Filed under: — Kate @ 6:14 am EST

Dear Upstairs Neighbors,

I fully understand that people in apartment buildings make noise. People drop things; they move furniture; they wear loud shoes. Lord knows I’ve received a few complaints of my own (including a couple from you, I might add).

So I usually just try to ignore the annoying thumps and thuds you make on my ceiling. I simply roll my eyes when you let out a series of the whoops and hollers that could only result from playing video games.

I look up and laugh when it sounds like you are having another one of your sprinting contests; I occasionally wonder if you’ve installed a bowling alley in your living room; and sometimes I suspect you’ve adpoted a herd of elephants.

But for the love of god, what could possibly cause you to bang on your floor in a random pattern for TWO WHOLE HOURS last night?

I’m not mad. Really, I’m not. But the curiousity is KILLING me! Like when I can’t identify a familiar face or get the last clue of a crossword puzzle.


Your Friendly Downstairs Neighbor Kate


My Blood Runs Cold

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:42 pm EST

Dear imbecile who thought it was a good idea to BLAST music in the parking lot of my building at 7:00 AM this morning,

Consider yourself lucky to be alive, because I was very near the brink of pushing the air conditioner out of my window and onto your head. That guy who finally came out and asked you to turn off the music? You owe him your life.

Now, I love me some J. Geils Band as much as the next girl, but what makes you think that ANYONE wants to hear it at 7:00 AM?!! Some of us are still recovering from a rather hellish weekend, and could really have used the extra minutes of precious sleep that you so selfishly denied us.

My bedroom, as well as the bedrooms of at least seven other apartments overlook that little parking lot. And generally, I have accepted the annoyances that come with it. I don’t complain about the beeping when the back gate is opened. Or the car doors slamming. Or the trash truck emptying the dumpsters at 2:00 AM.

Okay, so I did once grumble about the dude playing his bongos in the alley at 8:00 AM on a Sunday. But even he didn’t piss me off as much as you did.

Now obviously, you were here to perform some sort of maintenance in the building, and I understand wanting to hear a little music while you work… but for Christ’s sake, get a fucking iPod already. Or even just a little boom box. Don’t open up all the doors on your van and crank the radio up to the max!

If you EVER do this again, I will hunt you down to the ends of the earth. I will not kill you, but you will be begging for death before I am done.

I will find out where you live. I will secretly install tiny speakers all over your bedroom. In the walls, in the floor. You won’t see them, but they will be there. And I will rig them to play that annoying Barney song every night, over and over and over again, gradually increasing in volume, until you eventually go insane.

I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family…

You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Well ask yourself, when was the last time you heard bongos coming from the alley?


Oh Alina… Why Are You Such a Bitch?

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:53 am EST

Remember my bitchy downstairs neighbor Alina? And yes, that’s her real name. I’ve got no reason to protect the identity of that shrew.

Well, several times recently, she’s banged on her ceiling (my floor). Now the first time, it was understandable: I was walking around in my heels at 1 AM on a weeknight. Fine, my fault, I’ve got no gripes with that.

But two or three times now, she’s banged on her ceiling when we were barely making any noise. Last week, we think it might have been our next door neighbors’ music—they can go a little heavy on the bass—we’re not sure.

But tonight she did it when we weren’t even moving around!! We were both sitting at our respective computers, quietly watching the Daily Show. So I loudly yelled “WHAT?!” at my floor like it was going to make a difference.

It didn’t. She banged on her ceiling again a few minutes later. So I yelled again. Louder. “WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!!!!”

Then Edo said “I’m going down there.”

“I’m coming with you,” I replied.

So we marched down there and knocked on her door. “What should we say to her?” he asked me.

“I don’t know. Did you bang on your ceiling because of us? Or maybe, why are you such a crazy bitch?”

There was no answer. So we knocked again. And then again. No answer. That stupid whore was too afraid to come to her door and face us!! COWARD!!

But when we came back up to our apartment, the banging stopped.

Problem solved. For now.


The Continuing Story of a Girl and her Apartment: Part IV

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:43 pm EST

Required reading: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

And now, the conclusion…

Do the limbo rock.
At the end of Part III, my bathroom ceiling began leaking, right after Edo left the country. Usually I let him deal with this sort of crap, but this time it was my turn.

I called the management office and asked for Eleanor, who was none too pleased to be hearing from me since the last time we spoke I was, well, a bitch. So I said in the sweetest voice I could muster, “Oh Eleanor, our ceiling is leaking and I’d hate to see it ruin all that hard work that Theodore just did.”

Anyway, she sent someone over to deal with it. It stopped temporarily. Then it started again. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. You get the picture. By the end of September, we had a nice hole going for us in the ceiling above the shower. In case you’re keeping track, that was only two months after they repaired the wall.

