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My landlord is trying to sell the building. This isn’t news – she’s been trying to sell it since I moved in. Lately she’s been redoubling her efforts to unload this crap heap on some unsuspecting would-be slum lord, making perfunctory and entirely cosmetic “improvements” to the building: the latest is a coat of ugly beige paint over the natural wood wainscoting in the stairways (which was actually quite nice). And when I say “a coat of paint,” I mean exactly that: one coat. Of cheap paint. Over stained wood. Not primed wood, nor sanded, nor even so much as cleaned; just a coat of paint slapped down. You can imagine how much more spruce the place looks. I have a sneaking suspicion that Judy (Landlordicus Retardicus) is commissioning her unemployable, mentally stunted relatives to perform these renovations in the interests of saving money.

Speaking of which, I finally had to leave a note on her door, scribbled with cramped, bloodless hands: “PLEASE TURN UP THE HEAT. Our apartment is EXTREMELY COLD,” after I pathetically resorted to ironing my clothes to warm up. (Forced to do housework! Oh the humanity!) I wish I could report some improvement, but I suspect that the warmer weather is to be credited with the recent atmospheric decongelation.

However! I have discovered a powerful weapon in my proletarian struggle for livable conditions. Yesterday afternoon, Judy stopped me in the hallway as I was leaving the building. “Is your dog home?” she asked. (“No,” I wanted to say. “She’s out picking up my dry cleaning.”)

“Uh, yeah,” I said. “But my sister is in. You can just go ahead and knock on the door.”

No dice – she asked me to accompany her to the apartment so she could take a look at the bathroom. Before we got (back up the two flights of stairs, fuck) to my door, she asked me to go inside and put the dog in my room. That done, I ushered Judy inside – she reluctantly stepped through the door, after verifying several times that yes, the dog was in the back room, and yes, the door was indeed closed. Once inside, she (rather disturbingly) CLUNG TO MY ARM and scurried along directly behind me all the way to the bathroom, as though Kara was liable to smell the musk of INTRUDER and Kujo her way through the solid wood door.

The results of this visit are thus: I will getting a crappy new coat of paint on the radiator in my bathroom (which I’m sure will be applied without removing the rusty, jagged, crusted remnants of the last coat); and more importantly, I now know that my landlord is deathly afraid of my dog. If it starts getting a wee bit nippy in my bedroom again, my dog will be getting a wee bit nippy at Judy’s heels. Viva La Revolution!

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