Monday, March 02, 2009

The catalyst for home improvement.

The catalyst for home improvement.

I am a laid back guy when it comes to my living spaces. I once slept a few weeks in a basement that had two inches of water creating a situation where my mattress in the middle of the room looked more like an island than a sleeping area. I spent a few months crashing on the couch of two extremely generous girls after sending most of my other material possessions back to my parent's house. The custom fluorescent bathroom light in one of my old apartments was faulty for two years, flickering in a low-lit and slightly buzzing creepy manner that gave off a seriously and disconcertingly air of creeping dread. I called it the Clive barker effect and it didn't get fixed until Photogal moved in and demanded I call my landlord THAT SECOND.

My current apartment has its own catalog of eccentricities that I've mostly ignored over the last year since I moved in. The pantry door is off its hinge and the ceiling in my family room needs cosmetic patching now that my landlord finally fixed the leak ... and these are just two of a few repairs that I actually had written into my lease. But, true to form, I am so laid back I haven't really hounded him to make these repairs. And, to be absolutely honest, the fact that he and the building management were so gracious and patient when Betty was driving the building insane with her barking has probably led to me being even more forgiving of any delays in repairs. Plus, this sort of stuff just doesn't get to me. (Dirty dishes drive me nuts, but a crack in the wall or a door that sticks doesn't really bug me.

Recently I've had to reassess my relaxed attitude due to some alarming developments. Before I moved in I was told there was a fire in the unit below mine. No biggie. I did notice when I was loading stuff in on that freezing February morning a year ago that there was what one might call a "soft" spot on the floor. It was an area where the wood felt a little flexible and just not as solid as the floor surrounding that section. Again, no biggie. I just avoided stepping on that spot.

In the last year though I've noticed a few more spots appearing, and a month or two ago I even noticed that my bathroom floor seemed to be shifting on a seam. My floors have never been even -- water in the kitchen flows south and pools in front of my fridge if it hits the ground -- but they've never started to resemble geological fault lines. And those soft spots are growing...

Again, I would probably be inclined to let all of this slide, but I've discovered I actually want to be proactive about this and make my apartment a nicer place to live. Now in every previous experience similar to this -- including the ones detailed above -- it took an outside catalyst to finally motivate me to action, and this time is no different. You see, GalPal moved in this weekend, and I'd kind of like to make the place as nice as possible for her. (And, as far as those sketchy areas of the floor are concerned, as safe for her too!)

And that is the big news I was eluding to last Monday. Exciting, huh?!

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