The Rich Are Different

I was reading this Expatria, Baby post about the flooding in Jakarta.

We used to live in a crappy apartment. How crappy?

  • For four and a half of the five years we lived there, we had almost no cold water in the kitchen sick. Hot water, yes, but only a trickle of cold.
  • When we called to say that we were finding termites, we were told, “Oh, the owner says that’s not a big problem.”
  • They lost our keys, didn’t tell us for months, and fought us over the cost of rekeying the apartment (Mr. Sandwich did it himself for less than half the cost of a locksmith)–even after telling us that they would pay for it.
  • The plumbing was so poorly put together that on more than one occasion, the toilet backed up. Through the tub drain.
  • Speaking of the plumbing, the building desperately needed to be repiped, but they would only do it one length of pipe at a time. And this is how they patched the stucco:


So it was a crappy apartment. But even as we complained about it, we could not get over the fact that for most of the world, it was a palace. Seriously, two people in a two-bedroom apartment? That only had holes in the walls for part of the time? And actually had a toilet and a tub and a sink? I am not being even slightly snarky when I say that we were always very aware that this is a lavish existence for most of the world.

We are incredibly grateful to live in our small house. Now there are three of us, and it has three bedrooms. And the walls and the plumbing are now under our control instead of the landlord’s. It really is amazing to us.

We know that while our lifestyle is modest for many in this country (and unbearable for the Kardashians and their ilk), it is beyond imagining for a great many more.

We’re all rich. We just don’t know it because we’re looking in the wrong direction. Maybe “aspirational” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Photo by Mr. Sandwich.

At War

This post is not about Iraq. Nor is it about AT&T. No, it’s about our landlord.

These are the people who, when I called to report a water leak in the wall, yelled at me for not calling sooner. And then, although they fixed the leak that night, took two weeks to patch the wall. And never painted. (So we painted.)

These are the people who lost our keys (!!!) and said that we could rekey the apartment and withhold costs from the rent–and then, when presented with receipts and an itemized invoice, demanded the remainder of the rent. (They didn’t get it.)

Now they’re the people who think it costs, among other things, $125 to clean a shower door that was clean, $95 for carpet they said they’d have to replace anyway due to poor installation before we moved in, and $21.50 for a wall outlet switch place (I assume they’re forging it themselves. Out of gold.)

When I called them late this morning to tell them we’d be in this afternoon, they said that I would have to come in between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. tomorrow or the next day, because those are the only hours the manager is in. That’s some management.

So we’re at war. One day this week, between 9:00 and 11:30.

The Plumbing Circle of Life

I don’t know what part of the continuum we’re on at this moment, but it isn’t a good one. Right now, as I type, the plumber is snaking the drain because the water is backing up into the tub and the toilet. Yes, again. At 10 p.m.

Here’s a video of the tub:

And here’s where the water pours out of the drain pipe, when in fact it should be draining out the other direction. You know. DOWNHILL.

We are so moving.

Why We Want Our Own Place, Part II

My last post on this subject focused on the negatives of our current domicile. That shows what we want to move away from–but what do we want to move to?

We want to live in a place that:

  • we can paint.
  • is more private.
  • has a garage, the better to store our sporting equipment.
  • has a space where we can install a clothesline.
  • doesn’t require us to share the laundry room.
  • has a yard in which we can start a vegetable garden.
  • we can make more environmentally friendly.

That last item is a big one. We have lots of plans, depending on the house we find. But it will be wonderful to have a place that we can make our own, that will allow us to live the way we want to.

Why We Want Our Own Place, Part I

So many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • The revolving crowd of guys who hang out back drinking. Who knew a dumpster could be so happening?
  • The consistently and creatively failing plumbing.
  • The five parking spaces for six apartments (two of which are 2-bedroom units).
  • The lack of laundry room etiquette.
  • The occasional lines of unidentified white powder on top of the washing machine (I’m not sure who left it there, but I know it wasn’t either of us).
  • The total lack of insulation.
  • The weird placement of the coat closet, which sticks into the living room and creates an alcove that is the only place to put the couch–perpendicular to the TV, meaning that only one of us can sit there to watch television. That’s right, in four years we have almost never been able to sit next to each other and watch TV.
  • Most recently, the neighbor’s relatives who brought their dogs over and let them deposit nasty piles behind our car–which they left for someone else (me, apparently) to hose off.

So while the housing market may not yet have hit bottom, we’re satisfied with the fact that it’s no longer at its high point. Home ownership, here we come!