Thursday, December 14, 2006

Inspection Update

Like a woman about to cuckold her husband, I nervously awaited the housing inspector yesterday afternoon. I had the fear of God that my landlord would come by and be doing things while the inspector was in the building and my two lives would come careening together to leave me with nothing. (This is a good idea. I am pitching it to Lifetime. Love in the Time of Rat Feces: A Very Special Lifetime Movie.)

The inspector showed up, sadly not in a Hazmat suit, and asked for a mop. I gave it to him, and watched as he played around with the emergency lights in the main hallway. After a few minutes in the top floors of the building, he came back down to my subterranean bunker of solitude. I filled him in on the myriad reasons I called him into the building.

"Now, it's not to say that I don't believe ya, hon, but I'm going to have to find some proof of rats up there to make ya landlohd come fix it." He had a thick Boston accent which was a nice treat. He stood on the arm of my couch, poked his head in where he'd slid aside a ceiling panel, and cooed out, "Ohhhh yeah, they've been in here. There's rat poop everywhere." I cowered in the opposite corner of the apartment.

"Wanna come take a look?" He asked, delighted in my squeamishness.

"No, thanks," I replied quickly.

"C'maaaahn, take a peek. They won't come out now. They're more scared of you than you are of them."

Begrudgingly, I got up on the sofa. In my ceiling were several D-Con boxes and quite a few big rat turds. It was a network of pipes and wires above my head, with only about a foot of space between the drop ceiling and my neighbor's floor. This was a cold comfort that at least the kindergartener-sized rats probably wouldn't fit in there.

"You got some gloves?" The inspector asked.


"Because I can squeeze 'em to see how long they've been up there," the inspector said, referring to the turds.

"Uh, no."

"Yeah. I don't wanna squeeze 'em either."

He slid the panel back on, poked around my bathroom to see if he could tell what caused my bathroom fire (everything was fine, according to him, it may have been just a short in the old fixture), looked at the aging outlets that sometimes don't work, and my rotted-out sink cabinet base. He wrote everything down on a large form, handed me a copy, and told me a constable would go to my landlord's house to serve him with the papers next week.

"Now I'm gonna tell him to make these repairs in a week," the inspector said, "but that doesn't mean he has to complete them. I just wanna light a fire under his ass and get him moving. Normally, I'd give him thirty days to work with the rats, but since there's wires up there it's a little more important that he take care of it sooner since rats will chew the wires. I'm gonna get back in touch with you and work with you to make sure he takes care of this."

"Man, he's going to be pissed," I said, eyeballing the door to make sure the landlord wouldn't walk in on me calling the cops on him.

"There's some numbers on the back of this form to call and give you legal advice if you think you need it. He'll probably be a little mad, but this is all stuff he can fix."

Next week I'm going to have an Irishman and his temperamental wife angry with me, but hopefully I will also be on my way to living a rat-free existence.

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