The landlady's ritual was to tape up the mail slot every winter. Observe:
The normal routine was for me to rip off the duct tape whenever I saw it affixed and then hope that I got my mail. This year was different because I was anxiously awaiting my tax forms so that I could quickly do my taxes and then apply for a mortgage. The duct tape removal wasn't going so well and at some point the landlady switched to clear tape, which was more difficult to take off. I'd remove the tape and then the tape reappeared an hour or so later. I'd become exasperated. My roommate was also quite frustrated with this tape fiasco -- so much so that one day she left a note on the door. It read, "Please stop taping the mail slot. I'm waiting for important tax documents..." Then, she signed her name.
She also was so angered that she ripped the duct tape off too violently and part of the mail slot came off with it. This was minor damage, mind you (just a few screws needed to be tightened) but the situation was not as the landlady and daughter saw it. I got a phone message three or four days later that said, "Hi Meghan how ya' doin'" all in a Brooklyn accent. That first line were the only friendly words muttered. "You have a ROOMMATE. By the name of ERIN," she began. I could hear the landlady's voice coaching in the background... She raised her voice until the end of the message was almost a shout. "She DESTROYED THE MAIL SLOT. If we have to get a man in here to fix it she's going to be charged... NO... YOU'RE going to be charged!" I got so annoyed by the whole situation that I contacted a lawyer and then called the Post Master General.
A lady from the Post Master General's office said, "Well, she can't do that. She can't tape the mail slot. That's illegal!"
Well, what do I do about it?" I asked.
"Call the police!"
"Uh... the police?"
"Yes. The police. It's a crime. They'll have to come and investigate."
"I can't call the police on my landlady..."
So instead of calling the police on my 80 year old landlady I wrote the landlady and daughter a letter. I requested that the tape be removed and that the radiator also be repaired (it was 58 degrees in my side of the apartment during the day - also illegal). Observe:
After my letter was received the landlady stopped speaking to me. When I left the building one day the landlady immediately snapped her head in the opposite direction, as if I didn't exist. After that I was so uncomfortable I would walk laps around the block drive in circles until the landlady would stop lingering in front of the door. She was a lingerer so it was a problem.
So out I went. I have been wishing to purchase an apartment for some time so I though it was the perfect time to do so. Little did I know that the attempted coop purchase would drag on and on and would be a complete nightmare. When I say nightmare I mean it. That, however, is a blogpost for another rainy day.
So I had to leave my apartment, which was a huge drama because by the time the movers arrived at 10 am I was still packing! I didn't finish and they moved what I was able to pack.
I don't know why I look happy here because there was nothing happy about the situation. I think I was delirious - My friends Natalie and Christina helped me pack (thank you!) the day before but as they said, "I don't think you're going to finish," and they were right! It was such a disaster.
It turns out that not finishing my packing mattered because the storage space I got was too small. As the movers finally saw the light of day (after 3 hours of waiting) they wheeled out one of my desk chairs. "It won't fit," one of them said.
So my sister (thank goodness for her!) and I drove back to my apartment with the desk chair inmy car and continued packing and throwing out stuff. By the end (3 am.) I was so tired I wasn't thinking straight. I left a huge container of money on the street. I didn't feel like fitting it in the car. I don't know if it would fit anyway. It was gone within 30 seconds! Go figure. My sister and I discussed how we were going to give it to a homeless person but I was too tired to find one.
One the drive to my parents' house I kept falling asleep. It became such a problem that I pulled over at a rest-stop and got a coffee. I drank the coffee but to no avail. I had swift dreams about people standing on the highway and other horrors. My head kept slumping violently and the car repeatedly hit the rumble strip. I knew this was no way to drive to RI. I hit another rest-stop. The car was so packed with the belongings I managed to keep that I couldn't see out of the back window. The passenger seat was also full. I pushed over what I could and found my pillow and made a painful place for my head to rest. Metal things kept pressing into my neck and side but apparently that didn't matter. I slept for a good hour. When I awoke the sun barely peaked over the hideous McDonalds structure, glowing the thing blue. In fact everything was blue with the glow of a new day. I started the car and prayed that I could make it the rest of the way without falling asleep again.
I arrived at my parents' house at 7 in the morning. Now it's not my parents' house... it's my house too, for the time being I guess.
Stay tuned for my travels PART 1