Showing posts with label domestic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label domestic. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fire Stop

In January my apartment complex decided to render my stove virtually unusable. In order to appease their insurer they had to install Fire Stops, devices that will explode fire extinguishing material all over the place if a fire starts beneath them. There was already a low clearance between the bottom of my microwave and the top of my stove and the Fire Stops took another few inches away, making it nearly impossible to cook. I believe the following pictures will accurately:

Realizing what complete bullshit it was to be forced to endure this loss of usable space on my stove top I removed the damn things. I figured I could just put them back up whenever they were going to need to check the apartment. When I got home today I found this note on my counter:

Which was annoying enough because they should (and usually do) let us know before they're going to enter our apartments and also meant that I had to reinstall the Fire Stops. I don't pay a cheap rent by Austin standards, in fact I pay a bit more than average all things considered. Given that I had 1 day to find an apartment when I moved here and I wasn't about to suffer living too far from the city now that I was actually going to be living someplace 1000 times more interesting than Annandale Virginia, I really can't complain about what I pay here. I pay less than I would for the same apartment in Virginia or Boston and it turns out that I'm very well located here, so by my standards it's well worth it. Or rather it was well worth it until they put in the Fire Stops.

I was seriously fuming when I got home and I had to reinstall these things, but now that the blinding rage has more or less subsided (at least until I try to cook something) I'll have to try and talk to someone in the apartment office this weekend and see if there's anything that can be done about this. I don't want to move, but I can't see renewing my lease in the fall with these Fire Stops in place. Are the smoke detectors, fire extinguisher, and even that spray can fire extinguisher they gave me not enough? In all the apartments I've had over the years I have never experienced this. It's just crazy.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cleaning House

After months of putting it off I've decided to dive head first into my closet and begin the process of auditing the numerous boxes of miscellaneous crap I have just sitting around and gathering dust. Moving is one of my least favorite things to do in the world. It seems that every time I move it is at least a mildly traumatic experience brought on by a combination of my own procrastination and a lot of last minute scrambling to get various random objects packed. This is always exacerbated by the fact that I never fail to realize the sheer volume of useless junk I've been carrying around with me for years.

For a while it wasn't too bad though. When I moved back to Boston in January of 2004, I really didn't have that much stuff with me in the form of random objects. I had taken the usual necessities: computer, music, games, DVD's, books, comics, and various homey items like my futon, bed, dishes, and such. I made a trip up with the big stuff in a U-Haul and then another trip later on with various items in my car. It really wasn't much, in retrospect. Still, come that August I was moving up the street to Jamaica Plain and I figured 2 days off - one for the move and one after - would be enough to get it all done. I had been "packing" for about a week and while I hadn't done the kitchen yet or taken apart the living room furniture, that was all going to be a breeze. Something anyone in Boston needs to understand (that I in my previous 5 years as a resident in the city had somehow failed to grasp) is that Aug 31st/Sept 1st is a HUGE moving day and - little known to me at the time - U-Haul tends to overbook. So I found myself on the morning of my move without a truck. Luckily I was able to locate a larger moving truck at a rental place across town and I had my good friend Donny to help me move all my stuff. When you're packing it never seems like all that much stuff. Even when you stuff it all in the truck, it's really not that bad. When you've spent all morning scrambling to finish packing, find a moving truck, and then find yourself 14 hours later clearing a space to sleep on the floor of your room in your new apartment that is filled to the brim with all your wordly possessions however, you begin to realize that you've got a lot of shit.

I don't remember if I got rid of anything after that move and I'm fairly certain that it may have been at that point when I began putting aside the eternal boxes. There are at least 3 boxes that have made multiple moves with me now. These boxes are filled with junk I can't bear to part with, but never actually need. Were the number of these junk boxes to have remained merely 3 I may not have had a problem. This is sadly not the case however.

