Don’t Rent to Us

Kathleen and I have lived together for almost five years. We get along really well, we cohabitate peacefully, and we’ve remained close friends regardless of any typical roommate-related disagreements that may have come up.

But we’re cursed.

When we first moved in together, we found a nice spot in the Fan. As with many Fan apartments, this one too was inundated with mice, mold, leaks, broken appliances, broken locks, drafty windows and warped doors. But we just chalked all that stuff up to the drawbacks of an old building as we laughed and hugged and told each other how much we liked living together.

And then we got the hell out of there before the roof collapsed in on us.

From there, we moved to an apartment building in Shockoe Bottom. You know, something more stable and up-to-date with more credibility and fewer rodents.

But somehow our complications still followed us.

And I’m not talking about minor concerns like an occasional light bulb replacement. I mean, major issues.


Our first order of business when we moved in: have a broken garbage disposal. Now, we know the rules of owning a disposal and we didn’t put anything suspicious in it. If that’s what you’re thinking.

It just kept breaking on its own. We’d have to plunge out its contents and wash them back down, then make a service request with the building maintenance crew. They’d fix it, and it would be fine for a little while, and then it would break again.

Finally they gave in, and installed a brand new disposal. It worked beautifully and we lived happily ever after.

“Whew, glad that’s been resolved and we can move on with our lives without having to think about any other household disturbances,” we both thought, like idiots.


Our pantry door was one of those stupid sliding/folding doors that was a horrible off-white color and made a nails-on-a-chalkboard scraping noise whenever anyone opened it. And as if all that stuff wasn’t bad enough, it would frequently pop off the door frame and flap freely into the kitchen like a flag in the wind.

After many maintenance calls, we finally figured out that we could just pop it back in ourselves.

Okay…that one was partially our fault.


Then there was the time we almost didn’t go to Europe because our kitchen flooded with white paint water as we were packing to leave.

While we sat on the floor of our dining room making the last minute additions and checks, we heard a steady drip of water coming from the kitchen. We got up to find our entire sink filled with this chalk-colored liquid, brimming over and spilling onto the floor in a manner as if it had no intention of stopping.

I assume it got resolved, though, because by the time we came home two months later, it didn’t do that anymore.


If you missed this piece about how we got kicked out of our last apartment, here’s your chance to read it. To summarize (but then go read it because it’s an absolute knee-slapper!): Our laundry room flooded approximately once a week for over a year. No matter what the maintenance crew did and no matter how many times they came to do it, the laundry room continued its debauchery. It led to mold, cracked floor tiles, warped floorboards, and many wet kitchen mats.

And don’t even get me started on the resulting cockroaches, as I might curl up into a ball of hyperventilation on my kitchen counter again.

In the end, we never saw this one the whole way through because our landlords politely moved us to a new unit so that they could fix the issue once and for all.

So, great! We’ve moved out of the cursed apartment and into a fresh start.

Or so we thought.

But just like when we moved out of the apartment in the Fan, our issues continued to follow us. But this time the issues graduated from minor annoyances to full-on malfunctioning appliances.


The first week in our new apartment, I went to grab something from the refrigerator before leaving for work. I noticed it was a little…unchilled. I touched another thing. Unchilled. Another thing. Unchilled.

What the…?

Unbeknownst to us, our entire refrigerator had shut down in the middle of the night amidst our slumber. So we set aside the food items that were salvageable, and broodingly threw away the rest. We made a less-than-friendly call to our management office, who, to their credit, took care of the issue promptly. We had a new refrigerator by the next day.

I won’t go into the tedious details of the rest of the fiasco. But I’ll just tell you that this exact circumstance happened two more times. TWO MORE TIMES.

Refrigerator breaks. We have to throw away our perishables. We call our landlords. They provide a new refrigerator. Repeat.

Finally, they wised up and realized that we couldn’t be trusted with just any old, used refrigerator. We needed a brand new one.

And so that’s what we got.


We started to notice that the front right burner wasn’t warming up very quickly, or getting as hot as the others. Eventually we noticed that it barely worked at all. And then we noticed that it was cold metal coils no matter how high the dial was turned.

So we informed our landlords.

I guess at this point they knew they just needed to cut to the chase when it came to us, because shortly thereafter, we came home and had an entire, brand new oven.

Perhaps that was a bit extreme. To be honest, I didn’t think one non-working burner was that big of a deal. But who can say no to a never-before-used flat top stove?


There’s not really a good story to this. I guess I could try to spin it in an interesting manner, but you get the idea at this point: after awhile, we began to observe that the appliance in question wasn’t working as well as it should have been. Then eventually it stopped working altogether.

And yesterday, we got word that we’re getting a brand new one.

Just as a disclaimer: Before you start thinking that it’s the quality of the apartment building itself and not us that’s cursed (because, yes, we thought this too), we became aware that none of our neighbors have had as many home-related problems as we’ve had. But at least our curse comes with new stuff.

So, to the River Lofts management team and leasing office: I’m sorry you ever decided to rent to us, and I know you’re sorry too. But if you wouldn’t mind hurrying it up with that dishwasher already, that would be great. I’m just really tired of hand-washing everything, okay?


