Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Living in a Senior Apartment Complex

 


Living in an apartment building is different than anything I’ve experienced except for a year spent in a college dorm but that was so long ago I don’t remember much about it except we ate our meals off trays and my dorm room for half the year was an actually forth floor dormer with sloped ceilings that I adored and it overlooked the football field. Not that I liked football any better back then than I do now but I was still boy crazy at the time so there’s that.

I forgot where I was going in this post---oh ya, what it’s like to live in an apartment building after a lifetime of owning and living in single family homes. That’s not to say I didn’t have some inkling of what it was like to live in one. My husband owned a four family apartment for 10-15 years where sometimes the tenants got along and other times they were constantly complaining about one thing or another or each other. For a long while, we had a house full of single women living there who seemed to make up stuff to get my husband to go check out noises in the attic or a washing machine in the basement that quit working (because it mysteriously got unplugged). Finally, my husband started making me go with him to do any and all maintenance in the building and that put an end to the frivolous calls and the windows they couldn't open or shut. The power of the significant other.

Being a brand new building all the units here have a few things that any new construction needs to be addressed. An electrical outlet that doesn’t work, a spot of paint where it doesn’t belong---that sort of thing. We were given an inspection sheet to fill out for maintenance to come in and fix our woes, plus put up shelving we might want to add in closets, etc. One woman recently had a huge hissy-fit at the main office about how long she’s had to wait for her list to be addressed, and sure enough it worked. The maintenance cart was outside her door the next day. That night at dinner other hissy-fits were being planned and plotted and will no doubt spread like a virus across the campus.

Today was my day to get my inventory of stuff addressed and no hissy-fit was required to get the maintenance man to show up. I now have new shelves to dry my paintings on in my art corner, a new black-out shade in my bedroom, my ice maker is turned off because I hated that thing dropping cubes in the middle of the night and I got a lesson on how to use childproof electrical outlets. There’s also a future work order for me to get another electrical outlet put in the bathroom. Still on-going is the saga of the front door intercom that rings into mine and one other apartment. The company who installed them is waiting for a new part to come in that's on the proverbial slow boat from China. Also on-going is a streak of construction gunk still across my floor. They’ve tried power cleaning it off and now the maintenance man is saying the flooring people are going to be forced to replace the flooring in my living area. What a mess that will be. But that's not happening until after the holidays. He didn't say which holiday...oh, my!

Others here are losing patience but the two maintenance men are both working full time to resolve our Honey-Do Lists. Mr. and Mrs. Matchy-Match, for example, are on their case to paint the underside of their kitchen cabinets. They are a natural wood with a shiny sealer on them---same as mine and what's inside of the white cabinets---but they think they look unfinished. Mealtime discussions about things like this present an interesting study of human behavior. Everything from an individual who suggests they withhold their monthly payments until they get the service “they deserve” to those of us who understand the unique situation we’re in, having us all move in within a short time frame. Like I told the maintenance man once, he gets at my Honey-Do list quicker than my husband ever did so you can guess where I fall on the patience spectrum.

I didn’t mean to fill an entire post up about maintenance or lack there of so I’ll probably have to tackle this topic of living in an apartment again. Maybe several times. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve lived an isolated existence for so many years that I find this microcosm I’m living in to be so interesting or if it really IS interesting. I image it's the same in offices, schools and other workplaces where you get to know each other's sense of humor, sense of entitlement and foibles from the inside out.

Speaking of interesting things, last week was our Holiday Parade of Apartments. Fifteen people hosted walk-thou's for others to see their places. I didn’t open my mine up. Two people beat me out of the title for having the most knickknacks. One had so many things hanging on her walls---literally from floor to ceiling---it’s a wonder they didn’t cave in. The other must have two hundred blue bottles littering all the surfaces. Two others were mid-century minimalists in the true sense of the word and one of them had a to die-for original, 1940s molded plywood Herman Miller chair and coffee table. They were stained in my hated color of orange but I still loved those two pieces if that tells you anything about my level of lust over that set.

Lots of people had heavy, ornate furniture and the art work ranged from great original works of art to wall hangings from Home Goods. All the Christmas decor was pretty but looked like too much work to me. One guy even had a train set under his tree and several people had even set their tables with Christmas china. I managed to get a wreath on my hallway door and a large red bow on my deck door and my windup music box with Santa and his reindeer sets next to a pile of Christmas cards. A whole box of other holiday stuff never made it out of my storage cage. Maybe next year.

I’m probably near my word count for today so it’s time for me to stop and come up with my next topic to tackle. ©

39 comments:

  1. Wow... I truly enjoy your posts -- I can just see people sitting at their dinner tables and grousing about this, that or the other. LOL You'll never want for interesting things to write about, that's for sure. And we readers will be voyeurs to the life lived in a Senior Apartment building. Awesome!

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    1. So far it hasn't been boring even though I wish there was a better way to predict who will be eating when short of asking like a groupie would do.