About three weeks ago, Theodore and the plumber (call him Alvin) finally decided to open up the hole further, so they could see where the leak originated.

You can view their handywork here on the left. They found the leak and fixed it, but there’s no guarantee that another one won’t form.

The only real solution is to replace the bathroom above us, which Theodore wants to do, but surprise, surprise… he’s been having trouble getting the authorization. Since they won’t fix our ceiling until they replace the upstairs bathroom, we are in limbo. (more…)


The Continuing Story of a Girl and her Apartment: Part III

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:48 pm EST

You’ll want to catch up on Part I and Part II before reading any further into Part III.

Paint: The Cure for Everything.
When we last left my story, I had just discovered that the hardwood floor of my new apartment had been painted.

What did I do? Why, I called the management office and bitched them out, of course. Bear in mind that we discovered this after arriving home from red eye flight (with a stopover) after a long and tiring trip.

So now the secretary (I’ll call her Eleanor) hates me. She put Theodore on the phone and he told me the floor was too damaged, and the company wouldn’t authorize the cost to fix it, which they estimated at $1500.

Bull. Freaking. Shit. They caused half of the damage! Paint all over the place, and the gouge, which they didn’t bother to fill in before painting (see image above).

It seems to them, paint was an acceptable substitute for having to clean up the floor. I actually found a rubber band painted into the floor of my closet.

They didn’t bother painting the other closet floors (like this one on the right), probably because they couldn’t get the doors open, but that’s another story. (more…)


The Continuing Story of a Girl and her Apartment: Part II

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:23 pm EST

Editor’s note: For those of you who found my earlier version of this post on the test blog, this one is a little different.

If you haven’t read Part I, you might want to do that first. Now where was I? Oh right. Having nowhere else to go, we decided to move next door. Soon after that, the handyman/pseudo-super (I’ll call him Theodore, though that isn’t really his name) set about fixing up our new apartment.

When you move, you’re also supposed to move your stuff.

Let me set the scene for you. The previous tenants left behind about 20 pieces of furniture–a decrepit loveseat, a big filing cabinet that was clearly used as a dresser, a metal utility cabinet with graffiti on the back, as well as various other pieces. It was obvious that they had all been salvaged from elsewhere.

And everything—the floors, the walls, the countertop and cabinets—was filthy. Our former neighbors had also left about 300 nails in the wall, and maybe 100 more holes. I’m not even sure that I’m exaggerating there.

He didn’t paint so much as… splatter.
So first, Theodore had a painter (let’s call him Simon) come in and do the walls and ceiling. And I use the word “painter” loosely. The guy didn’t even cover the floor, let alone tape around the woodwork or remove switch plates, etc. He also didn’t bother removing a single nail. And Edo had actually gone over there ahead of time to remove as many of them as he could, to help make sure things were done properly (ha!).

Even with that, Simon couldn’t be bothered to spackle in one single nail hole, or even the several larger holes in the wall and cracks in the ceiling. He just painted right over them. And he dripped paint everywhere! All over the hard wood floor, on the kitchen tiles, on the crappy abandoned furniture, and he even left paint fingerprints on the cabinets!! (more…)


The Continuing Story of a Girl and her Apartment: Part I

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:02 pm EST

You get what you pay for.
I’m sure some of you recall the rants about my old apartment. Recently I noticed that I haven’t blogged much about our new place—just that we were moving and it was never ending, plus a few angry posts about my bitchy and tone deaf neighbors.

I guess I never told this story for a couple reasons. First, we were really busy when it was all happening, what with the move and the trip and all. Second, I didn’t want to come across as seeking pity (I’m not). And third, sometimes it’s a bit embarrassing that I can’t live in a better place.

Regarding that last part, I should explain that it’s not really that I can’t live in a better place. It all has to do with choices. We stay here because the rent is cheap for the location, and the location is very convenient. We could move away from the central part of the city and easily find a place twice the size for the same rent. But I want to stay close to work, close to the downtown area, and close to all modes of transportation (I kind of hate busses).

Alternately, we could find a place downtown that’s the same size and twice our current rent, but we’d have to cut back dramatically on other things we enjoy, like dining out, new shoes (okay, that’s just me), going to concerts, purchasing cool electronic gizmos, and traveling. You know, fun.

Buying isn’t really an option for the same reasons—I can’t afford to buy anywhere that I actually want to live. Maybe three years ago, but not these days—the housing market in Philly has gotten ridiculously inflated. We’re the next big thing, or haven’t you heard? The sixth borough and all that bullshit.

