Friday, November 4, 2011


So, let's talk about why I'm REALLY here...

We've been housed in this town home by HUD for the last year.  During the first month, I noticed a fine layer of white dust accumulating on my furniture daily.  No matter how much I dusted, there it would be again the next day.... That dust.  Which kinda made me wonder what we were breathing...So, since my son has asthma - I have to keep the house cleaner than the average bear.  I began running fans constantly - to clean the air and keep it circulating.  But the dust persisted.

Then, there was the smell.  It was a noxious, gaseous smell of death.  Indescribably bad.  There were many nights when my son and I would turn to each other in unison and say: "Do you smell that?! Ewwwwwww...... !"  Then, there were the constant colds and upper-respiratory infections we were getting.  It was worrying.  My son and I began to spit-up yellow, green and red phlegm  every morning for weeks.  We would wake-up with green gunk sticking our eyes together and showing up in tissue when we blew our noses.  It wasn't funny anymore.

I thought it was us.  First, I thought - well, we just need to ________ (fill in the blank) mop more, sweep more, clean more, deodorize more etc..... I spent a small fortune on room fresheners, sprays, incense and bleach.  

Then, after doing all that I could to ensure our house was clean, I began to suspect our neighbors.  Maybe THEY weren't keeping THEIR houses clean enough, and WE were suffering as a result... HHhhhhhmmmm.... It became a mystery.....

Soon came the mice.  While setting traps for them one day, my maintenance guy casually says - "Oh, well, you know where the mice are coming from, don't you?" I said - "no, where?"  He says: "They're coming from that river over there !!"  "What 'river'?"  I asked... So, he proceeds to escort me to the fence bordering the perimeter of our property which I'd never had a reason to go near before.  And, there it was: Not a river at all, but a MOAT.  A 50-yard stretch of stagnant, standing 'water' about 2 feet deep.  And it was only 30-feet from my front door.  The closer we got to it, the worse it smelled.  I actually had a 'EUREKA !' moment.  Suddenly, it all made perfect sense:  That's why we were getting sick ! That's what we'd been smelling for months.... ! OHhhhhhhhh !!!!! DUHhhh !!!!

How to describe this disgusting display? Oh, well - I think I just did.  According to the City of Rockville, it's an open storm water sewage drain they knew had been clogged since 2009.  Yet, no one bothered to ask the industrial parks' management to clean it up.  So WHAT residents were getting sick, and it's an unhealthy environment to raise kids in??  So what.  As long as we continued to pay our rent on time, there was no problem.  Right? Wrong.  I slowly turned to my maintenance guy and said: "John (that's not his real name, cuz you know - I gotta protect the innocent), you really shouldn't have shown me THIS."

That's when all hell broke loose.  I kicked into high gear and got as much information and contacted as many people as I possibly could.  Of course, it wasn't HIS problem, it was HERS, it wasn't HIS job - it was THEIRS.... blah blah blah... But, I refused to take "no" for an answer.  I immediately stopped paying rent in protest, and  literally shamed them (HUD) into siding with me in order to get the problem solved.  It worked, but - by way of apology they sued me for back rent, and petitioned the court for my eviction.  They didn't even have the decency to be embarrassed or remorseful :-(

So, where are we now?  Well, I'm still pissed that it took HUD and the City 2 years to get this issue resolved.  And, I'm currently experiencing retaliation for my efforts, but otherwise - it's all good.  Never let 'em see you sweat ;-)

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