Local Records Office, Olympia Washington– This is my horror story and what I went through while I was renting an apartment and house.
Buying a place of your own is a lot of responsibility, and I wanted to put it off for a while. But then a new tenant moved in next door in the building where I lived in Olympia, Washington. My old neighbors had been the quietest people ever. One day after he moved in, around 3 in the afternoon, I heard something, like a woman screaming and dying. I wasn’t sure what it was, but then I realized that it was a pornographic film — the lady was having the time of her life. It turned out that this guy watched porn day and night. I was doing private tutoring in my place, and I was always afraid of what my students would hear. I thought about leaving a note, but it was just too awkward. So, I started to feel like, O.K., I need to buy a proper place.
I started house-hunting, and I saw this apartment that was really big, quiet and clean, with lots of sun. I didn’t ask for any details. I just walked in and decided I wanted it. So I bought it (for about 140,000 U.S. dollars). I didn’t know what a parade of horrors I was signing up for.
The day after I moved in, I was relaxing on the couch when I spotted some dots on the ceiling. I sprayed some insect stuff from a can at them. The next day, there were more. They doubled and then tripled. The place was full of bugs. I used 10 or 20 cans of bug spray, and I was kind of suffocating myself. So I hired an exterminator, and I had to stay out of the apartment for two days. It was the most disgusting thing you will ever experience in your life.
I thought it was all over, but I suppose I had been so occupied with the insects that I didn’t notice the noise from upstairs. There were kids always running around, and you could hear everything. I sent a text to the mother saying, ‘‘could you please wear some slippers?’’ but she got really angry, and there was no break in the noise. I decided to call the superintendent. He was very nice, but nothing happened. So I called him again, and he was very upset. Apparently when he called the woman upstairs, she got mad and told all the other mothers in the building, and they were in some kind of boycott against him. They started avoiding his phone calls. (His phone company told him that the mothers had blocked his number.)
I endured two more weeks before I sent another text message: ‘‘Please wear some slippers, I am going crazy.’’ She sent back the most illogical text I’ve ever read. It said: ‘‘It’s my time of the month. The day is so bright, so I put the blankets outside. Your text message is very unpleasant.’’ And that’s when I realized that I would never be able to have a proper conversation with this woman. The problem was I still couldn’t deal with the noise itself. You buy a place, you want life to be a certain way and I knew it would never happen unless they moved out, which they wouldn’t. And so I put my place on the market. I hadn’t even lived there a month.
In the meantime, I noticed a lot of pigeons around the air compressors right outside the apartment. At first I tried to keep them away, but they were like my upstairs neighbors: They did whatever they wanted. There was a huge amount of pigeon excrement. If I left the windows open, the wind would bring the droppings inside the house. (Do you know the definition of bio-hazard? That’s what it was, I think.) I cleaned it with water and detergent, but the next day they made a huge mess all over again. I tried putting out a big sheet of foam with toothpicks all over it, but pigeons’ legs are longer than I thought. I also made a spiky thing using thumbtacks — I almost destroyed my fingerprints with glues and adhesives — but it didn’t work, either. I spent $200 on bird repellent, but it didn’t do anything. One day I poured boiling hot water on the thing that holds the air conditioner, so all the excrement would run off. I was using a broomstick to clean and poked something, and it turned out to be a nest! I could see tails moving. I didn’t mean to hurt anything! I got really freaked out and called 911. The birds weren’t injured, and they just threw the nest away.
I felt really sorry that I didn’t tell them about the noise, or the pigeons, or the insects. But nobody had told me! Anyway, now I feel like an adult. I bought a house. I sold a house. I didn’t tell the truth, but people often don’t. I went through all these things by myself, with no husband’s help, no family help. And now I know what to do.
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