Posted by: silverstar98121 | September 29, 2008

Securely Insecure

My building has a lot of security. Or at least it tries. We have proximity cards to get in the lobby, and a paging system to answer the door. After 5PM, you can’t ring anyone in, you have to go down and let them in. This keeps the bad guys from just ringing apartments until somebody lets them in. And if you are stupid enough to go down and let somebody you don’t  know in, we see both of you on the security camera. This plays on channel two in the building, and it seems like there is always a busy body watching the door. Which is a good thing, because the taping system is antiquated, and I don’t think they make tapes anymore.But the system keeps most of the troublemakers out.

I found out about the busy bodies a while ago when I forgot my security card in my apartment, and spent half an hour ringing my neighbors to let me in. It was at o’dark thirty, and nobody was awake. But then one of the busy bodies came down and let me in. I was ready to kiss his feet. Or anything else he wanted.

So the other night, The Boyo did a drive by. The security phone rang at o’dark thirty. Usually The Boyo calls before he comes over. So I figured it was some drunk who wanted me to come down and let him in, but he didn’t know the guy’s last name. Yeah right! But no, it was The Boyo. Due to a long career of working shifts, I can’t seem to get to sleep before dawn these days, so I was up.

He hadn’t called because the charger for his cell phone wasn’t working, and he wanted to get the spare he keeps at my place. And then, since he was here, he wanted to take a shower. He lives in the office building he is remodeling, and there are no showers there. He takes sponge baths, but when he comes over, he showers. And then, since he was clean and naked…Well, you write the rest of the story.

One of the reasons I can’t sleep until dawn, besides my history of shift work is that for a couple of years there was a drug dealer living next door. And I’m here to tell you that meth addicts are noisy. He had his girlfriend over all the time, and just about the time I’d be sleepy and ready to go to bed, she’d start in fighting with him. Now, in no way do I condone domestic violence, but I was about ready to go and slap her silly myself a lot of times. But I called the police instead. Eventually, after numerous complaints both to the management and the police, and them going to court to stop the eviction a bunch of times, we finally got rid of them. But it was a rough couple of years. And I’m still paying the price.

I’m grateful for the locked door. The building The Boyo and I lived in when we were first together was stupidly set up. You needed a card to get in the front door, but you could walk in the side door, where there were some shops, until late at night. That lasted until there was a murder in the building, and then they decided maybe there should be a locked door between the shops and the residents.

That building was interesting. It had been pretty upscale at one time, but had been converted to senior housing with meals and housekeeping provided. And they even had a nursing home on one floor previously. But they started letting some folks like us in. They were trying to sell the building, and the old people weren’t paying the way, I guess.

By this time, the building was kind of ratty, and you got rusty water out of the pipes. We filtered all our water. And then they sold the building. Crap. Of course, the first thing is the rent went up. And they started to remodel the building. Only thing is they were doing a facelift on a building that needed a heart transplant. And they were doing it quick and dirty.

The Boyo, who is a union carpenter when he can do the work, knew the contractor, who had a bad reputation. And that contractor brought in a really scummy subcontractor from down south somewhere. And he brought in workers from down south. Way down south, like Guatamala. And there was only one guy on the crew who spoke English.

The unions take a lot of crap from the Republicans in this state (which is NOT a Right to Work for nothing state). They claim that the unions are full of illegal immigrants. And I’m not saying there aren’t some folks with false ID’s there. But this scumbag had a whole crew he was paying less than minimum wage under the table. The one guy who could speak English noticed that The Boyo was obviously a construction worker, and came to talk to him.

They were housing these guys in the part of the building that used to be a nursing home, working them 10-12 hours a day, and not paying them regular wages, much less overtime. And theatening them with immigration if they complained.

Meanwhile, we had to move to a less desireable apartment, smaller, at a higher rent. We’d come home and have to trip over all the crap and cords and stuff in the hallways. The remodeled apartment had really shoddy work in it. They had refinished the bathtub, and it started chipping after about a week. There were gouges in the new parquet flooring. But we now had a dishwasher… that leaked. Fun.

It all came to a head on the Fourth of July. The scumbag contractor was making the guys work, and not only work, but work overtime. For no overtime pay, of course. I guess the feces hit the oscillating rotator, because the next thing we knew, there was a new contractor in there, and the boys from down south were gone. I have no doubts that the bastards called immigration before they had to pay them. Worst of all, the scumbag didn’t take proper measures, and exposed not only his workers, but everybody in the buiding to asbestos. Or at least The Boyo is pretty sure that’s what that stuff was, and boy did they clean it up fast before he could get a sample when he started asking about it. Later, when they had to fix our hot water pipes, the workers looked like a haz-mat team. But that was with the slightly more ethical contractor that finished the job.

So I’m glad to be secure in my little nest. With a floor that has quiet neighbors that you rarely see. And now it’s almost dawn, and time for me to take Friday out, and then go crawl in the coffin.


  1. And I almost believed you when you said it was me and scrabble keeping you up all night . . .

  2. when my last house flooded, i had to have new flooring installed. three different crews – one for laminate, one for carpet and one for vinyl. The laminate guy worked mostly alone, was efficient and reasonably skilled. The carpet guys? Whined about having to move a small bookcase (i moved it), took smoke breaks every 15 minutes. the next day? they brought one guys 13 year old son along – and were going to leave him in the truck. i said he’d be welcome to come inside. they put him to work, and barked at him all morning – so i dragged him upstairs, turned on the tv and fed him a sandwich.

    the vinyl guys? most certainly illegal (or recently legal) immigrants. from Korea. spoke no english – crew chief came in with them, explained what needed doing, told me to call if i had any concerns, and then left. They were FABULOUS! Worked hard, moved a refrigerator back in place for me, did great work…in about half the time i expected. i looked up “thank you” in korean before they left… and made an offer to the crew chief to be a reference for them in the future.

    guess it was a fluke…. hope they were legal, and that they were earning benefits…

  3. Az- Well, I had to blame somebody.

    Daisy Fae- they may have been new immigrants, but I betcha they were legal and sponsored. And yes, you were lucky. Except for the carpet guys.

    As for my “illegals”, I blame the contractor for a lot of the problems. They weren’t professionals, probably straight off the street, and he wasn’t going to bother to do things properly while he was screwing everybody, including the building owners, since they had to redo a lot of the work.

  4. I’ve never heard of the expression “o’dark thirty” before

  5. Nurse Myra- It’s an American military expression for late at night when sane people are in bed.

  6. sane people… that would include me 🙂

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