House Journal – Comcast buggery

As we are preparing to move into our new house, after all the work and changes we wanted, it is time to begin the migration of things like utilities.

Monday, I called Comcast, our cable provider, and got a cheery person who assisted me. I explained that we were moving next week, and that we wanted to move our service, and to add a landline phone (at the Wife’s request).

No problem, and in fact two days later they had an install appointment, and could just get it all set up on Wednesday. I asked twice that this wouldn’t be an issue with our current service, as we would be in the apartment through the weekend, and until we moved. I was assured that this was fine.

Wednesday morning, and the technician is on time, efficient and gets it all set up, even activating our internet. Cool.

Or so I thought.

Apparently, when he activated out internet, he queued up our service in the apartment (about a mile away) to be shut down. So while the Tivo and the cable cards still worked, the cable modem there went dark.

I got home from work on Wednesday about 7:00PM, and of course the Wife was a bit peeved. I called Comcast support, and the technician was polite, but after an hour of diagnosing, it was determined that the account was put in the shutdown queue.

I was bounced to the “move” department, and the chipper technician there told me that he saw the note ont he account, and that it was in process of being deactivated, but since it was after 6:00PM, he was unable to fix it. He advised me to call in the morning.

I called. Apparently, to get service back in the apartment, I would have to order new service, and pay for a technician visit.

Fuck that for one week.

I politely declined to be put through to sales.

However, I did get the bright idea of taking the now functioning modem from the house and bringing it to the apartment. Voila, internet access.

Lesson learnt: If Comcast can screw up, they will, and you will have no recourse.

Apartment Life – tagging

As we prepare to end our time in the apartments, I was looking for an icon of the life here. I have complained about the safety, the cleanliness, and even the character of the neighborhood. However …

Anything standing still will be tagged
Anything standing still will be tagged

One picture wraps it up well. Here we have a piece of furniture that was dumped near the trash station over the weekend, a sign of a vacate and bail on the lease event. On Monday morning, as I was headed work, I noticed that in the 8 or so hours that this piece of furniture (a couch / sleeper it appears) was tagged by a grafitti artist.

Yep, some düsh shook a can of illicit spray paint, and fucking tagged this discarded furniture.

Typical for the neighborhood, anything standing still gets tagged by one of the street gangs.

I feel like Rutger Hauer at the end of Blade Runner, time to leave…

Apartment Living – You can’t make this shit up

This is a grab bag, but all things that really happened in our apartment complex.

  1. One day, pulling into the parking lot, a lady was standing in the middle of the driveway. Naturally, we stopped to avoid hitting her, but she just stood there. Apparently, she dropped a bag of McDonalds yum-yums, and was yelling at her friend to come pick it up. Instead of picking it up, she kicked it to the side instead of inconveniencing herself to bend down to pick it up.
  2. Apparently, if you have a motorcycle, you can park it in the walkway. No really, it is cool to just leave it in the middle of the complex.
  3. The rules are crystal clear, you are not to wash your car or do any maintenance on it. Of course, this is the most broken rule out there. The neighbor did a full on detail of their POS Chevy crossover SUV. Of course they left it where the damn birds roost, so it looked like the avian navy used it for gunnery practice about 8 minutes after the dude was finished waxing it.
  4. Walking the dogs in the morning is interesting. One douchenozzle just lets his two chihuahua’s out to roam, piss and shit. He literally opens the door, lets them out, and the closes the door. It bothers me enough that he doesn’t pick up their stools, but far worse is having the pair of these yappers barking at my greyhounds.
  5. Hey, I get it, life is depressing here, especially if this is as good as it gets. I think I would go insane if I knew I wasn’t going to be able to escape. But some people escape with heavy pot smoking. One unit, across the walkway from the main office (like 15 feet), has someone who bakes at 6:00AM. Walking the boys through a huge cloud of pot smoke is enjoyable.
  6. The recycling dumpster, you know, the one that says NOT FOR TRASH. Yeah, that one. You really can just toss trash in it. Nobody cares. So they get filled with sacks of trash. I guess I shouldn’t complain, because …
  7. … the trash dumpsters are so far away, that it is cool to just leave your trash bags in the walkways. Really, nobody minds the decaying food waste, the used diapers, the mountains of moldy cigarette butts that will fall ont he ground when the plastic breaks. Or a dog opens it up. Oh yeah …
  8. … it is totally cool to let your dog walk off lead. Everybody does it, so what the hell. Especially since they lifted the 25# limit on dogs here, but there some breed restrictions, that means no …
  9. … Pit Bulls. Yeah, they really didn’t mean that in the lease, so it is cool to just move them in after you move in. Nobody can tell that it is a Pit Bull. It is also totally okay that it lunges at every other dog in the complex, and you are barely able hold onto the leash. (note, I know a lot of pit bulls, and pit mixes who are the sweetest, most lovable dogs. These are not those dogs. These owners need their heads examined.)

