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Fair warning: if reading about rodents, creepy bugs, or mold growing in moist places grosses you out, you probably want to stop reading now.

Well, we have had some real fun in the Cox home over the last two weeks! And by fun, I mean terror and repulsion and frustration, of course. If I were to reveal the amount we pay in rent each month, you might think, “Ah! They must live in a spacious, clean, large  apartment with at least two bedrooms!” Um…no. Welcome to rent prices inside the beltway. And really, we found something with the lowest price we could that still had more than 500 square feet and a washer and dryer. And lo and behold: old, old buildings, though the interiors have been redone and seemed pretty “nice” when we took our tour. But that’s turned out to be mostly a pretty veneer shellacked over some pretty major and serious structural flaws.

First, we noticed, and I mean on DAY ONE of moving in, some dead roaches. Welcome home, young newlyweds!! I realize that’s a problem with old buildings. But it certainly shouldn’t be with the amount we’re paying. Plus, we started to notice little holes and cracks in the baseboard, corners of the wall, between counter and cabinets, etc.. Entry points! I asked more than once or twice for the holes to be filled with foam or something, but…no. Just the same old same old exterminator spraying some gel that keeps things at bay for a little while, or just kills the bugs as they come out. Which means, we still find them, curled up and dead on their backs. So unpleasant.

And then there’s been times when the poison was wearing off and we have done major battle with those nasty little suckers. Man versus roach– it’s intense. I was fortunate enough that Tom was almost always around to do the dirty work for me, but the other day, things reached new levels of nasty. I was putting Lucy to sleep on her little mattress on the floor. Our bedroom, by the by, has been a haven for the most part, and I’d never seen any pests there. I felt safe, generally, even though the rest of the rooms had all had their fair share of unfriendly visitors. Well, she was almost asleep, that moment that can take hours of effort to achieve, and I was about to leave her, when I glanced up. There, in the corner where the two walls meet, no more than 2 feet away, a huge and ugly cockroach was crawling up the wall. Panic. Disgust. I grabbed up the almost-sleeping baby, who then was fully awake, and ran for the bug spray. I did my best but with one hand full of heavy baby, and the demonic creature running at demonic speeds, it got away. Back into the bedroom. Naturally, I refused to enter that room again, until my sister arrived a few hours later and offered to help me look for it. (Where did I get such an amazing sister?! Who offers to help find vermin?!) She combed through the room, but we never did find it. Mystery…or most likely it just went back through some crack it entered in and died. Meanwhile, I sent Tom many frantic texts about the incident (“worst nightmare”), and wondered why it seemed like we lived in a third world country, and yet still paid x amount to live there?!

The next week, just a few nights ago, we were drifting off to sleep when we began to hear some very, very loud rustling in the wall and ceiling right behind our heads. Gnawing, scampering, thudding, scratching. For four hours. Ironically, that was the one night Lucy slept more than four hours straight (9 actually! And it hasn’t happened since…) and we were up half the night, wondering if an army of mice or rats was about to rain down on our heads from the ceiling. The past couple mornings, right during Lucy’s nap time, the creature has been back, making it impossible to put her to sleep. A mom’s dream, right?!

Let me just say that thus far, we have lodged numerous complaints, cited the breaking of city housing and health codes, and our rental agency has done nothing. They promised to send a technician and pest control to check into the wall mice, but they never showed up. That was two days ago, and our little friend now probably has a comfortable nest all set up in our walls. Needless to say, we do not feel safe anymore, or comfortable, in our bedroom (and the whole apartment), especially with a crawling baby. Oh and also, the final straw in all of this drama is the mold. It is growing fiercely in the bathroom, despite a dehumidfier that runs constantly, and the other night we pulled out “fresh” sheets from the linen closet to discover this:

Looks like the baby had a major accident on the sheets...but it's mold.

Looks like the baby had a major accident on the sheets…but it’s mold.

Allll over...

Allll over…

And there it is on the closet wall. Just a small sample. Note- all those towels and sheets are SOAKED with water.

And there it is on the closet wall. Just a small sample. Note- all those towels and sheets are SOAKED with water.

Sadly, I thought I was about to wrap up this horror story of a post, but literally as I was writing this, Tom emerged from the bedroom with Lucy, whom he’d been rocking to sleep for about a half hour. He was horrified, and informed that seconds before, a cockroach had crawled over his foot. He looked up and saw that it was crawling right over Lucy’s bed. AGHHHHHH!!!!! You can’t make this stuff up.

So if you can, say a prayer for us tomorrow. All three of us are marching down to the leasing office to duke it out with the manager. We quite clearly need to vacate this hell-hole, and we sure as heck are not going to pay two month’s rent to break our lease early. I’m fairly certain we have the law clearly on our side, as I’ve read over the housing code for minimum “habitable conditions”, and ours breaks about 4 of the 8 laws. We’re praying they don’t pull some shiesty move on us and that we can be out of here ASAP. We’ll update when we know anything!



6 thoughts on “Hell-Hole

  1. I’ll be praying; we have mold on our bathroom ceiling we need to address and some showed up on Callan’s crib sheets…but it’s because he sweats so much, I’m convinced. I’ve taken to washing his sheets more often and wiping his mattress with Clorox wipes every week…it’s a pain to deal with, for sure.
    BUT you are correct that the law is on your side…and the agency should know it. Don’t back down! When we finally talked to our landlady about moldy windows and the concern with Callan’s allergies, she had them all replaced. I’ll pray you find someone like that!

  2. Oh Nicole! We lived this life during our first apartment experience! We had a 2 bedroom in Alexandria, and it was a sh*t hole! We had roaches upon roaches, and about 3 months before we were due with Mikey, we vacated the premise and continued to pay rent while living with my in-laws, just so we didn’t have to have the baby there. I pray and hope you are able to get out of your lease! I know how hard that is! God bless and keep us posted!

    • Thanks, Lizzie! Oh my gosh, I had no idea you had such a terrible first apt experience too! It’s funny, because I remember thinking when I saw your place right after you got married that it was cute and new-looking. All a show, just like ours!

  3. Pingback: Seven Quick Takes- the baby house, almost-walking, and RIP rodents | For Want of Wonder

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