So now you are probably thinking “If she chooses to live there, then where does she get off complaining?” Well, let me enlighten you. (more…)


Working for the Weekend

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:17 am EST

Hey guys, sorry I haven’t been around much these days. I took Friday off from work, and we used the long weekend to run about a million errands. Edo and I have yet to finish putting the new place together, so we still had to purchase a good amount of furniture and other apartment-related items. We did well, finding almost everything we needed. Also had a few family things to do.

Yesterday, I had a study monitor in my office. Essentially, someone from the study’s regional center came to check up on us (a local site) to make sure we weren’t pulling any data out of our asses. They also check to make sure everything else is in order (i.e. paperwork, paperwork, paperwork). It’s routine practice, but it was my first time since all my other studies are locally coordinated (by me). Anyway, it went well, but it was very stressful, especially after having been out on Friday.

So now it’s Tuesday and I’m way behind. Oh well.


Now Playing in Apt. 307: Barnyard Animal Slaughter Fest

Filed under: — Kate @ 8:53 pm EST

Right now my upstairs neighbors are having some sort of musical jam session. But really, it sounds more like they are slaughtering barnyard animals than playing music.

Oh my god… I just… I can’t… AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

When it first started, I found it be kind of annoying. But what they are doing right now… it’s just… I have no words for this. There are a bunch of off-key male voices singing along to really crappy, tinny guitars. And they keep howling!!! Literally! Like stray cats and dogs!! It’s horrible! And they’re stomping their feet, too.

Seriously, they are SO bad, it’s almost comical. I’d be laughing my ass off if I wasn’t worried that this could be a harbinger of things to come.

And the best part is, someone from that apartment—this same apartment above me that is now murdering innocent soundwaves—actually complained about my subwoofer on Monday night. Now granted, it was 11:30 PM, not 8:45 PM as it is now. But still.

Hard to believe my stupid bitchy downstairs neighbor ever had the GALL to complain about us! (By the way, I haven’t heard a thing from her since I wrote her back.)



Filed under: — Kate @ 1:40 am EST

Came home tonight to find this taped to our door…

This was my response:

August 4, 2005

Dear Alina in Apartment 107,

We are very sorry that you feel as though we are “stepping on your brain.” It might surprise you to know that we are, in fact, not “stomping on the floor with every step we take.” Actually, most of the time we are in bare feet.

We have lived in this building for nearly four years, although we just moved from 205 into this particular apartment. Therefore, we can tell you from personal experience that it’s perfectly normal to hear your upstairs neighbors, especially those with hardwood floors. In fact, for many nights this past winter, we were actually able to hear our upstairs neighbor (in 305) snoring. The sounds come through the floors; they come through the heating system. It can’t be helped.

Due to the fact that we have just moved in, perhaps we are a little overactive right now. We are sorry, but that cannot be helped. However, beyond the drilling and hammering that comes with setting up a new apartment, neither of us feels that we have been abnormally loud.

As for the music, we are not “blasting it every day.” We do play music at normal levels, as we have done for the past four years with NO complaints. However, we do not wish to cause you distress, and therefore we will make some changes to our setup. It would be helpful to know the times that you are bothered, as most people do not have worry about their noise level during daytime hours.

We were acquainted with the couple who lived here before us, and they were abnormally quiet, so perhaps you have been spoiled by their silence. Whatever the case, we will try to reduce our noise level, but you may just have to exercise some “common sense” of your own and adjust to life in an apartment building with other people living all around you.

In the future, you might find discussions such as these to be more productive if you start with a less antagonistic approach.


Kate and Edo of 207

What do you guys think?


A Lateral Move

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:55 pm EST

So, as of this past Sunday night, we’ve officially moved out of the old apartment.

Are we moved in to the new place yet?

Well… the jury is still out on that one…


For the Record…

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:31 pm EST

Let me just say… moving is a BITCH.

That is all.


I Was of the Feeling it was Out of Control

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:58 pm EST

Some of you may have heard that the new apartment hasn’t turned out to be quite as wonderful as we first thought. The bathroom was actually in pretty crappy shape, and the kitchen has less cabinet space than our current one, even though it’s four times larger. Whatever, we’re dealing with it. They are fixing the bathroom and we’re buying some more cabinets. The plan was that we go on vacation starting this Friday (the 15th), and return on Monday July 25th. Then we have to be out of our current apartment and into the new place by August 1st. Fine. No problem.

Then, this morning we got a knock on our door, and it’s the maintenance guy (I’ll call him Theodore) asking us if we can move BEFORE we leave on Friday. That’s four fucking days from now. Turns out that our current apartment has been rented out starting August 1st, meaning that the new tenant was told he could MOVE IN on August 1st. And Theodore, who will need to do some work in our old apartment to get it ready, will be on vacation from July 25 to August 1st.