Yeah, it is good to be preparing to move.

Apartment Living – The Notice

As we have bought a house, and are having way too many trades people tweaking on it, it is time to plan our vacating of this apartment. This entails giving “notice” of our intent to vacate.

Having read the fine print of the lease (I know, shocking) we know that breaking the lease early is going to cost us 2 months’ rent. A bit of a hardship, but not unexpected. Of course, we could keep the lease in place, and hope that they can rent the apartment before the lease is up, but there are 4 months left on the lease, and that is a risk too much to take. (lots of vacancies)

So Barbara informed the office of our plans yesterday. The whole office staff was there. They seemed almost surprised that we were giving proper notice and were going to pay the termination fee.

The Dumpsters on moving day
The Dumpsters on moving day

Apparently the preferred method for leaving before the lease was up is to pack and leave on the weekends or evenings when the management isn’t on the premises.

Yeah, that is a great fucking idea. Not only will it destroy your credit rating to have a default on a lease, but good luck renting with that hanging over your head.

No wonder why Sundays are the preferred move-out day, filling all the trash dumpsters to overflowing with detritus.

Heck, two doors down from us, the tenants left and abandoned a lot of their personal belongings.

In a way, I feel bad for the people who are forced to do this. While i have railed at the neighborhood, and the deficiencies of the facilities here, I recognize that for the area (Silicon valley) these apartments are considered “affordable”. But seeing that we will pay $30K in rent for one year, and knowing that most of the people who live here are in the services industry (our next door neighbor is a chef at a local restaurant. I know how much that pays…) this is a struggle to afford.

I shiver to think about what the next step down is on the housing front. It can’t be good.

The good news is that we will soon be moving to our house.

Apartment Living – The Final Straw

In case you have been living under a rock and not read my award winning blog posts (ha ha ha), we relocated to San Jose from Phoenix, and slipped into an apartment as a temporary landing spot. We have tried to make the best of it, and my prior posts have highlighted some of the challenges we have experienced. It isn’t all bad, but…

Last night, around 8:15 PM, we suited up the boys in their cold weather gear (it was about 45F outside, and Greyhounds have no body fat or fur) for their evening walk.

As we stepped out the door, the building down the way had some kids lighting and fanning fires near the entrance-way for the building. Fuck.

Barb of course confronts them, and the security guard swings by. We call 911, and the police come out. Barb and the security guard were following the punks, so the Cops got to scare them good.

Later, since my wife was the one who called the police, the dispatcher called her on her cell, to alert us that multiple cars in the complex had been broken into.


Fortunately, we had begun the process to crank up the house search. This is “lighting the fire” so to speak.

Apartment Living – Laundry part deus

Among all the joys of apartment living, not much ranks up there with the friendly competition for the laundry units. At 9:00AM you can practically see the residents lining up to steal the machines as soon as the time locks on the doors open. Hoo BOY!

Today though, we will talk about the machines themselves. The washers are all HE (high efficiency) units. That means that you really don’t need much detergent to run a load.  Really, about 2 & 1/2 tablespoons of Tide or your detergent of choice is all that is needed for a large load. (in the photo above, the cup on the left is all you need for a full load, on the right is the “usual” detergent scoop)

How wonderful is that?  Detergent lasts a long time, clothes get clean, and all is happy, right?

