Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Window Pain- If you don't read this post your finger will be broken.

This is a terrible time to start a blog. I've been thinking about starting one for months, maybe even a year, and I chose the day after I break a critical typing finger to do so. Last night my kitten, Maha (pictures will come), unleashed her fury in the litter pan (no pictures to come). Gasping for air, I naturally went to open a window. Well, whatever mechanism keeps windows from sliding down gave up on itself like a Met in September, and in one slamming motion the window crushed the tip of my middle finger.

Initial thought: my realtor is an asshole, and so is my kitten. Which brings me to the point of my first post, and that is a few tips for Temple students, or any inner-city students for that matter, who are planning to move into off campus housing. There are many obscure pitfalls that can easily be looked for, but are not often thought of, especially by us college kids. So with great difficulty in typing with a splint, and some zenmaster-like appreciation for my asshole landlord and kitten for kick starting my bloggin' dreams, I give you my first post.

But first, what does Temple advise students to look for? According to Temple's Off Campus Living Website, you should look for the following things: "smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, signs of water damage, exposed wiring, exposed pipes, check that the locks on the doors and windows are working, proper lighting in hallways, clearly marked emergency exits, check out the basement if there is one, run the water in the sinks, flush the toilet, turn on the shower & if at all possible, speak with other tenants and/or neighbors and ask them how they like living there."

All in all not a bad list, besides pissing off whoever is giving you a tour by playing with something every time they turn their backs like you forgot to take your Ritalin before you came. But better to piss them off now than you being pissed off later. Just a few things to add or clarify.

+ You guessed it, check to make sure your windows stay open. This may seem unimportant or rare, but in my personal history it is not. Many of the houses I have seen have windows that do not stay up, and besides the fact that you can break your finger; it does become very annoying when you want to open it up one day. Or you can just use your chem book to prop it open.

+ Mouse holes. A big thing I couldn't believe didn't get mentioned. Check the floorboards and baseboards carefully, especially ones out of sight like in the corner of a closet. Actually, it is probably a good idea in general to check places a little out of sight. These are spots where your asshole landlord probably missed something when he came in the day before to try and fix everything in 10 minutes that the previous tenant complained about for a year. If you have mice, one WILL climb up your pajama bottoms in the middle of the night, scaring you and anybody else who may be in your bed at that time. Trust me, it happens. Drop a piece of cheese when you first walk in. If it's gone by the time you leave, you're probably in trouble. Note: ignore this if you are lonely and need the company.

+ Test the closet rack or pole. Do a couple pull ups on whatever will be carrying the weight of your clothing in your closet. You'll get good exercise, intimidate your landlord, and find out if your clothing will all crash to the floor after you took all that time to color coordinate it. Triple threat, baby. Note: ignore this if you just throw all your clothes on the floor anyways.

+ Wired for cable? Are you sure? A couple times now I've been in places where the cabling doesn't work for shit, or there is no cable at all. People take it for granted so they often miss the fact that it isn't there. Note: Skip this if you don't watch TV, and then think about how lame you are.

+ Does your landlord speak English or have a business card? If not, good luck. Note: if you are a landlord who doesn't speak English, you don't understand a word I'm writing right now.

+ Ask to look under the light fixtures to see what kind of bulbs they use. Many times, it's some weird ass bulb that you can only buy at Home Depot on Columbus Boulevard. When your hallway light goes out, good luck getting your landlord out or getting down there to buy one in the next few days. Be in the dark. Stumble around. Stub your toe. Scare your roommates. Have fun with it.

+ Got a basement? How many people do you think you could fit down there? Can cops see into it? If there were cop lights outside, and people inside, would they see the lights and freak-out?


+ Do your washer and dryer sound like they're dying? Is the pipe connected properly?

+ Finally, pet ownership. If you have to, get a cat. Mine is pretty easy to take care of; refill food and water when it's low, change the litter 2-3 times a week, get it some shots and watch how goofy it can be. Few potential problems: clawing up your stuff, stinking up your room, pouncing on your head at 2 am, and meowing sometimes. If you like cats, it’s worth it. Can't speak for dogs, but they seem like they would be a lot more work and my neighbor looks miserable when she is walking it at 12 on a Friday night. If your landlord has a pet policy, they probably won't enforce it. They like your money.

This concludes my slightly unorthodox suggestions for those moving into a new place. So unless you are a lonely, messy, dirty, bookworm vampire it probably would be in your benefit to take note of them. If you are a lonely, messy, dirty, bookworm vampire, you should live in my place. In general, use your common sense and look around the area. If you see sketchy things, it is probably a bad idea, not that we have much of a choice (more of that in a later post). Thanks for reading.

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