2006.04.26 Four stars, no rats

Written by David Green.


As you’ve probably read across the page recently in my wife’s column, our son Ben has accepted a job with a landscape architecture firm in Miami. You might say that Colleen is making the best of that choice.

Crime and cockroaches, hurricanes and humidity—a lot of unpleasant things come to mind for her when she thinks of that city. Most of all, I suppose, is that it’s a long way from Morenci.

I remember driving an old beater to my first job interview after college, and I didn’t get hired. Ben was flown to five interviews and every one of the firms wanted him. Several of his relatives were rooting for Atlanta, but of course it was his choice and there were good reasons for choosing the company in Miami.

Now he’s in search of a place to live before work begins in June. Before he heads down in person, he’s been looking around via the angry, dissatisfied people who make comments at apartmentratings.com. Here’s a sample:

“You cannot have any guest parking so I hope you have about a million in meter change or risk parking across the street where the chance of your car being broken into is 75% and your walk to the building will be accompanied by crack heads.”

Well, I don’t know if that takes it out of the running. Let’s see what another reviewer says.

“The first time you go there you like it, but then start the problems. I’m agree that the smell where really bad. I also had a neighbor that always he opened his door a bad very bad odor came out his aparment. The hallway always smell it like cigarrette smoke blended with past food and dog excrement, a really bad smell.

“Next the Pool. impossible to take a bath there. Well I finally stayed only 4 months before I take my things and Go. Conclusion that apartment is really apartment for people without behave.”

Some of these places have dozens and dozens of ratings that are more like warnings to stay away. Topic headings like these abound: DO NOT MOVE HERE; Run away!; Rudest people in Miami; What a nightmare; You’ll be sorry if you move here; If you like to be abused, this is the place.

Amid these notes is an occasional high rating like this one: “Great location and the apartment quality is not bad; wonderful management and tenants very happy here. I’d recommend it to anyone.”

Other times you get a more puzzling one: “very nice, beouse is like a house, tropical stly, beatiful pol.”

After one of the rare, five-star ratings are posted, someone else will come back with something about how only the management could have written anything like that. Don’t believe a word. Not even “beouse”? I liked that word a lot.

“Ceiling fans are only for decoration.”

“If air conditioning goes, expect a two-week wait for it to be fixed. If the windows are blown out by a hurricane, expect a six-month wait for them to be fixed.”

“Mosquitoes in the elevators.”

“Roach infested garbage bin near the pool.”

“Every floor has its own smell, food on some floors, garbage on others.”

“Elevators smell like dog droppings.”

Maybe these enants are just acting too harsh. What would they say about my house? Ratings are based on seven factors.

Parking: It’s dropped in quality a little since the neighbor’s vacant drive is now often used by a construction crew. I’d give us a three.

Maintenance: Let’s not even go there. Two stars.

Construction: There’s no work going on here, but does that make us five stars or does that reflect back on maintenance?

Noise: Give us a four. The dogs aren’t bad currently, it’s just those darn miniature scooters driving by.

Grounds: I just mowed Friday night and the bleeding heart is blooming. Four stars.

Safety: Five stars. No accidents to report. Just don’t walk around in the dark.

Office Staff: Five stars, and if you don’t like it you can move to Miami.

I give us a rating of four. Not bad at all. Top that, Ben. And to quote that one writer who was discussing Miami’s Design Place, “I have not seen any rats.”

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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