I have recently moved (still in the process of moving) from 412 Oakridge Ave., Apt. 37 across town (actually northward). I had not planned on moving from the apartment that I had lived in for 15 years (Oakridge Place — originally Queen Anne Apartments, when I first moved there) until Wednesday before last (June 20th, 2012). On that Wednesday morning, I got up showered, got dressed and went to the Rainbow Restaurant, as I have many times in the last 15 years. During my breakfast, I got a call, which is highly unusual for me to get any calls on my phone. It was the secretary from Jones & Jones (heating & air guys) and she was wanting to know if I could meet the repair guy to let him into my apartment. It was about 8:06 am, and I said it would take me about 20 minutes to finish breakfast and meet him there. It ended up taking about 15 minutes, and he arrived about 5 minutes after I got back to my apartment.
Two guys came in. One was older (I took this to be one of the Jones of “Jones & Jones”.) and one a very large man, who apparently was an air conditioning expert (a company vendor rep). They headed back to the closet where the ventilation fan was located. They started to discuss the matter, and one said he needed a tape measure. I reached in a nearby drawer and pulled out two tape measures. The older gentleman took one.
The expert made a comment about the door width being only 28” and that it was going to difficult (hinting at impossible) to get the replacement unit through the closet doorway.
As I listened to them, and before they left my apartment, I realized that this was the process that I understood had gone on the next week after I had reported my air conditioning was out to Gina at Downing & Downing, LLC (Dick Street). The Thursday before Memorial Day, I had called Gina about 11am and reported my outage. I hoped, but really did not expect anyone to come out and determine what the problem was until after the holiday. *I took my short South Carolina mini-vacation (Santee, Columbia, Spartanburg) over that weekend. *When all this started we were still having incredibly pleasant and unseasonably, cool weather for June. But, if you have ever imagined a train wreck in slow motion… where the train is a long way down the tracks, but you know the car is just not going to get off the tracks, no matter how long you give the train to get there. That is the feeling I came to embrace regarding “them,” Downing & Downing (Gina) getting my air fixed before it became incredibly hot.
I asked how long it would take to special order the unit. The expert said he did not know. He would have to go back and research the solution, and then he would let the other gentleman (Jones?) know later that morning. I asked the older gentleman if he would give me a call when he knew how long the process would take. He said he would. He still hasn’t called, but that may be because Gina told him that since I was moving, there was no need to “rush” (ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ad infinitum, etc.) getting a replacement unit.
I was livid. This was 27 days after I had first talked with Gina about my air being out. We had gone past all those unseasonably mild Summer days, and now June 20th was the start of the back to back, 90 degree plus days. *I panicked. Gail, the on-site rental manager, had asked me a day or so earlier, if I wanted to move to another unit within the complex. I told her, “No. I just want my air conditioning fixed in my apartment.” I called Gina, but she wasn’t in yet. I am supposing that I spoke with one of the Downings, although I don’t know that for a fact. The gentleman was polite, and listened as I “downloaded” my frustration on him, and then said he would relay the message to Gina when she came in.
I headed on to the office. In the hour or so until Gina called me, I my anger subsided and I decided that I would have to move across the complex to #8, which had recently been remodeled and in which the air was working gloriously. When Gina called, I was calm. I told her I would move into #8 since it was indeterminable as to how long it would take to fix the air in my apartment. *15 years. I’ve been a tenant at Oakridge Place/Queen Anne Apartments for fifteen years.
That night after work, I went back to the apartments and headed to #8. But, I noticed that the outside lights for the whole apartment complex were out. The stairs were dark. And, then something finally clicked, and I said to myself, “I don’t want to live here anymore.” I don’t want to move across the complex. I rehearsed the steps down, and across and up, and up further to #8, that it would take time after time to move my stuff from #37 to #8. I thought of how out of control these people were. They couldn’t get my air fixed in almost a month, in the summer time, and they couldn’t provide safe lighting in the stairwells at night. *It took several days before the outside lights were fixed. A downstairs neighbor got a motion sensitive light and installed it at the corner of his apartment. *This was fine, but it didn’t come on until I had come down the dark stairwell. Going up was fine.
