PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Harriet the Horrible

Ahhhh, you know, the joys of home ownership. They are many, and along with them come things like an ENDLESS STREAM OF MONEY TO LOWE'S every weekend, a twitching fear that something that costs $4,000 will explode, and lots more rooms to clean, or think about cleaning, or forget to clean. But the best, absolute BEST part of having our house? We no longer live next door to Harriet the Horrible, Ogre of Widow Creek, Lonely Bitch Royale, the absolute bane of my existence in the two years I lived in that apartment complex.

This is a long, sordid story. I will not be able to tell it all this morning. But I should start with this fact about me: Just as I can be very fogbanks and in my own world, I can also be very observant. Sometimes painfully so, sometimes paranoidally so. So I noticed, when I looked at the apartment, and the two guys living there were hanging out, that they seemed to share a joke about something. I now know what the joke was. The joke had to go something like, "Boy, sure hope she's quiet!" (stifled, contained laughter.)
For that was eerily similar to Harriet's first greeting to James, as he trudged down the long hallway, one of 7,000 trips he would make over 3 days, and he greeted her, cheerfully. Her response? "I SURE HOPE YOU'LL BE QUIET." We sort of laughed about it and didn't think anything else of it. It truly was the proverbial shot across the bow, and we failed to realize just how stark raving fucking insane she would turn out to be.....

.....and with that ominous foreshadowing, I must stop. For if I don't go and shower & get dressed, I won't get to work on time, and if I don't work, I can't help pay for the house, and if we lose the house, I could end up back at Widow Creek. You understand. I'll post more later today, in this same entry.

Harriet, Cont'd. 11:33 a.m.

We moved me in July. Because July in the South (hey, Missouri feels very much like the South in July) is the perfect time to move. It had more to do with my former apartment going condo and me not wanting to buy it. So I found this place to live, looked at the apartment, it had central air, washer/dryer hookups, a dishwasher - all sorts of amenities I wanted, and was willing to finally chuck the "charming" and "quaint" for. We had friends help us with some of the move, one of whom was my friend Greg, who is actually George Costanza's twin. The new apartments, I quickly learned, were dubbed "Widow Creek" for all the aged and retired types who lived there. Greg brought a load in and whispered dramatically, a la "The Sixth Sense", "I see OLD PEOPLE." Still gets a belly laugh out of me. I just think it's going to be calm and safe and a convenient stop until we get married, move out, etc., etc.

Imagine my surprise, when I arrive home in late August, and there's a letter from WC Management. The letter accuses me of banging on the walls twice in one night, date and times listed. I'm pissed. I call the office. They proceed to remind me about "Quiet Hours" (10p-7a). Banging on the walls was apparently a euphamism for having WILD CRAZY HEADBOARD-SLAMMIN' SEX. The girls in the office were tittering about how I "needed to keep it down a bit more." Uh. Hm. Not revealing too much, but we did a mental trip back in time, and while JWo appreciated the kudos, there were no twice-in-one-night episodes, and the night in question actually had THUNDERSTORMS, so now we knew we were dealing with an off-kilter individual. If this were a movie, we'd show a calendar flipping past the dates. September 11th happened. A week & a half later was my scheduled housewarming party. We decided to go ahead with the party. At ten o'clock, I shut the door to the entire south side of the apartment, where my bedroom, the bath, the washer/dryer (cue dramatic music! it will be significant later!), the sink, the closets were. Insulation, I figured. We turned the music down, and people were just hanging out, talking. Not even talking loudly. Less than an hour goes by. All of a sudden, tappity-tap-tap on the door. It's a WC Security Officer, an off-duty cop. I still remember her little badge with the black ribbon across it. She had gotten a complaint about a raging party, and she had to follow up on it. She also told me that she had stood in the hallway for ten minutes and couldn't hear a thing. (Believe you me. I'm a documenter. I put it ALL in my letter back to WC Management.) Apparently, she was also familiar with the Ways of the Harriet, as she apologetically smiled and nodded as I spluttered, restrainedly of course, I don't screw with the po-lice.

I could attempt to do a blow-by-blow (I have the letters on my hard drive), but it all really came down to a two-year battle of she-said/she-said, except for the times James was there (and he moved in the second year) but of course, he's gonna back me. Except when I would go apeshit and bang BACK on the wall at the bitch, because she fired up my temper like propane in a grill. SHE always banged first, dammit. James would tell me to NOT PLAY ALONG. Ugh. Not good at that. I would SING in the shower (after 7 a.m.) and she decided her new complaint was that I was doing laundry at 5 a.m., 6 a.m., all these godawful times in the morning when I could barely move my eyelids, let alone sort clothing. Back and forth, back and forth, I would get calls from security, I would SHRIEK, come over here right now, you can see there is no laundry being done!!!! Finally, I went in to the office (for about the 800th time.) Fortunately, I have a skill that Harriet did/does not. I am a PEOPLE PERSON. I can be extremely diplomatic, and I can connect with all sorts of personalities. And I was connected to the manager. We chatted about her dreams, her future, what she liked to do, etc. And so I went in there, with another letter, and in no uncertain terms accused Harriet of harassment, and that she was using the apartment management as her tool of harassment, and they could move me to another apartment at their expense, or allow me to break my lease with no cost to me, or they could finally take a hard line with Harriet. Because, in one of my pleasurable chats with the manager, which was always spent with me LAUGHING about how silly this all was, she told me it had been going on with every tenant before me. Aha. So there you have it, and that was ALSO referenced in my carefully-worded letter.

Harriet got called in to the office and was told she would not make another single complaint about anyone or anything, or they would consider not renewing her lease. SMACKDOWN. It was awesome when I moved though, because I felt like I was giving her the big F-You, and I even thought about signing her up for loads of things from the Danbury Mint and all those other godawful inserts for dolls and plates and spoons and such. But I didn't. Because that would be wrong. Seriously. I didn't! I DIDN'T! Just don't ask what JWo did.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:23 AM