I do NOT want another day like today.

480sparky

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A couple weeks ago, I got a call from the maintenance man for a string of apartment properties I do work for. He want me to reserve Thursday, June 20th. They sent a letter to all the residents of one property that they will be 'making the rounds' doing minor repairs.

So I'm thinking it will be a easy-peasy, mundane day. Change broken/loose devices, replace burned-out lamps, checking smokes for working batteries, etc.

Well, yeah, it was. At least the first 5 out of the 6 units that had reported problems. One the sixth, everything changed.



The maint. man knocked on the door, and a teen-age girl answers. He ask for the parents, and she says they're at work. We ask to come in to fix the shopping list of issues, so she lets us in (Us, meaning me, a plumber, the maint. man and the property manager).

The first thing that hits me is the smell. Now, I don't have a keen olfactory sense. But I was almost knocked out by the stench. I've been in porta-potties that smelled better.

Inside, a total of 8 kids, the teen-age girl (I'm guessing 13) the oldest, and the youngest looked about 2. I make my rounds checking all the devices, making a mental list of material I need from the truck.

The place is a mess. The carpet is literally a toilet. Urine smell everywhere. No pets, nor any evidence I could see of any. Dirty clothes, toys, etc. The place looks like a tornado hit it.

I go out to the truck to get the stuff I need. On my way back in, the manager stops me. "We're thinking of calling CPS [Child Protective Services], what do you think?"

I deadpan: "Not my call, but if it were, I would in a heartbeat".

Turns out, the oldest kid made a phone call, and 'dad' didn't want us in the apartment (this despite notes in their rent notices as well as posted on the exit doors). Pfft: no wonder, genius... your kids live in a pig sty. Next thing I know, the cops show up.


By then, I'm done (replaced a total of 7 outlets that wouldn't hold a cord to save their live, 2 missing or broken cover plates, and a light in the bathroom). I had to pick up broken glass under a busted window to replace one outlet.


I don't know if the kids were removed, as I was done at that point and just wanted to get the he11 outta there. My eyes were watering and my throat was burning. But I was asked for my contact info by one of the officers. I just gave him a card and said, "Call me if you need me. I'm gonna go to Long John Silvers and clean up in their grease pit."

I don't know of the oldest girl was the oldest sibling or a baby-sitter, but leaving those kids alone all day in an environment like that shouldn't be allowed.

I came straight home, undressed in front of the washing machine and headed right into the shower. I emptied the water heater, and I still don't feel clean.
 

oldhippy

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Sorry about your day. As for the kids. I hope CPS looks into their situation. Sounds like Miller Time.
 

pixmedic

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I see homes like this almost weekly. its still disturbing.
 
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480sparky

480sparky

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Sorry you had to witness that. Hopefully, they won't have to get you involved further.


I couldn't care less if I get any more involved. It's the fact that those kids are forced to live like that.
 

sm4him

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What a sad, sad situation for those kids, knowing nothing else but that squalor and filth to live in. I wonder how long it's been since the "Dad" (a title that clearly isn't REALLY appropriate here) has actually been IN that apartment.

I really wish you hadn't had to witness that, but at least by calling you in for "routine" maintenance, the apt. manager was alerted to the need to do something. Hard to believe it got that bad before they noticed.

I hope the kids end up better off by getting out of there, and I hope YOU don't have dreams about that awful smell and filth. You definitely need to go do something fun now!
 

jwbryson1

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It's horrible and heart wrenching. Makes a person feel like they want or need to do something but, in the end, for every 1 that you can help, there are dozens that you will never know about....and it will drive you mad.

Let it go.
 

Trever1t

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I'm kinda surprised that these situations are present, even in the heartland of America. I could expect it in Miami, Chicago, NY or LA but in Iowa too? Wow.
 

nycphotography

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I think you found the tenants that used to live in the house I bought and renovated last year. Nasty pigs. The parents should be locked in the barn with the rest of the livestock, if only we could find decent answers to raising the kids w/o them.

I was pulling up the nasty carpets and telling my girlfriend / assistant... I don't think this smells like dogs and i know it doesn't smell like cats.... I think the kids must not have been house broken. She didn't believe me, but I know. I've seen it before.

Ugh. I was sniffing coffee beans all night to get rid of the smell.

The next day I dug through my lease form and added clauses that make untidy shared areas, strong odors, and an assortment of other piggish things into evictable offenses. Basically, things that can cost me money either in rentability of other units or money to remediate / fix.
 

cgipson1

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Sorry to hear that you had to deal with that! That type of scene is never pleasant, and can get worse if the offenders / parents show up. Hopefully the "authorities" will get it straightened out.
 

nycphotography

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Sorry to hear that you had to deal with that! That type of scene is never pleasant, and can get worse if the offenders / parents show up. Hopefully the "authorities" will get it straightened out.

Sadly, the authorities can do little to help the kids. They can punish the parents, and they can yank the kids... but in the absence of physical or sexual abuse, the kids are often better off with the known bad parenting they have than the unknown bad foster care they're likely to replace it with.

If we can ever find answers to really help at risk kids break free from the limits of their parents it will solve so many of our problems.
 

frommrstomommy

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Gosh, that is awful. ;\ 13 is too young to be watching those other children too. That's crazy.
 

Overread

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What a sad, sad situation for those kids, knowing nothing else but that squalor and filth to live in. I wonder how long it's been since the "Dad" (a title that clearly isn't REALLY appropriate here) has actually been IN that apartment.

Wouldn't surprise me if he's either home every evening or not - he could be highly neglectful or suffering from some mental breakdown of his own. Typically people will not, by choice, live in an environment like that - however things such as depression and other mental illness's can induce a slip into such conditions - and of course with kids that young they won't have learned any better to cope with the situation.

We can just hope that CPS steps in to sort things out - ideally the kids need a better (short or long term depending on what the situation is) living environment and the parent(s) likely need some form of medical support themselves otherwise they'll just repeat it all over again and nothing gets solved.


A terribly sad situation indeed, but on the positive side its out in the open now - one can hope a resolution comes from that fact.
 

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