Rachel and Kathleen



Survival Diary: My Day Without a Phone

This morning, I accidentally left my phone at my boyfriend’s apartment. I realized this after I’d already gotten home, and he had left for the day. By then, it was too late. There was no retrieving it until his return.

This is the true, firsthand account of my day without a cell phone.

It is official: you are gone. I have just come upon this realization, and my devastation is unbearable. We will likely be reunited this evening, but that seems eons from now. iPhone, you are my folly, my support, my stability, my joy, my reason for getting out of bed each morning. I just don’t know how I’m going to make it through the day without you.

But I must proceed onward.

Hour 1 without my iPhone: Though I have no appetite, I managed to throw together a light dish for breakfast. And though, due to my grief, I put less effort into my meal as I normally would, it still came out looking positively exquisite. The eggs were cooked perfectly, two shiny yellow yolks surrounded by a thick white ring. A side of avocado toast, a dash of pepper, and a spritz of Sriracha sauce made my plate an absolute masterpiece. As I prepared to share my chef-d’oeuvre with the rest of the world through a Clarendon-filtered Instagram photo, I remembered that this would be impossible.

Your absence is made known in everything I do. I cannot escape reminders of your disappearance.

Hour 2: iPhone, it was amazing. I got in the shower and managed to erase the memory of your loss from my mind for a blissful ten minutes. Gone were my concerns over being apart from you, replaced with the steady trickle of warm water and soapy steam.

But immediately once I turned the water off, and heard no traces of your sweet sounds – a riveting Spotify playlist, an educational NPR podcast, or the smooth reading of an audiobook, for instance – all of my memories of you came rushing back, and the grief seemed to have doubled. Will I ever make it through the agony?

Hour 2.5: I got ready for my day in silence, missing your custom sounds to distract me from my thoughts. I took up humming briefly, as I thought I may die from the quiet infiltrating the air. But it simply wasn’t the same; the humming merely served as a reminder of my grim reality.

Oh, what melodies would I be playing from your tiny, delicate speakers right now, iPhone?

Hour 3: I managed to make it out of the house; I wasn’t sure if I would be able to today, without your comforting existence in my back pocket. But I had made previous plans with a dear friend, so onward I went. We agreed to meet in front of a local shop, but I suddenly fretted over these arrangements. What would I do if she didn’t arrive on time? What if I were to break down along the journey? What if there was a miscommunication in regards to the meeting destination? What if I get lost?

All of these fears and more fluttered around my head, fears that would normally be assuaged by your reassuring presence. Oh, iPhone, might it be a mistake to journey out into the world without you?

Hour 4: iPhone, good news. I made it to my destination without the slightest hint of an obstacle. Oh now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t miss your melodies, caressing my ears, throughout the expedition. The local radio’s Top 40 hits simply couldn’t compare, but alas, I had to settle.

My dear friend and I also managed to connect without difficulty, but the minute we sat down, my thoughts of you came flooding back. I couldn’t show my latest photos to her. I couldn’t share my location with all of my social media followers. I couldn’t reach out to my other companions when the conversation lulled, or when she momentarily excused herself.

We had a lovely afternoon of catching up, but the void in my heart was still too much to bear.

Hour 5: I must cast aside my humbleness for a moment, to share about the rare cooperation of my hair, and the astounding outfit coordination that I achieved today. Normally, iPhone, I would have used you to communicate these achievements with my friends and followers on every means of social media through a well-angled self-photograph. But just as with my breakfast, everyone will simply have to rely on their imaginations to presume what the image would look like.

My suspicions that you are irreplaceable are constantly confirmed. iPhone, our reunion cannot come soon enough.

Hour 6: I began reading a book. It’s hard to explain what exactly a book is, but it’s something that I used to imbibe in before I met you. Once you came into my life, however, I have never had any reason to pick it up again.

My efforts to read this book failed, however. I quickly became bored with all of the empty words, none of which were accompanied by an image in which I could comment on, or a hashtag in which I could click on to connect with others.

iPhone, forgive me for never realizing before just how much joy and pleasure you provided me throughout each day. I will never take your amusement for granted again.

Hour 6.5: This will be my last entry. I just cannot do it any longer. This time without you, iPhone, has just been much more difficult than I imagined. I have relinquished myself to a corner of the room, unable to find anything else to do with my mind without your limitless screen of possibilities in the palm of my hand.

iPhone, please know how much enjoyment you gave me throughout our years together, and how much simpler you made my life. I apologize for my feeble attitude, but I simply cannot go on any longer.

Hour 7: Is that…? Could it be…? A knock on the door…? Are my ears just hearing what they wish for…? Is this what dying feels like…? Or is that…? Someone at the door…? Here to return you to me…? Let me just…unfurl myself…retreat from the corner…get to the door…open it…and…YES! IT IS YOU! YOU HAVE RETURNED FROM YOUR CONFINEMENT AND INTO MY FINGERTIPS! OH, HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU! I THOUGHT FOR CERTAIN I WOULD NEVER…

16 texts, five Facebook messages, three Snaps, and a voicemail from my roommate?

Ok g2g bye