Well, not so fast. It seems that the HE revolution is lost on all our neighbors, so continue to dump a cup or a cup and a half of detergent in each load.

Not only is this a waste (and believe me, most of my neighbors would enjoy spending less on their detergent), but it leads to a nasty side effect.

Namely, our clothes will smell like the perfume in the detergent last used. Ugh, heavy scent in all our loads, and worse yet, it seems to change.

Apartment Living – Deliveries

Ah, the holiday season, where UPS and FedEx work overtime to deliver packages to people filled with joy and gifts. Alas, it is too tempting of a target for many people.

I speak of the theft of parcels from front doors. I appreciate Amazon in their interest to not inconvenience people by demanding a signature, and to just deposit parcels on the stoop. I am sure this reduces the cost of their shipping (as often a delivery service will need to return to an address more than once to catch the resident for a signature.)

But the allure of an Amazon box, perched on the door stoop in plain sight is too tempting for otherwise honest people. What delight may be in the box? A computer? An iPad? or some DVD/BluRay movies? It is like easter and christmas all over.

So, the box gets stolen.

Last Friday, the delivery service for Amazon dropped a medium sized box on the stoop at 11:30. I had a half day at work, so I got home about 12:30. In that hour, someone decided they needed our parcel more than us.

What bountiful booty did the perpetrators get?

  • Cosequin glucosamine supplement for our greyhounds. Tablets to help their arthritis.
  • Wellactin – a fish oil (omega-3 fish oil) supplement for our greyhounds’ coat and skin.
  • An inexpensive metronome. My wife bought it to help her and her mother play violin/viola duets.

I hope the thieves are satisfied with their ill gotten gains.

Amazon will replace the goods (they are good about that), and the shipping company will no longer leave things at our stoop.

Thanks assholes.

Apartment Living: TMI edition

In the continuing saga that is apartment life in South San Jose, we are surrounded by neighbors who all have interesting stories, sometimes too interesting.

We have always tried to be friendly with our neighbors, in the spirit of you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. But this can go too far.

Our neighborhood is predominantly hispanic. Households of hard workers, lots of kids, and relatively constant turnover (parts of families leave, to be replaced with other relatives). This leads to the appearance of new kids and adults pretty frequently. I say hello (or hola as the case may warrant).

The other day, a new kid was out in the courtyard, so Barbara asked this cute kid if she was new. The answer…

We just moved here. My daddy pushed my mommy into some clothes hangars, and hurt her, so we can't live with him anymore.

Not to make light of domestic violence, and the wide web of chaos it invokes, but it is sad that to hear it come from a child of no more than 6 years old.

Sometimes, the less you know, the better off you are.

Apartment Living: The Rainy Season

People tell me that California has been in a drought. Bullpuckey. It has rained constantly for almost three weeks. The ground is saturated, my car is waterlogged, and I am tired of getting soaked walking our dogs.

At the risk of being heretical, I would like the rain to stop. Living in an apartment is not easy (I am unsure how people do it long term, I am hoping that we won't be here any longer than we must), add in 2 80 – 90# dogs, and heavy rain, and it is a chore.

Have a house, with a back yard, and the regular potty walks are just tossing them out of the house, and you are done. Now we have to suit up in rain gear, put the dogs in rain gear, and practically drag them out. So painful.

Here's to hoping to be able to buy even a tiny house next year.

Apartment Living – Discarded Drug Paraphernalia and Unauthorized Laundry Room Use

In this episode, expanding upon the use of Swisher Sweets as wrappers for cannabis, we examine a couple of other items of detritus, and abuse of the provided facilities

Item 1 – used hypodermic syringe

While walking our dogs the other day, my wife stumbled across a discarded hypodermic syringe in the bushes at the edge of the apartment compound. Of course it could have been a diabetic’s insulin syringe that just got carelessly tossed. But I doubt it.

Yep, IV drug use in the complex. Not too surprising given our location, the gang activity, and the borderline poverty that surrounds us (wild to think that in a neighborhood where you can’t touch a single family home for less than $650K, you have to deal with this crap)

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