Tuesday, November 06, 2007

city of brotherly love

last weekend marked my first visit to philadelphia. kate was planning on visiting katherine, and we thought it would be a good idea for me to surprise her. the plan worked out rather well, despite the fact that i accidentally got on the chinatown bus an hour early. kate's bus got in an hour late, and katherine, who is working in dc (don't ask) got in right on time. since i was early, i headed to a restaurant to get some dinner. kate told katherine to meet her there, little did she know she was meeting me instead. then i got on one knee and popped the question-- can i crash on your couch tonight?

but the joke was on me, because katherine doesn't even have a couch.

it was a lot of fun, even though we didn't get to see the rocky steps. it's always really refreshing to see college friends. whenever i see one, i go home feeling sad that we don't live in the same city anymore. in a perfect world, my friends and i would all be in the same area and getting together would be no problem. the weekend was too short, but i left feeling good about the realization that visits to dc and philly are really easy and cheap (just like me. wait...). i will throw out this invitation to whoever is reading right now: you are cordially invited to crash on my couch/bed/mattress/floor for new year's eve. no birthday presents necessary - hosting a bunch of people on my first four-day new year's weekend in a while is a gift in itself. katherine for one is already signed up.

and now for the apartment situation. the heat and hot water were a false alarm. we have a mess of wires downstairs at the gas tank in the basement and still no electricity in the basement to run the crappy old boiler. to remedy that, the construction worker and broker had the brilliant idea to run a cord from our apartment all the way down stairs via a bunch of exension cords. it's amazing we haven't had a fire yet.

we filed a complaint to the housing preservation department last week and someone came last night to check it out. for once i feel like the apartment heavens aligned, because all three of us were there and the inspector was the first person we've encountered in a long while that actually listened and didn't seem in a hurry. according to him, people like him are few and far between. he said his coworkers all do their visits in a rush... which explains why, when no one answered after ringing our broken doorbell after the first two visit attempts, the inspectors left. we couldn't have asked for a better examiner- this one had the brains to wait a few seconds and then tap on the window. apparently, after the third visit attempt, the case is thrown out if no one answers. we were lucky. he was very thorough, took the time to answer our questions, and understood what a crappy situation it was. he had a sense of humor and felt for us. when he left, we felt like he had taken pieces of our hearts with him. robert, wherever you may be, we will miss you.

in reality, it was a nice change of pace to have someone empathize with us. between our landlord, construction worker, broker, electric company, and gas company, it's been hell. he cited four emergency violations to be repaired immediately, plus smaller things to be fixed. we also sent a certified letter to the landlord. we shall see what comes of it.