Posts Tagged With: dormitory

“It’s an undergrad dorm, what do you expect?”

(WARNING: People with Arachnophobia, this post contains material about spiders.)

“We would like to apologize for the temperature in the building: it has been unseasonably warm recently. According to a Chicago City Ordinance 13-196-410 Residential buildings: “Every family unit or rooming unit to which heat is furnished from a heating plant used in common for the purpose of heating the various rooms of the dwelling shall be supplied with heat from September 15th of each year to June 1st of the succeeding year…” Thus, we are not able to turn our HVAC system over from heat to air yet, but please feel free to call the City of Chicago to address this issue. And again, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. ” – Facebook post from management

Soon after reading the Facebook post from management, I read a comment by another tenant:

“The small opening of our window (which has been broken all year by the way) is not enough to cool down the apartment. Bugs and spiders also come in. May 31st cannot come soon enough.”

We had cracked our windows open too. My eyes slowly moved to my ceiling and lo and behold, two inch-long spiders had already finished intricate webs above my desk. Another had made a web across our window, and yet another was watching over Renee’s laundry basket.

"I'ma shoot a parachute out mah butt and peace out, yo!!"

Spiders apparently engage in something called ballooning where they shoot little web-parachutes out of their hineys and get dragged around. For them, it’s an alternative to climbing things like, say, our apartment building. The Chicago Sun Times cheerily reports that this “Spiderfest” is a common occurrence in the Loop. Skyscrapers help create strong drafts that take ballooning spiders and whisk them up to the windows of classy lofts, and of course, our student housing. I find this fascinating and I have a profound respect for spiders and what they do (eat bugs I hate). But in my 5’0″ glory, gathering every spider into a little glass jar and setting them free outside was going to be a potentially risky task. So I whispered apologies as I picked up my shoe.

It’s an undergrad dorm, what do you expect?

Well, certainly not what happened that night. I was sitting in a chair and drawing when Renee’s timid little voice called out: “Ummm..!” She was standing in front of our room the carpet sopping wet beneath her. Indeed, when I stepped on the carpet myself, water spouted up like that scene from that Disney movie Dinosaur (2000) when Aladar found water by stomping down on seemingly dry ground. Apparently, people three floors up had left their sink running, draining water down into the apartments below.

I was at practicum when Renee called me, letting me know that our carpet was being torn up and they were putting de-humidifiers and fans in the room. She told me to come back to the apartment later to see if we wanted to temporarily re-locate to another unit for a few nights until the carpet was dry.

I came back to find this, and the answer was immediate. We packed up a few necessities and moved down a few floors, and will be spending the weekend in an otherwise unoccupied unit until the building has fixed our room. Admittedly, it’s nice and quiet down here and if anything, Renee and I have been enjoying the little change of pace.


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My Loopy Lullaby: Noises that make me consider moving.

As a resident and student of downtown Chicago, I almost never leave the Loop. I see it during the day when it is full of life, shopping bags, that occasional odd person, and of course, those art students with their fancy glasses and skateboards. I rarely plug into my iPod anymore when I’m walking to school because I love to take in the sound of a busy city morning.

For the night, however, is another matter entirely. A constant popuri of strange, there is always one moment in the night when my roommate and I both look up at each other, one of us inevitably asking: “What was that?” So in no particular order, here are my “favorite” night noises that I hear from my apartment at night:

#1) The L

When my parents first helped me move into my apartment, they marveled at the view I had from my window, then were instantly blown back by the loud, abrasive racket of the CTA trains passing. “How are you going to sleep at night?” they asked, genuinely concerned. “Eh, I’ll probably get used to it,” I said, “Seriously, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”

#2) Screaming– They come in all different durations and pitches, male voices and female voices. This isn’t just occasionally– we hear at least one every night. I’m not talking the “ooh, having fun with the gals” sort of screaming. It’s the type I don’t know how to make sense of. I told one of my security guard friends at school about this, and she said: “You need to call in and report the weird noises you’re hearing”. I told her that if I did that, I’d be calling them every five minutes. *sigh* Undergrads…

#3) Parking Garage Alarms- I don’t know who designed it, but there’s a particular one that woke both my roommate and I up on our first nights here, saying: “Are you kidding me?”. It changes sound every three or four seconds, going from a looooong moan, to the sound of a self-destructing space ship, to the wail of a police siren, to a high pitched whooping noise. There has to be at least ten different alarms in this parking garage’s arsenal. An example of when diversity is not okay.

#4) HONK HONK– SMASH-  I feel horrible, but when I heard it, I chuckled. Then hoped they were okay.

#5) Cool People with Cool Speakers- Until recently, my roommate and I got to hear and feel the bass speakers of other students permeating through the walls. I love me some Pitbull (Dale!) but really? Your cool is just too awesome for me.


#6) Animal Noises- I’m not talking the kind that’s usually paired with your neighbor’s mattress springs. I mean there are people who go out into the hallway and make convincing and loud animal noises. At first, it used to cheese me off. Then I started to laugh as I realized it was their way of asking to be let into someone’s room. Now I just laugh.

#7) “We’re watching My Little Pony, M************!”- ………………..I…can’t actually explain why the menacing, deep-voiced male of college age woke me up at 2 AM with this public service announcement from the hallway. I can honestly say I wish I had found out.

#8) Whatever they’re doing upstairs. It sounds like this.

While I’m thankful for such a conveniently-located, well priced living space, I’ll probably be keeping my eyes out for other options. In the meantime, I’ll be laughing at the drastic change from crickets and wild birds to the dulcet sounds of questionable activity outside the window.

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