Friday, January 15, 2010

Things I Learned Today #8 - Never, Ever Live in a Condo

Now I know that almost everyone at some point in life will live in some type of condo setup, and not all condos are created equally (i.e. some are way better than others), but I am having so much trouble with our current condo situation that I am throwing the entire concept of condo living under the bus. Unless something significant changes, I pledge to try to never, ever live in a condo again, and you shouldn't either. Maybe to be more specific I should say never rent another person's condo. Here's why:

As I've been complaining about since a week ago Tuesday (11 days), the internet at our address has not been working correctly. After several calls, hours of frustration, and more than a few angry words, I have an exact picture of what is wrong and how it is bordering on impossible to resolve the internet situation before spring. We have what is called in internet-installer lingo a "bad drop" - which is apparently the magical thing that makes the internet work. Actually, it is the line that runs from the master cable pole coming out of the ground (the source of my entire building's internet/cable access) under the sidewalk between the pole and the building, into individual connections for each unique dwelling. Somewhere under the sidewalk, the portion of the cable that serves my residence is damaged/severed/eaten my mole men. Because of this, Maureen and I need to have our "drop replaced".

Bright House Networks, the company that repackages Time Warner cable and internet and sells it to us, has actually been quite diligent in trying to find workarounds for this problem. You see, we need workarounds because they claim that they can't work on replacing the drop because the ground is frozen (thus requiring us to wait for spring), and that even if they could bury the cable in the ground, they wouldn't be able to do it for days because they need would need lots of formal approvals from the condo homeowners' association as well as the property management company, the organization I've dealt with only once and I already hate, named LandArc.

Bright House can not run a cable on the ground across the sidewalk as this is officially a tripping hazard, so instead they have it set up like a hilariously dangerous clothesline hazard right at chest/neck level running up into a nearby tree and then across the sidewalk in the air to our building. Because I was afraid that this wire would permanently damage someone, I emailed our landlady and called the property management company, those good folks at LandArc, so that they could work with Bright House to figure out a repair that met the amazingly unyielding high aesthetic standards of a condominium complex in beautiful Livonia, Michigan as well as not run the risk of taking someone down.

Instead of this possible solution, LandArc contacted our landlady to tell her that if the wire does not come down, they will bring it down and will fine her for not going through the formal approval process. The biggest problem here is that there is no way the homeowners' association would ever approve of a wire across the sidewalk (though the sidewalk has almost zero traffic) at chest level. Because Bright House claims that they can't fix the underground line and the above ground line (either on the ground or floating in the air) is also against the rules, it appears as though it is going to be literally impossible to provide me with the internet I so desperately require for my work and income that allows me to pay these horrible people for residence. I'm good with our landlady, but I already feel like I would be happy to never have to deal with LandArc again.

When I talked to someone from that company today, she kept saying "you have to submit your request to the HOA" and I was like "I understand, but they're not going to approve the request" and she was like "you'll have to talk that over with your landlord" and I said "talk about what, my breakfast? How is talking about this with my landlord going to fix the situation?" And she said "you'll have to talk about it with your landlord" over and over and over. I wonder how much longer we could have made it with our current clothesline setup if I had not told LandArc about my concerns. I mean, I know where the cable is and I told Maureen, so our individual risk of injury is very low.

So to summarize, the underground line can not physically be replaced and anything above ground is against the condo association's rules, so it seems that my internet will be slightly more effective between now and spring if I take the Cat5 cable currently running into our modem and shove it right into my butt, because that way at least I'll get a little rise from it. This is so incredibly out of my control and all solutions are prevented by the HOA and property management company, and I will never again put my fate into the hands of people who know and care nothing about me and refuse to even discuss alternative solutions aside from "submit request in writing, talk to your landlord about it."

On top of all this, I never want to live above someone ever again, if possible. She has complained that our walking offends her. My favorite is when she came to complain last Sunday and said "two days ago we were making too much noise." The absolute best part of this is that Maureen and I were in California "two days ago" yeah. Condos suck.

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