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  2. It's always fun to hear what's happening with you and your neighbors! After having lived through a kitchen gut/remodel, I am completely convinced that times have changed when it comes to craftsmanship. For most of our married life, we were fortunate to have a neighbor/friend who was a fabulous carpenter (he did plumbing, electrical, and Hvac, too). He was neat as a pin. He cleaned up after himself, always. He had clean,thick dropcloths that he used to protect customers' stuff. Gosh, I miss Rick!!! Our recent project produced a very pretty new kitchen, but after living here a few weeks, I have a list of concerns. Hubby and I cleaned up mountains of messes. Scraped paint from our new floor. Touched up their painting. I'm still carefully evening out the grout lines on our tile backsplash. Plus, one of our spice pull-out cabinets simply does not work. Our 100 sq ft kitchen cost more than any project we've ever tackled, but there was more left for us to tweak than we could believe. From what I've heard, this is the new reality. I can only imagine what's being talked about at your dinner tables. Of course, all of us senior citizens have to have something to focus on. When you mentioned the possibility of replacing part of your flooring, I just groaned. Believe it or not, our flooring has a small gouge (right in front of the kitchen sink, is there any heavier traffic area???). I took a picture of it, sent it to the installers and when they explained what they'd have to do, I decided to put a rug over it and live with it. I keep telling myself that there is no such thing as a perfect house. I'll bet it was fun walking through apartments for the holiday tour. Your really do learn a lot about folks when you see their homes. Hope you and the others residents are staying healthy. Covid numbers are crazy where we live. Take care, Jean!

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    1. I could buy a bigger area rug to cover the mess but I was promised it would be fixed before I moved in and it really is the first thing you notice. The floor is a big part of the cost and why should I have to accept it as is? Unless they agree to refund me part of my buy-in price I won't.

      I was spoiled to by a dad and husband who could do just about any job around the house.

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  3. Ooh--kind of feel sorry for the poor maintenance crew. Your patience should put you at the top or very bottom of their to do list. Don't feel badly, hissy-fits take years off your life. Would have been interesting touring the other apartments but wouldn't have wanted them going through mine.

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    1. We got really nice and highly qualified maintenance men. I can't imagine what it's like to work in an apartment once someone has a hissy-fit. They have a protocol on who goes to the top of the list. Safety goes on the top like grab bars otherwise it's usually in the order in which you put in your work order.

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  4. Glad to hear you are patient with the maintenance guys. You are right that they would be so busy right now with so many moving in at once. I think it is always smart to stay on the good side of those guys as they can be so helpful to you!

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  5. I love the idea of having people come in and fix things like that without having to schedule things from 10 different folks! Shelves for your paintings -- I need shelves! I don't know where I'd put them because I'm probably more like your neighbors with too much stuff than otherwise, but they'd come in handy! I'm glad they are finally getting it done -- but that intercom thing still pending would be the worst!

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  6. It is interesting to see various human responses to life’s little hiccups, in action. Something similar happened here after I moved in. I was missing all of the shelves for the lower cabinets in my newly renovated kitchen. And a neighbour a floor below was missing an entire cabinet for over a year. I was very polite and understanding with the landlord and the contractor while downstairs neighbour threw regular hissy fits and withheld part of their rent. Guess who got their issues fixed first? You really can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    Deb

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  7. Jean, I just read allll the posts I've missed over the past two weeks and have enjoyed every word. I love hearing about your new experiences and the cast of characters who populate your musings. Thank you for writing so brilliantly and humorously and with such insight. You rock! Happy New Year!

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    1. I read all your Facebook posts but don't comment often enough. What you jut said about my writing I could say about yours. Thanks!

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  8. I really enjoy your posts... they make me so happy we did not go further when our local senior complex added apartments and we toured them and had a free meal!!

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    1. We all have to do what is right for us. Touring places like you did and I did is really worth the time if you're trying to figure out a next step as we age. Extra problems and delays did/do come with new construction but now that I'm here I'm happy with it.

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  9. Shoot! I wrote a nice long comment, was interrupted by a phone call and SWOOSH .... gone.

    Anyway, I love seeing what people do with their blank slate. You seem to have a nice mix of neighbors. Some owners here have the wall between living room and tiny bedroom (like where I sleep/live) removed but it ends up being two separate living areas in one big room! I've only seen one set up that worked for me ... she placed back to back sofas where the wall used to be. One side (with fireplace) was "living room" and the other area was her office.

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    1. Back tp back sofa sounds awful! But is really is interesting how creative some people get with the same spaces

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  10. I've always wondered about what makes some people patient and helpful and others prone to hissy-fits. I do think it's a form of selfishness and nothing most people enjoy.
    Bless the heart of the maintenance guys who have to put up with it!

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    1. I think you're right about it being a form of selfishness and of believing you are better than others who might seem (to the complainers) to be in a lower station in life.

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  11. Ah, Christmas china. Some people simply adore the holidays and go all out. That would not be me, but to each his own. We each find our Joy where we can.

