Sunday, August 20, 2006

Oh Dear Sweet Jesus It's Hot

After a day spent out and about to avoid the harsh reality of a still-broken air conditioner, I'm back at my top secret base of operations in the Baltimore suburbs, where things have been upgraded from "hot" to "broiling." Not good.

Those who know me know I love to dwell on things that piss me off, so just to make myself feel crazy I'm going to go over the facts of the situation for the folks at home:

1) At some point on the night of July 17, my A/C broke the first time. No biggie, I thought. I've been living here 3 1/2 years, so it was bound to happen. First thing the next morning I call it into Hendersen-Webb's maintenance line, at which point I'm told "it will definitely be fixed [that day]."

2) I come home from work "that day," and the A/C wasn't fixed. In fact, no one from maintenance had even been in the apartment. (They always leave green calling cards/notes when they enter your pad.) I call maintenance again. I'm apologized to, and am assured it will be fixed the next day.

3) "The next day" comes and go with a repeat of the first day. I'm starting to feel all Bill Murray in Groundhog Day-ish.

4) Finally, on the day after the next day, maintenance comes. They don't fix the air conditioner -- it needed a new compressor, which had to be ordered -- but at least they were there.

5) On the fourth day, everything's finally fixed. Sure, it took a little longer than I might've hoped, but at least the deed was done.

6) Or so I thought. About three weeks later, on the night of Saturday, August 12, it breaks again. Good thing Hendersen-Webb has emergency weekend maintenance service, I thought. Ha! Turns out that you need to be on a special "medical emergency" list to get your A/C fixed on a weekend. Great. So I wait till Monday morning, and call maintenance again.

7) Remember #1 & #2? Yeah, they played out again on Monday and Tuesday, to the point where I'd had enough. Playing detective, I tracked down a corporate HQ number for Hendersen-Webb [(410) 628-7400], and left a blistering voicemail in which I pointed out: A) I'm a 3 1/2-year tenant who always paid his rent on time (if not early); B) They clearly hadn't fixed the A/C right the first time if it broke again 3 weeks later; C) I was sick of being told "someone will definitely be out that day" when they clearly weren't; and D) There wasn't a chance in hell I was renewing my lease in a few months if someone didn't get out there and fix my A/C the next day. Then I went to bed, and had yet another sweaty night's sleep.

8) Wednesday, 9:15 a.m.: I get a call from my apartment complex's property manager, who listens to everything I have to say and swears on the life of the baby Christ that my air conditioner will be fixed that day. Lo and behold, five hours later I get a phone call confirming this promise. I get home, and sure enough it's colder than a witch's tit. Outstanding.

9) Until Thursday night, when the A/C breaks for the third time in less than a month! The only saving grace is, thanks to Caller ID I now have the property manager's direct line. Which I use first thing the next morning.

10) It's the next morning, and the property manager is flabbergasted. The chief maintenance officer or whatever is right there with her, and the dude is on the way to my apartment as I speak. He'd better be, I think to myself.

11) After work, I go out for drinks and to see, uh, that movie about flying serpents that's getting all the free publicity. I get home around 12:30, 1 in the morning, and guess what? NO GODDAMNED AIR CONDITIONING! Which means I'm now facing, at the very least, an additional weekend of hot air on top of everything that had come before. I call the corporate number again, leave a rambling, semi-profane voicemail about my plans for legal action and lease breakage, then call it a night.

12) So here we are on Sunday, and I've now gone 11 days without A/C in July and August, despite the fact that I'm paying rent for an apartment with working A/C. Despite the fact they clearly can't fix the thing, there has been no talk of installing a new unit. There have also been no offers of a window or portable A/C unit, or temporary lodging in an apartment with a working unit -- not even a reduction in next month's rent! Just nearly two weeks of hot, hot, hot, with no firm end in sight.

So a big middle finger for Hendersen-Webb. If you read in Tuesday's papers about their offices being firebombed, you can take that as a sign that I still don't have cold air. Those fuckers.

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