When I moved to Virginia in August of 2006 things went a little more smoothly. I had plenty of time to pack and on the morning of the move actually spent a good deal of time being bored while waiting for the movers to show up. I had allotted an inordinate amount of miscellaneous items to ride with me in my car and was lucky to have been able to fit them all after the movers too my better packaged items away, but other than that it was a rather uneventful move. Yes, the number of junk boxes had grown, but it didn't seem a problem at the time as my new apartment had two large walk in closets.

I was content for a while in Virginia to just let my miscellneous junk fester in my two closets. In truth I only really used to front closet for storage and kept the bedroom closet for more traditionally closet worthy things such as hanging clothes. Even if I did all of a sudden find myself with an abundance of junk to find space for, I also had a small locked storage area in the basement of the apartment building. I was living the good life with all my useless junk. I had even bought another couch as my living room was large enough to fit both it and my old futon. Yes sir things were good, that is until my parents finally finished moving out of the house I had grown up in back in West Haven Connecticut.

When they came to visit in September 2007 they came bearing gifts, well not gift so much as boxes and boxes of junk from my old room. There must have been at least 20 of them and they all went into he front closet, with overflow spreading to the bedroom closet. I let that stuff sit there for a good 6 months. Out of sight, out of mind after all,  but then that winter I decided to buy and exercise bike and that I might want to rearrange my living room to use only one couch and store the disassembled futon in the closet. There was no way the bike and the futon were going to fit in the closet in it's present state and due to the fact that it was winter, Virginia, and I had just been dumped, I wasn't leaving the house for anything other than work, so while I was sitting around watching movies I might as well go through the countless boxes in my front closet.

Going through those boxes was like going back in time. Now, I had lived at my old house in Connecticut as recently as the end of 2003, but even then most of the stuff in my room had been boxed up or was just junk lying around. Going through those boxes in what was now 2008 was like taking a time machine back to the mid-late 90's, when alternative rock became modern, a young Will Ferrel was teaching us how to laugh again on Saturday Night Live, and O.J. Simpson was still searching for the real killers. There's definitely something fun about looking through piles of old junk, when it's yours at least. It's like looking at a photo album, except instead of pictures you've got objects. I must have gotten rid of 2/3 of those boxes by the time I was done, but regardless, my stack of miscellaneous boxes - the stuff I chose to keep but never had a need for - had grown. I had 2 closets though, what did I care.

It's August of 2009 and I'm moving down to Austin. This move wasn't quite as bad at the move to Jamaica Plain in 2004, but still not as smooth as the one to Virginia in 2006. I had underestimated the amount of extra stuff I had and at around 3am on the morning of my move, I still had things to pack. I went to bed and woke around 6:30 in order to complete packing and with a little help from the moving men (apparently wardrobe boxes and great for packing all those odd shaped things you can't fit into smaller, squarer boxes) everything of mine was packed and on the truck by noon. I had meant to get out of Virginia by 1-2pm, but I still had to clean the apartment, drop off my cable box, stop by Good Will to get rid of a bunch of old clothes, and get something to eat before hitting the road. I didn't leave Virginia until 7:30pm, but that's a whole other story.

Now I'm in Austin, Texas in an apartment roughly the same size as the one I had in Virginia, but lacking the storage space in the basement and the second closet. All my miscellaneous boxes are in the closet along with my hung clothes, the pieces of my futon, and the futon mattress. This should be a walk in closet, presently it is not. There are at least 10 miscellaneous boxes in there, not counting the 4 or 5 that are just comic books and I've been meaning to go through them for months now in order to make some room and in there so that I can put the boxes that I need to keep (empties for Rock Band and Guitar Hero, 2 of the comics boxes, and one legitimate box of miscellaneous stuff) in there and out of my living room. Tonight I've decided to begin that process and reclaim my closet. Once again I'm turning back the hands of time in order to battle the beasts of nostalgia and get rid of junk I no longer need. Will I be successful? Only time will tell.