Monday, August 29, 2011

Beware of Misanthrope

My lease doesn't end for another month, but the rental company that manages my building has already started showing my apartment to prospective tenants almost every day, all day. This means that random strangers have been coming in and out of my apartment, making me paranoid that they're going to run off with my laptop, or worse, my stash of M&Ms.

I know that it's important for the rental company to show the apartment to other people. After all, I don't own the apartment; I just pay rent on it. They need to make sure that every apartment is being rented, and the best way to do that is to let people see what the place looks like.

If I had a normal 9-5 job, it wouldn't matter. I wouldn't even be at home when the people stop by. But because I am a broke grad student, I spend a lot of time at home. And I am fiercely protective of my privacy, mainly because I don't want people to see me weeping over my laptop or tearing my hair out over a stack of textbooks. I also don't want people to see all the Coke bottles and empty coffee cups scattered on the floor and on my desk.

I also like to take naps in the afternoon, but now I feel like I can't sleep until six-thirty P.M. when the tenants stop showing up (and by then it's too late to take a nap). I was able to get the building engineer to call me beforehand if anyone is planning to stop by. That's a good thing, because I can be very cranky when someone wakes me up in the middle of a nap. Then all hell breaks loose and people start screaming, "Oh no, they've woken up the beast! RUN!"

For the most part the prospective tenants usually just stop by with the realtors for a few minutes. But occasionally I find myself watching them warily while I pretend to work at my laptop.

Prospective tenant: So is this a quiet building?
Me: Usually. Most of the people who live here are young professionals. Everyone's pretty nice. Except when they're coming home drunk at two A.M., stealing other people's packages, and throwing their cigarette butts all over the front yard.

I decided to hire a moving company, because I don't have a truck to transport all of my furniture. I could have rented a U-haul, but I don't really trust myself to drive it. I actually don't even know how to parallel park, because I grew up in a small town where it wasn't really necessary to know how to do it. I also think it's because I accidentally ran over a can of disinfectant that had been left on the curb during one of my driving lessons; the can flew up and exploded all over the window. I think my driver's ed teacher figured that teaching me how to do anything else after that was a lost cause.

I'm moving to a building that's only a couple blocks away, but the moving company has all these fees. There's the base fee, the even though this may only take one hour we're going to charge you for three hours because that's how we roll fee, and the we're carrying all this heavy stuff for you so be THANKFUL fee. (There's also the tip to consider.)

My current rental company also manages the building that I'll be moving into, but they are still charging me fees. I had to pay the first month's rent, along with a nonrefundable $300 move-in fee. I can't help wondering what the move-in fee is for, seeing as how they're not actually helping me move in. Maybe it's to protect the building against any possible damage that might result from the moving process. One year two new tenants at my current building were in the process of moving in when they crashed their furniture into the front door (which is made of glass), causing it to shatter into a bunch of tiny pieces. One of the tenants scratched his head and said, "I think I broke it." They didn't bother to apologize, clean up, or even tell the building engineer what they'd done. Maybe they thought no one would notice.

All this hassle of moving (and I haven't even started packing yet) has made me remember why I chose to stay in an apartment I disliked for so long. But I can't think about it for too long, because I have to hide the Coke bottles and coffee cups. And also my M&Ms.


  1. I take naps in the afternoon, and I am the same way when people wake me up. I was on vacation with another couple, and fell asleep during the middle of the day. Husband and our guy friend were watching tv. When they woke me up to go to dinner, my reaction was RAWR!!!! I think I frightened my guy friend for a bit, but Husband just make a joke about it. I would be seriously peeved if someone walked through my apartment while I was still there, mostly because I would be over-analyzing their reactions the whole time. Good luck moving; my fear and hate of moving is the main reason why I haven't moved in three years.

  2. This was a great post and you kept me giggling the whole way through. What a mess to have to move! I hope it all gets worked out. Maybe you'll catch a break where the fees are concerned. Miracles happen every day! LOL

  3. I've never understood why service businesses charge fees to do things they should already do. So you want to charge a fee? Include it in the price of the service! Drives me bonkers. Good luck with your move. I hope no one steals your M&M's. That would be a travesty! For real.

  4. Moving is the worst. Also, I would be so weirded out by people being in my apartment. Like I know that the broker is with them, but still... But I did like when the people were home when I went to see places so I could ask them questions. Even though usually they were nicer about the place than was actually true, just like you, haha.

  5. Hi Anna,
    I also feel weird about watching TV while they're walking through the apartment, because I feel like the TV would distract them or something. And I try not to eat when they're there, either, because I feel self-conscious when other people see me eating; I feel like I should offer them something to eat too.

    Hi Melissa,
    Thanks! My rental company did give me a small discount on the move-in fee, but it's still a significant sum to pay. I wish it was refundable, like the security deposit, especially if I don't damage anything when I move in.

    Hi E.R. King,
    I hired this moving company the last time I moved, so they're pretty reliable. But they should totally include the extra fees in the price of service, because it's so expensive. And I don't have that much stuff anyway, because I can't afford to buy all the furniture I wish I could have. (My dream is to have a really great "writer's desk".)

    Hi mmarinaa,
    Actually, the former tenant of my current apartment was at home when I came to see the place for the first time. I liked the way she'd decorated the apartment, and I thought that I might decorate the place in a similar way. But I'm not as efficient as she was when it comes to decorating. So even though I've lived here for years I never made much of an effort in fixing it up.

  6. I feel your pain. I'm very protective of my space, too, and I can't sleep if I know someone might come round. I love afternoon naps!

    Moving is such a hassle, but hopefully once you're settled in, it will be worth it.

  7. Hi Talli,
    I usually wake up early, so I always get sleepy by the afternoon. Naps are good because they make it easier for me to do my work in the evening, and it's a chance for me to just relax. I think all adults should be able to take naps during the afternoon. I think everyone would be happier that way.

  8. Gotta watch out for M&M thieves.

    Moving is so expensive. Ugh. I don't blame you for being unmotivated. I've lived in rentals where the place has been shown. It forced me to live neater than I would otherwise.

  9. Hi Theresa,
    I do feel like I should clean up my apartment every time people come by, but it's so much work. And I'm going to have to clean out the place anyway when I move out in a few weeks.
    I wish I had a pickup truck that I could just load all my furniture in, but there aren't a lot of pickup trucks around here in Chicago. I also wish I had superhuman strength so that I could move all the furniture myself rather than pay other people to do it.

  10. Aw shame that's horrid. Good luck with the move!

  11. Hi Misha,
    Thanks! I just wish I could pay someone to pack my stuff for me and clean out my apartment too, sighhh...