January 18, 2013

Our Door Is Always Open

It's not always sunshine and roses out here.

Lately it's been snow and cigarettes.

Around November, we got a new neighbor. No, there were no introductions, and we still have no idea what he/she/them even look like.

But we know their scent.

We live in the attic of a refurbished house that has 6 other apartments. There is one in the very front on the bottom floor, two attached to the back of the house in the yard, and four (including ours) that are accessed from the side door and a spiral staircase inside.

The remodeling project cut A LOT of corners. I don't know much about infrastructure, but I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be able to feel outside air or wind when standing a few feet away from a window. Or the closet. Or the skylight. Or in the bathroom.

But we've been okay with our one room quasi-cabin-tree-fort setup and have been totally happy fitting our lives into a simpler space.

And then they came.

And they smoke like lung cancer doesn't exist.

It wouldn't be so much of a problem if the builders had had the crazy idea to use heavier doors for our individual apartment entrances. But as it stands, our doors are more akin to bedroom doors with bolt locks.

Safety isn't the issue; the situation concerns the characteristics of air and how it ventilates itself. Oh, and the fact that SMOKE RISES (remember Smokey the Bear; stop, drop, and roll; stay low, kids).

I went through the entire rental agreement, and nowhere does it state you cannot smoke in your own apartment. We have thought about asking them to stop, or even posting fake "No Smoking" signs, but we are pretty sure it would all be in vain. Choosing to smoke already requires a level of personal negligence; why would they be concerned with our health if they don't care about their own?

So we have perfected our ventilation techniques. It requires us to be freezing cold (temperatures in the 20s Fahrenheit at night) for about 20 minutes, but clean air is worth it!

1) Put on all of your warmest clothes.
2) Open all apartment skylights and windows.
3) Station 1 person goes downstairs to the side door.
4) Station 2 person waits at apartment door.
5) Swing the doors back and forth.

We are just thankful it only takes about 50 door swing reps, and we are in the clear. The clear, frozen air, that is.

We are also hoping for the day that the smoker(s) will reveal themselves during our loud door swinging routine and we can be like, "This is YOUR fault."

Until then, enjoy your warm and smoke-free environment, and we'll practice our fire drills from our third floor window rope.