The next morning, Thursday, I got online and googled for apartments in Fayetteville, NC. I found three that I wanted to take a look at. One was new, and the other two were older communities. I told my boss that I was going to work for a few hours Thursday and Friday, and afterward go out apartment hunting. I figured that I wouldn’t find anything the first day, but hoped that it wouldn’t take more than a few days to decide on something.
The web site for “Ansley at Patriot Park” looked great. The 1 bedroom units seemed well laid out and at a reasonable price… although I had been paying several hundred dollars less at Oakridge Place. There were photos of actual rental units on the web site. I went to lunch and then headed up Ramsey Street to find Ansley at Patriot Park. I had printed out a Google Maps map for the immediate vicinity. It showed that the apartment complex should be just off of McCloskey Rd.
I found McCloskey Road easily and turned down it. I went past a new complex, Longhill Pointe, on my right, and then an old VFW building, and then nothing but pine trees on either side for quite a distance. My phone’s GPS showed that I had gone well past where Ansley at Patriot Park should have been located. I turned around in the middle of the road and headed back the way I had come. I drove through Longhill Pointe and asked a young man, who was one of the laborers working on finishing up the townhomes, if he knew where Ansley was located. He didn’t know. I asked, just for reference, how much these units were going for. He said he thought they were from $800 to $1,100 a month.
I headed on to find my original destination. On the way, I realized that I needed gas. I called the Ansley number and was directed through the various choices by an automated system… no human being even at the end. I got gas and thought about checking out the apartments across the street, but wanted to make one more effort to find Ansley. I would go down Ramsey further and see if I had turned in the wrong road. *I hadn’t.
I came back to Longhill Pointe, and turned into the rental office. Several signs were positioned at the head of the parking spaces, “Future Resident”. I went inside and found a young woman, Sierra, and asked her how much the one bedroom units rented for. I didn’t hear the exact figure, but as soon as she said $700 (she said $725), my ears perked up. Hey, I could handle $700 “something” a month. These were brand new units. I told her, “Let’s talk.”
We went over and sat down and began to converse about the complex, and units. There was a 1 bedroom available, immediately, and it was on the first floor. Sierra and I eventually took a golf cart a short distance down Foothill Lane and went into my possible new home. *It was fantastic. It was new. The appliances were black. The countertops were not stone, but looked nice. There was a built-in microwave and dishwasher, a place for a washer and dryer, and a little covered deck just outside the sliding glass doors. This was IT!
Sierra and I went back to the office and began to go over the info I would need to provide the company to verify that I was the wonderful tenant that could pay the monthly rent. I emailed most of what was needed back to the office within the hour. *I sent a PDF of my income statement, and called immediately afterwards to see if they had gotten it. I’m talking about 30 seconds after I had mailed it, they had the document open, and were reading the info off of it. Sierra was out of the office showing another unit, but the three girls (women) in the office (there may be more, but I’ve only seen three) are “interchangeable”. I mean “interchangeable” in the most complimentary way. In talking to the 3, it was like talking to one. Without “skipping a beat”, each one of them easily, and quickly looked at my info, knew what needed to be done next, was providing me with what I needed. I found that unusual, but very pleasing.
I came back the next day, Friday, at about 3pm to go over and sign the contract. The contract was lengthy, but I was in air conditioned comfort and heading toward a happy place. Believe me, my initial experience has been incredibly pleasant. Okay, the toilet flap doesn’t always seat properly and the water will then run endlessly. But, I’m counting on Victor to “be on it” when I notify them again that it needs to be fixed. *The problem is intermittent, but you don’t want to have to wait after each flush to see if its going to work or not.
I have so much stuff. There was no way that I was going to be able to complete my move in 10 days, before month’s end. I’ve already sent my July 2012 rent check, which should have arrived by today. But, I am going to contest having to pay a full month’s rent for both June and July, when there has been no air conditioning in the place. This past weekend we had several days of 100+ degree weather. Hey! You just can’t pack things up and move them in that kind of weather. At least an obese, “fat man” can’t. But the job continues and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
[In Part II, I’ll let you know how wonderful it is to wake up each morning in my new apartment. My “good deal” with Time Warner Cable after asking for one for a couple of years. My Laz-Y-Boy furniture order, etc. It is so good to be in my new place! Thank God!!!]