help is on the way. This time it's the landlord and the fellow to be known as the "Pseudo-Electrician". This charmer tells me the problem is clearly caused by "All your electronic doo-dads", dismissing the fact I have lived here 2 years with nary an issue and am in the middle of packing, thus having LESS "doo-dads" plugged in. He mucks around in the box, rips out and replaces my fridge outlet just to placate me, declares the problem fixed and leaves.

The evening proceeds without problem, but then after watching TV for an hour the power flickers and fails. This time, however the box makes some really scary crackling sounds for almost a minute. I place another call to the "emergency" line which this time is conveniently out of service, more playing the "OFF" concerto with a wooden spoon in my breaker box, more packing of my food and pack-muling to Bosco's.

The next morning, the "Pseudo-Electrician", "Beavis", "Butthead" and the landlord show up to perform more mucking around. More blaming of my TV and cable box since they were on when the power failed. Apparently they replace ALL the breakers this time and, once more say everything is A-OK. My landlord shows the only bit of courtesy in this whole episode and calls me both that evening and the following morning to make sure all is well. Two days go by and everything is hunky-dory. I go to bed on the 2nd night, still slightly on edge and having bad dreams about waking up to flames and jumping out my 5th story window to a painful death. I finally decided I should get up and watch TV for awhile, hoping to eventually catch some Zzzz's on the couch. Whatever could happen next? Yep, flicker and out with the lights!!! I wooden spoon the breakers, pack groceries, make a call to Bosco informing him of his imminent midnight visitor and make another brutal call to the management, informing them that if this is not fixed, FOR GOOD in the morning by a real, professional, Local 134 card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, I would have a chat with my good buddies over at the Board of Chicago Renter's Rights and they would have city inspectors to deal with.

Tthat was evidentally all I needed to say. The next morning, a knock at my door produced "Beavis" asking for a detail of the problem to tell the electrician (my landlord apparently having morphed into a 13-year-old girl and refusing to talk to me now). Two hours later produces the "Pseudo-Electrician", "Beavis", "Butthead" ANNNNNNNDDD "John, member of IBEW". This motley crew disperses around my apartment and starts disassembling lights, outlets and pulling out my breaker box. "John, member of IBEW" has a real voltmeter---the first one that has been in my unit since this whole fiasco started. I remain in an adjacent room to eavesdrop on what is going on and catching bits of conversation including these "John-Gems":

"You have to really clean out all the corrosion when you're replacing breakers...."
"See where the insulation on that wire is pulled away so it's bare? That could have caused the arcing...."
"That's too much load on that breaker, it needs to be split into two....."

AND my favorite gem was asked to "John" by the "Pseudo-Electrician"
"So, what's the way to determine how to set the breakers up?"

I have had power for nearly two whole days now and hope it will continue for the remaining week I'm here. Yesterday, I was quite excited to finally have a quite stress-free evening, but, last night when I came home I discovered THIS:

Ripped out mailboxes, of course! That's What Jen's Managment Company Would Do! There of course was no written notice to residents of why, or how long it would be like this. I'm sure the mailperson will be THRILLED when she shows up today! (Oh yea, in case you didn't know, my first outer glass door has no lock, so without secure "tops" on the mailboxes anyone off the street can walk in and steal mail!)

These ass-monkeys should not be allowed to rent apartments in Chicago or anywhere. Their name cannot be revealed yet as I am still under the delusion that I'll get my security deposit back. As soon as that check clears however, I will post their name here and scathing reviews everywhere else on the web that has a forum for such things. If you are moving in or to Chicago in the next 45 days however, just leave a contact email in the "Comments" and I will gladly disclose the name to any individual, in hopes of helping to avoid this happening to them!


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