Another Ceiling Incident

There are days when I think that I am cursed.
You might recall that it was not too long ago when my bathroom ceiling caved in, making my bathroom unusable for eight days. Unfortunately, now my living room ceiling above and next to my large picture window is getting ready to cave in. This means I might even lose the pane of glass itself — and knowing the special laws that govern my life, the glass will likely fall into my apartment and shatter on the floor, and become mixed in with hundreds of pounds of plaster, lathe and cockroach and mouse shit, causing me AND my birds great emotional distress and possible hazards to our health (my birds live in the living room, and I suffer severe, untreated allergies to cockroaches and nearly everything else on the planet as well as asthma).

Of course, the timing of this latest challenge is impeccable: my annual rent increase was just enacted and I paid it last week — an event that has literally kept me awake for many nights and days, worrying incessantly about how I will afford this. Not only that, but the building “super” (short for superintendent, I think), refuses to come look at the situation until tomorrow, at the earliest — and my .. erm, “super” never has shown up for even one appointment that he has scheduled with me until I actually file a formal complaint with the city.
Oh, and did I mention that I will leave for Finland in six days’ time, and I refuse to allow the “super” free access to my apartment when I am not there to protect my birds from whatever health threats he might inadvertently cause them as he attempts to repair these latest damages?


About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to Another Ceiling Incident

  1. anon says:

    This whole landlord thing is totally midieval. The tenant ultimately ends up paying for the cost of the building and maintenance anyway.
    It would make so much more sense to let the tenant own the place, then get insurance, etc. It wouldn’t cost anyone any extra, and you would have changed service providers long ago if they dragged their arses like this.
    One interesting perk of the whole landlord-owns-it thing is that, at least where I live, you CAN’T disallow the superintendent from entering. As long as they give a “reason” and 24 hours notice, they can walk right in.
    I have looked into this all in great depth, I talked to a paid lawyer twice, the local housing associations and everything. Not only can they come in, they can even do any old upgrade or modification they want, without paying me any compensation while my bedroom is a construction site. I asked all these things quite specifically.
    I won’t go into why….
    What really struck me is the response people had when I pointed out that I live here, and paying $30 a day to use the thing. Even the lawyer just got impatient with me, and said “well, he owns the property.” Um, not while I’m paying for it!
    There is too much economic motivation for landlords to misbehave like this – until that disappears, it will keep happening. There are a far greater fraction of bad landlords than their are “bad tenants”.

  2. Tabor says:

    I am so sorry to hear this and know that you must be really upset. Is there any chance that you could move to another area not so expensive and not so old? I know you want to stay in the area, but maybe it is time to make the big move.

  3. Luna_the_cat says:

    Who looks after your birds when you’re gone? Do they have somewhere that the birds can live (away from your apartment, I mean), and can the birds go there a few days early? Not that this is in any way a solution to anything, but then, if the ceiling DOES go at least the birds will be out of harm’s way.
    How you get *you* out of harm’s way is another matter, obviously.

  4. David Harmon says:

    Sorry to hear about these new troubles! You might well want to file that complaint earlier, on the basis that ceilings “ain’t supposed to do that”!
    Me, I moved down to Charlottesville, in large part to escape NYC rents. It’s made a lot of difference — I’m now living in a 1BR townhouse, for 2/3 of what I was paying for a studio in Forest Hills, so now my expenses are less than my disability payments!
    Admittedly, there aren’t so many museums and such down here, but there’s a lot more green space!