Sunday, May 24, 2009

Held Hostage

Don't worry...I wasn't actually held hostage. But it is a catchy blog title, right? ;-) This is move week...the highly anticipated (usually a groaning-sighing-bad-mood kind of anticipation) yet consistently delayed move from my old apartment building to a new apartment building. This is not my choice. It's a decree from on high (HR!) mandating that the university tenants pack up and move to a new building. When I say new, I mean in it is still being built, thus the delays in moving, the fact that my apartment is still covered with a fine layer of white construction dust, the one operational elevator that is not yet air conditioned, etc etc. So the saga of the big move has been happening for the past three months...and it's finally D day. So my apartment is packed up, the movers are coming today, and I'm supposed to be in my new building by tonight. We'll see. Inshallah (God willing). I won't even go into the many zany and frustrating moments along this moving journey. In a perplexing combination of cultural influence and just plain incompetent management, every single step of this process has been fraught with confusion, wrong information, and broken promises. But really, I'm not mad. Ok, I'm lying. But at this point, I'm too tired to be mad and I'm just ready to be in my new apartment (which is actually really nice!), unpack my stuff, and be settled. Oh, but here's where it gets interesting. So last night, I took a first load of personal stuff over to the new apartment. I had gone to visit the new building last week and it was still a mess, so I was anticipating chaos when I got over there. However, the elevator was working, my apartment was much cleaner than it was last week, and everything went pretty smoothly. I spent about 30 minutes going up and down, up and down (I'm on the 16th floor!), bringing loads of pillows, sheets, blankets, and dishes from my car to the apartment. And did I mention that it was about 110 degrees yesterday? So by the time I settled back into the cool air conditioning of my car for the trip back to my old building, I was dripping sweat and planning what kind of muscle relaxants to use (I have a back problem so any kind of lifting/moving means a few meds to get over the pain). Anyway, I parked my car at the old building and trudged (you never walk in this kind of just trudge) inside, only to find total chaos. There were workers everywhere, furniture in various states of disassembly piled on the floor, and the harris (the dude who basically helps everything run smoothly) sitting on his security desk, swinging his legs, with a big smile on his face. The next thing I noticed was that both elevators had the dreaded "not in service" sign scrolling across the electronic boards. The harris gave me a big smile and said, not working! Duh. I asked him how long until they were fixed. He said, "25 minutes, 1 hour, maybe tomorrow, I don't know!" All of this with that same grin on his face! After ranting and raving for a couple minutes, I finally decided I had no choice but to climb up the nine flights of stairs to my apartment. About halfway up I ran into the HR landlord (the university guy who manages staff tenants in the building) lugging down a giant trash bag (apparently full of the melting contents of his refrigerator). I decided to stop and talk to him...mainly because I was running out of oxygen and was worried that if I didn't take a break I might not make it to the 9th floor. I asked him what was going on, and he said that the company who owns our old building ordered the elevators shut off so that our movers could NOT take the furniture out of the building! The company basically told my landlord that unless the university agrees to pay an extra month's rent on all the apartments, they would keep the elevators "out of service" until the university pays up. And this is where my blog title comes into play. We are basically being held hostage by a corrupt company that wants an extra month's rent! Completely ludicrous. And um, shouldn't it be illegal to turn off all functioning elevators in a 10-story high building? What happens if one of the older tenants has a heart attack trying to hike up to their apartment in this horrific heat? Wow. Anyway, I did make it up to my apartment, took a muscle relaxant, and chilled for the rest of the evening. This morning when I left for work, one of the elevators was working, so inshallah I'll be able to get the rest of my stuff out tonight! I will update with pics of the new place in a couple days after I get settled.

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