    I'm sure you've heard "Well, we've paid plenty for these units, they could at least give us what we paid for" many times. That's true, of course, but so is the old adage "Patience is a virtue."

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    1. So true, I did hear that a few times.

      I was surprised that people would keep Christmas china since most of us moved from bigger houses. It would have been an easy downsizing decision for me.

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  12. Never lived in an apartment doubt I ever will................
    Where you live sounds interesting

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    1. It is interesting and I never thought I would be living in an apartment building either. but here I am.

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  13. Jean, can you do your own maintenance or painting if you wished to? Everyone owns their apartments right? Hissy fitters will get a reputation in each department they will "hear" about the hiss fitters. Trust me they won't get things done first. Get more with honey than piss and vinegar. If these are rentals then I guess you have to wait for maintenance. But some sugar for those men and women will do a lot. I'd have warm cookies and offer them something. They will always come back to help you!!

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    1. Yes, we can do our own maintenance and painting if we want but most of got an incentive package for buying into the place of $5,000 worth of upgrades and/or free maintenance. Once we've used that up the charges for the maintenance men to do various work is really reasonable and I can't see why anyone wouldn't use them.

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  14. I've lived in apartments since I left my folks hope about 60 years ago. We've been lucky with neighbors and, being basically lazy, I love not having to worry about maintenance. šŸ˜Š

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    1. It really is nice not having to worry about snow or furnaces or hot water heaters going out in the winter. I'm loving that.

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  15. Since leaving home when I graduated from high school, the only house I've lived in was in Liberia. Granted, it was cement block and had no AC, but it was comfortable. Otherwise, I've always lived in apartments. I just tried to count them all and came up with twenty-one! There could be more. An especially memorable one was in a Kansas City basement, where I did all my cooking in an electric skillet or on a hot plate, since there wasn't a kitchen. I moved up a level or two soon after, but I still grin when I think of it.

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    1. Wow! I can't imagine moving twenty=one times or having to build a new "nest" twenty-one times. No wonder you're a 'hardly sort' and so self reliant.

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  16. Of course, I love that chair pic. :-) We have two similar chairs in bright cherry red that I found at the company store (returned/showroom samples/etc.) and they are the best accents, plus they provide extra seating if I need it. I would love to have toured those homes with you, as I love going through people's homes. Having people touring my home -- not so much. LOL.

    New construction always has glitches. But you have figured out the best way to get things done without getting all riled up about it. I hope they replace your floor sooner than later and it's not too, too awful. As you can imagine, we had a few things on our "punch list" after building, but I really have no complaints about how they were resolved and the handyman is our friend now, too. I see him in Costco or the big box store randomly and we're buds. :)

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    1. Those molded 1940s chairs are really a piece of art but I would never dare to sit in one. I love the lines and their history. There are two women living here that worked for Herman Miller.

      The construction company who built this place builds a lot of hospitals and commercial complexes and my floor issue is getting kicked up to them. I just hope it doesn't end up in a Cach-22 where subcontractors and the company argue over responsibility. The maintenance here have tried three times to clean it and they say that they won't again but they assure me that they'll keep on the company to make it right.

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    2. I can understand not sitting in the 1940's model! Those are real collectibles. I do have to say their furniture is remarkably sturdy though.

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  17. Living in an apartment is so different from the house that I grew up in. Sometimes it's nice and other times especially living where I live, it's a nightmare. Happy New Year.

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  18. And going from nice to a nightmare can creep up on you too, I imagine.

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  19. I'm so glad you moved to that complex because I love hearing about all the people. I think it sounds like so much fun. You'll probably be making little chances new year but that is to be expected in a new home. As for the construction gunk, I don't envy you putting everything up to get a new floor. It will be nice but hard work on your part.

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    1. Yes, it will be hard but the maintenance man assured me he would help.

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  20. My Mom lived in Apartments in her latter Years and Maintenance was always Kind and tried hard to address issues. Some Tenants will always be malcontents and feel a sense of Entitlement that requires no Patience on their part. If they had a Home without Staff they'd be much worse off and they probably know it at their Ages, so it seems petty to me for them to be dogging this new complex so early on after moving in and knowing everyone else is new and moved in to a brand new complex that just got built... so requests will be numerous and Management is probably doing their very best during a Pandemic to address all problems. I don't think I'd do well keeping my mouth shut with the complainers or wanting to listen to incessant complaining when they really have it pretty good it seems. First World Problems can be so petty.

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  21. I wonder if there is a social class component to who can see the big picture and understand why service is not instant and those who feel entitled to have their needs taken care of immediately. Whether or not you see the maintenance people as real people who can only accomplish so much in a day may depend on whether you've ever done that kind of work or lived with people who did that kind of work.

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    1. You ask some good questions. I do think a few of them have a sense of entitlement due to the high cost of living here. Some have unrealistic expectations for how long certain jobs take maintenance people do. The management has started posting how many requests for service they received that week and how many have been fulfilled.

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