Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Imagine our surprise

So our apartment has its problems: we live in a half-double, a very old two-story brick house just off Market Street, and getting the owner to keep up with repairs is sometimes an incredible hassle. Case in point: the leak over the front door, which we pointed out for the first time four years ago, and which has caused increasing damage to the door frame and the exterior and interior walls. We sent letters. We phoned. She blew us off repeatedly. Two years ago, just after R had sent another letter, we saw her on Market Street: "I got your letter," she said. "I got your last ten letters. . ." The remark that made me spin on my heels and walk away was: "But face it--it's only a rental."

So imagine our surprise, two days ago, to find a carpenter knocking loose some of the rotten wood from above the door. He poked, he prodded. He sent around a worker to start yanking out the ruined wood.

Today, the full extent of the damage is visible: a massive crossbeam, 150 years old, was completely rotted through and had to be removed. Temporary supports have been jacked into place to keep the bricks from collapsing. We can see daylight through holes punched through the plaster. The door casing itself is partially rotted; I don't know if they'll remove the door and replace this or try somehow to work around it. But all I can think is that 90% of this could have been prevented.

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