Archive for the ‘Apartment life’ Category


fire fireman

First things first: I’m okay and so is my own apartment. No property loss, don’t have to relocate. I was lucky. Not so much the guy who started the blaze, however. We’ll get back to that.

About 7 PM last night, while I was fixing dinner, the alarm bells went off outside my front door. Didn’t think much of it at first, since there have been false alarms in the past, but then I heard noise in the hallway and popped my head out… and smelled smoke.

This one was for real.

I grabbed my laptop and USB drive (to access important papers I keep online and my bank account) and headed out to the street. It looked like a disaster movie outside: three full engine companies had showed up and were already attacking the fire. I could see smoke pouring from one apartment, and it billowed out the openings at the end of the hallway like smoke pouring form an old coal-burning engine, black and thick.

Like I said, I was lucky. Though only a few doors down the hall from me, there were two closed fire doors in between, keeping the smoke out. And LAFD responded so fast and put the fire out so quickly that it didn’t spread from the original unit, though the hallway is black with smoke stains, and the people below have water damage.

The moron who started the fire, however, paid a price. Apparently my guess was right. Per the LAFD, a fire started in the kitchen, a grease fire, and he tried to put it out by throwing water on it. It probably blew up in his face like this:

Hence he is now in the hospital with burns to his arms and head. And probably facing lawsuits. Idiot.

(In case you think I’m being callous, I do sympathize with him for his injuries, but he damn near burned me out, too. So sympathy is limited.)

I did feel sorry for the animals, too. I saw one woman desperately trying to get her cat into a carrier (It was probably thinking “We’re going to the Vet? NOW???”), and a poor border collie was just shaking with fear as its owner tried to calm it. All the noise and the smells were probably too much for it.

Some observations:

  • Fire doors are good things. I will never complain about them being closed and annoying again.
  • Everyone needs basic fire extinguisher training and have a fire extinguisher in their kitchen. I’ve been trained, but my extinguisher is overdue for replacement.
  • I also need a “go bag” ready for an emergency evacuation. I knew what I wanted to save, and I got out pretty quickly, but, had I been forced to relocate, I’d have had only the clothes I was wearing.
  • Whatever the favorite charity is for the Los Angeles Fire Department, it’s getting a donation from me.

So, let’s see. I get sick Friday and my building nearly burns down Saturday. I wonder what Sunday has in store?

Don’t answer that.

PS: The apartment where the fire started is locked up, naturally, but I’ll see if I can get some decent pictures of other parts..

PPS: Got some pictures.

Fire casa de vida apt door

That’s what’s left of the front door of the apartment.

fire casa de vida hallway

Black is not the original color for this hallway, trust me.

fire casa de vida fire door

The fire door did its job.

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Today’s example: a book I ordered came in the mail this afternoon. But I can’t get it. Why, you ask?

Because, while the box was just small enough to fit into my apartment mailbox (a pigeonhole type in the foyer area), it cannot be removed once the postman closes the front panel; the little door I open to get my mail is a bit smaller in circumference than the pigeonhole itself. So, because only the letter-carrier has the key to that front panel*, I can’t get my book until at least Monday.

Now that’s service.


And, yes, I used that word in the note I left on my mailbox.

*(I asked the complex’s assistant manager, who gave me the bad news. And this was the third time she’d heard of something like this.)

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Why do people need to play the bass track of their music so loudly that it thumps the walls? I grew out of that some time in high school.

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My downstairs neighbors have decided that the right way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to play rap music with the base cranked up to floor*-shaking levels.

Food poisoning would be too good for them.

*(My floor, that is.)

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Here’s the deal: she’s Black, I’m White. Since she took over management of the large complex I live in over a year ago, I’ve had few dealings with her, but they’ve been uniformly unpleasant. Every time, I’ve come away wondering what her problem is.

Tonight, I came home to find myself living next to a construction zone. Workmen are remodeling the game room and former gymnasium in the courtyard across from my apartment. They are using jackhammers and circular saws.

As you can gather, it’s loud.

So, since I would like to be able to hear myself think, I went down to the complex office a few minutes before they closed to ask when the workmen would stop for the evening. The manager was there, so I directed my question to her.

From her reaction, you would think I had just passed gas in front of her.

Me: “Hi. When will the jack-hammering stop?”

Her: No reaction.

Me: “In the old rec room?”

Her: “I know where.”

Me, trying to be polite: “It’s horrendously loud in the apartments.”

Her, cold as ice: “I understand,” with a thin smile. Translated: “Don’t bother me, you worthless tenant-vermin!”

Me, giving up: “I see.” I turn and leave.

All my few interactions with her have been as pleasant as finding a worm in an apple I’ve just bitten into. I’ve noticed, when I pass the front office, that she’s almost always in the manager’s private office with the door closed. Tenants have to deal with the assistant manager of the week. Whenever we’ve interacted, she’s come across as cold, smug, and superior. Lord knows what she thinks of me.

So, I wonder: Is she just a condescending jerk to everyone, or does she have something against Whiteys? Or, is it me?

I dont know

(Note: At 18:13, I looked out my window to see the manager in question talking to the workmen. They’ve stopped, hopefully for the evening.)

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Thump … thump

I have neighbors in the apartment below who believe that the only way to enjoy music is with the bass cranked up to 10 on the dial. The floor and walls of my apartment are vibrating like the inside of a drum, yet the building managers won’t do anything until “quiet hours” at 10PM.

Hmmm… According to California Penal Code section 197, justifiable homicide includes

…lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.

They’ll never convict me.

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Last night I was twice woken by noisy neighbors: the first at 2:30 AM, when a group of women decided they had to carry on their loud conversation (Which included telling each other “shut up” several times. Good advice.) in the apartment courtyard, and then again three hours later, when the neighbors below elected to share their taste in rock with us.

Common courtesy, like chivalry, may not be dead, but surely it lies bleeding in the gutter.

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