It’s not his fault. The management company’s secretary (I’ll call her Eleanor) was told of our vacation dates and Theodore’s a long time ago. Weeks, if not months ago. And she still rented the apartment out for August 1st. So it’s her fault, and she doesn’t have any idea of how to fix the situation. Congratulations, Eleanor. You have royally screwed your two longest and most reliable tenants.

Did mention that I have about three weeks of work to cram into four three and a half days at my job? And somehow I’ll have to find the time to pack (and not misplace the stuff in the move).

We might start moving as early as tonight. Happy birthday to me, indeed!


Time Keeps On Slipping

Filed under: — Kate @ 3:25 am EST

Holy crap! How did it get to be July 9th without me writing a single thing this month? I’m not really sure how that happened. Well, maybe I am a little… Here’s a quick update:

-Live 8 was good. Would have been better if I didn’t have to work that morning, but whatever. We have some very boring pictures of the crowd. VH1 and MTV are showing 5 hours each of commercial free Live 8 footage on Saturday if anyone is interested.

-The 4th was mostly uneventful, but I did perfect a new muffin recipe.

-We’ll be gone most of this weekend, then we’re leaving on the 15th for ten days. I still intend to post my trip plans…. We’ll see if I actually do it.

-The apartment into which we are moving is not quite as great as I originally thought. But we’re still moving. By August 1st. Chaos ensues…

-Edo is making his biannual pilgrimage to the motherland in August. I’ll have three weeks of non-stop orgies and partying to plan.

That’s all for now, as it is after 3 AM. Hope everyone has a good weekend!


Moving on Up Sideways

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:28 pm EST

I’m such a bad blogger. You can all feel free to cyber-bitchslap me. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say… I’ve just found myself somehow incapable of typing it. Oh well. You’ll probably be hearing a bit more from me this week. For now, here are some of the fun and wild details of my crazy life… (more…)


Coming Out of My Cage

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:45 am EST

But it’s just the price I pay. Holy freaking crap, last week was really stressful. This week isn’t looking to be too much better, since I think I can still feel the ulcer growing. Data errors, data demands, suprise new employees, two leaks in my apartment (one huge one—maybe I’ll post a picture later).

But there were some highlights…
-Gotta gotta be down. Got to see Allie on Friday night! Too bad I had to work the whole time. (I’ll make it up to you, promise!)
-Open up my eager eyes. On Saturday, I went to my first of four U2 shows this year. Very awesome, but my seats weren’t very good. Scratch that, they were bad. But the concert was still great—I wouldn’t expect any less. My boys from Dublin, they know how to put on a show. Got to hear some songs I’ve never heard live before. A few of the classic old standards were absent—I sent Lushy a text message right after that read “Kate after first Philly U2 concert: No WOWY? How can there be no WOWY?” But that’s okay. I have a feeling a few of those favorites might return in the fall.

And then again, there were some low points…
-Now I’m falling asleep. After Allie left, I was up until 4AM finishing my project.
-And my stomach is sick. After the U2 concert I ate a rotten strawberry. (Well, I put it in my mouth and began to chew. It never made it to my stomach.) My GOD that was disgusting.

How did it end up like this? Well anyway, I didn’t write this post to solicit sympathy. I just wanted to ramble a bit. After all, it turns out there are people who had worse weekends than me.

And I’ve been doing just fine.


He Could Wake the Dead

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:46 am EST

I thought of including this bit in my Love/Hate: My Apartment post, but it’s not something that happens every night, and it had been a while since I last heard it. My upstairs neighbor sometimes snores so loudly that he (or she) keeps me awake. Seriously, I’m not making this up. It took a while to figure out what the noise was, but it’s definitely someone snoring. And it started again last night. I don’t understand how a person can make that much noise and not wake himself up! Perhaps he’s one of those blood-drinking reptillian aliens…. Because the sound is inhuman. *YAWN* I need a nap.


Love/Hate: My Apartment

Filed under: — Kate @ 8:55 am EST

I hate my apartment because…
it’s in West Philly/University City. Translation: ghetto/college students everywhere.
there’s a perpetual leak in my bathroom. They fix it, it starts again, they fix it, it starts again. It creates a hole in my ceiling, they fix it after like 5 months, it leaks again and ruins the shitty repair job they did. A vicious cycle. (more…)


Where’s an RPG When You Need One?

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:52 am EST

As some of you may already know, my apartment building is next to a small cathedral. When we moved in I thought, “Gee, this is nice. What a pretty church.” Then about 3 months later, I started hearing bells ring from time to time and I thought “Ooh, pretty bells.” Well, it wasn’t long before my warm fuzzy feelings turned to thoughts of destruction and mayhem….