Vacuums and Fans Are Signs of Problems


by Sarah Crow

I’m driving back to Simpson Saturday morning after visiting a friend, and get a call from my roommate. She tells me I’m going to be mad if she tells me something, but that I’m going to find out once I get to the apartment anyway-she got a call from Luke Behaunek (director of residence life) and our apartment is flooded.

Apparently, one of my neighbors above me ‘fell asleep in the bathtub and left the water running all night.’ I’m trying not to judge, and I’ve done my fair share of stupid things under the influence, but nothing to this extreme.

I pull in the Detroit parking lot about 10 a.m. and as I turn the corner I see a Simpson van with the back open full of vacuums, dehumidifiers and fans. There’s a wet mattress that has a trail of water following it eight feet out the back door, and our trash hadn’t been taken out for the last month.

I walk into the building, preparing myself for the worst. There is water everywhere and it reeks like B.O. and cat pee and I’m still on the first floor. I walk my hung-over self down the stairs and open the door to my room. Two Simpson workers were there and nervously greeted me, as I’m sure they were expecting me to freak out.

They had placed all our wet clothes, bedding and pillows into large white garbage bags, as they sucked the water up with a huge vacuum. They very politely told me showed me where the water had come from (all the fixtures), and asked it was okay to move certain things.

They pointed to a pile of textbooks and notebooks that were originally stacked on the floor. The panic didn’t slip in until I flipped through a couple notebooks and realized all my class notes had been ruined. I took a deep breath, grabbed my clothes for work, thanked the cleaning men and left.

My parents and I get back to my apartment around 2 p.m., and spent the next couple of hours cleaning, and doing around 13 loads of laundry. The cleaning guys were still in our room and had emptied the vacuum thing that held three to five gallons of water 37 times since 9 a.m. I had to throw away throw pillows, food, books, magazines, and random items like make-up. My Wii was bundled up in box and was soaking wet; all my computer and printer cords had gotten soaked.

Luke Behaunek says Simpson will take care of it, but what the hell does that mean? How do you put a value on the school notes, time, stress, value taken away from my stuff, and living in a room that smells horrible? And if there is a value, what will Simpson choose to do?

At least one valuable lesson has come from this wonderful experience: renters insurance is a must. It is just extremely frustrating to have to live in a place that smells horrible, has damaged my things and that has to be checked by some kind of maintenance staff each day. The maintenance staff has all been very friendly, but I just want my stuff back to the way it was and to be given an adequate living environment, especially for the price I pay.