Aug. 22, 2021

the day of reckoning*

*translator’s note: reckoning means cleaning


It’s been exactly a month since the fire. Today, Mom and I went on a reconnaissance mission upstate to check out the condition of the apartment. We weren’t sure what to expect. Rotting corpse juices soaking the carpet? A mess of machinery left by remediation crews?

Before we went, Dad was sure the building would be barricaded to keep out looters. He expounded on the subject at length. But when we drove into the parking lot, we found the building doors flung wide open—no barricades, no security guards, no locks. Anyone could walk right in. So we did. I texted Dad a photo of the wide-open doors.

Then we arrived at my apartment, which had a little note taped to the door: NO KEY.

(Flashback to a couple years ago: I locked myself out of my apartment and went to the rental office to ask them to let me back in. In short order we discovered that (1) office staff did not have a spare key to the apartment and (2) the maintenance guy’s master key didn’t work on my lock. So the maintenance guy tried picking my lock. I stood there holding the flashlight for him. It was surreal. Also, he wasn’t able to pick it. He told me that my lock was good quality; the locks of the neighboring apartments were much easier to pick. I felt very secure. Thankfully, a second maintenance guy had a different master key, and that one worked.)

Back in the present, I opened the door to find my apartment pristine. Untouched. Exactly as I left it. I guess it made sense. They had no key. They apparently did not think to try the apocryphal second master key.

It looked great, honestly. It looked like I could move back in immediately. There was no smoke smell and no visible damage to anything. The power and water were on (although the water pressure and temperature were a bit erratic). The only outward sign that the apartment hadn’t been recently inhabited was the mangoes on the kitchen counter, which had turned a lurid green-black.

My big worry had been the fridge and freezer. Thankfully, it seemed like power was restored quickly enough that we didn’t have undue meltage/rotting. (Protip from Mom: Check the butter. If the power had been out long enough for the contents of the fridge to warm up, there’d be melted butter around the bottom of the stick. There was none.) The contents of the freezers seemed entirely intact, though we had to throw a bunch of stuff in the fridge because it had been sitting there for a month.

Mom wanted to clean the apartment. Not for fire-related reasons; she just has way higher housekeeping standards than I do. So for the next few hours, we vacuumed and dusted and scrubbed the kitchen floors and the bathroom. Then we packed up laundry (the building’s laundry facilities were on the burned-out floor; rest in pieces) and headed for home.

As we were driving home, apartment management sent an update: they “hope” we can move in by September 1. We hope so too.

Written by Achaius

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Posted On Aug 27, 2021

Wow! I'm so sorry you're going through this, but it sounds like things are looking up? I'm glad nothing was missing or damaged in your apartment. I hope you're able to move back in soon!

(Also, this was really well-written! Your descriptions and word choice were great. The butter tip was also very helpful should I ever find myself in a similar situation!)

Posted On Aug 27, 2021

@princessleopard Thanks! It's not the best situation, but my parents are letting me stay at their place so it's working out okay for me. I wonder what all the other apartment residents are doing.

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