Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Over - Reality Hits

Hope you all had a great Christmas. I know I sure did, one of the best ever.

No, I didn't really get many gifts or anything like that but since my Christmasses have been known to be bawl-your-eyes-out total trainwrecks with my dysfunctional family, the fact that this one went smoothly - and was actually PLEASANT! - meant all the world to me.

Besides our Xmas Eve dinner going as good as one could hope for, there were other grand things in the figuritive stockings:

*My boyfriend and I's gift to each other was to go to Disneyland (we went last Jan too). We had ordered the flight and tickets (hotel was free) online on my mother's card since we were too in debt with our credit cards to do so. Our plan was to pay her back when we could. But her gift to US was that we didn't have to pay her back! Score! Free trip to Disneyland - couldn't have asked for more (except maybe an iPod) and I know how much weight that took off of my bf's shoulders.

*I refinanced my mortgage, meaning I pay a little extra each month (around $200) on my mortgage to have the peace of mind of paying off all of my credit cards. Yep, it's embarassing and nasty but I have well over $10,000 owed on credit cards. Bad spending habits, several trips to Europe, California, Hawaii, running out of money, all of these happenings since 2004 have caused this atrocious amount of debt. And now, finally, after years of having this on my shoulders, of knowing that I was spending over $400 a month in total on all my payments, barely going above the minimum and realizing I would be paying it for the rest of my life (which is what happens when you only pay off the interest), I will be free.

Best part of all - I think - is that the bank is forcing me to pay off the cards with the money and close them down (keeping one lowest interest paid off and open). So I have no choice. And while my credit will now improve over the years, for now it is so bad that there is no way I would be able to open another card - thus avoiding this again.

I do have to work hard at changing my habits though and only using the card if I have the means to pay it all off before the due date. But with a fresh start and a fresh year, I believe I can - and will do it.

Those were the great things that happened this here are some bad things:

*My boyfriend (he is a glass technician) got $250 for a Xmas bonus last year which the boss proudly gave to him saying that the business did well and this is the result...keep in mind though that the boss is a cheap, fat fuck and everyone else got $1000 in their bonus.

This year was their best year on record and my bf was counting on the same amount, and most likely more since the boss was flaunting how much money they were making. Anyway, turns out that because my boyfriend sliced open his hand last month and lost a day of work because of it, the boss was giving him only $150 this year, saying that the $100 cheque my bf got from Workers Comp counted towards the bonus! If that wasn't so damn cheap enough already, when the bonus actually came, there was only $50 in the envelope! My boyfriend had only $50 to buy all his Christmas presents. He was counting on that money for so many things, pay back people he owed, buy his parents nice presents, take his work buddy out for a beer or two. And yet he could only get a bottle of wine for his dad and that's it. I know that his dad understands and his parents are so rich that presents don't matter, but it matters to my poor bf.

I know how horrible it feels to not be respected by your boss. There are two owners though and the other boss, plus shop forman, think my bf is a fantastic worker - pity the one in charge of the money (who knows nothing about glass or people skills ) is so damn cheap and ignorant.

*Ahh and the coupe de resistance.

Earlier this year, my building switched property management companies. The new management company raised our monthly maintenance fees from $282 to $420 in order to make up for future elevator repairs (techincally we shouldn't pay until AFTER the work is done but whatever). It sucked and made living here a lot harder, I fell behind in payments as it was tough enough as it was ($282 is high anyway).

Now we get a letter saying that in FIVE days (no two-week notice, which is ILLEGAL) they are raising our fees to $640!

People are so outraged that we had a meeting over this yesterday and another one today.

The property management company is claiming they need to redo the parking lot - which not only means I have to be without my space for 6 months - but that we are all getting charged for it.

We don't own our spaces. We rent them. The company owns them. Asking us to pay is like a landlord asking a tenant to pay for all the repairs and renos they want to do. NOT FAIR AND NOT LEGAL!

Plus the money that they get from us renting the spaces each money equals $48,000 a year! That money goes into their pockets directly - they aren't putting towards any of the repairs! We have to pay and some of us dont even HAVE parking spaces!

Conveniently, the management company, Porte Realty ltd. is away until the 5th, even though they are taking out the new amount of funds out tomorrow (if you have direct withdrawal). Luckily I pay by cheque and you can BET that I, and many others, are not making out the amounts to include the parking lot.

Anyway, at the meeting last night, I volunteered to write up a petition and a letter to Porte Realty to explain how unfair this is and to arrange a meeting with them - good luck with that though, since no one can ever get them on the phone or reach them.

If that doesn't work, you can bet I will raise a stink about it. Imagine that, I have to pay all this money a month now. Can you imagine if I still had to pay a ton towards my credit cards? Can you imagine if my bf didnt live with me and wasn't splitting the costs? Even so we can't afford this increase...MY MAINTENANCE FEES ARE MORE THAN MY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS! Its the principal of the matter, the fact that the company has no proof that this is how much the parkade will cost, no permission from us to start another HUGE expensive project when the elevators are NOT EVEN FIXED YET and to expect us to pay for something when they HAVE THE MONEY TO DO IT THEMSELVES!

And to give us FIVE DAYS NOTICE? What bout people who want to move because of this, they need time to sell before it takes effect? What about people who rent, their rents will go up, what if THEY can't afford it?

This is so horrible and makes me so mad, I couldn't even sleep last night over the injustice. All I know is that today I am writing the best damn angry letter ever and we are going to get these bastards. As I said, I will make a stink if they ignore us - they say a few people can't make a difference and fight the system, especially if it's corrupt, but don't underestimate me at least. Even if legal options seem our only option, there is always the MEDIA and that can work best of all. You can bet that I will take this story to all of my connections in the media if nothing comes of it and at least will threaten the company with this action if they continue to ignore all 130 enraged occupants in this building!

On the plus side, my bf and I are still going to move out, regardless...we are going to buy a new place by April, you can bet on it. But since the market sucks big time now (and let's face it, who wants to move into a building with over $600 a month to maintaining shit), we are going to have to rent it out. But as before renting it out would have left us with profit, we are actually going to have to charge a very high price for a very unworthy place, just to break even!

It's mind-bending. I hate how the minute you get a handle on one with money-wise (ie, my debt) something else comes along and takes you back down again.

I thank my lucky stars though that at least I did get a handle on those things, before this horrible atrocity came along.


Kass said...

That is a buttload of suck for both of you! Hope your new year is much much better.

And you know that you can always come down here for a nice kiwi holiday... :)

Vegas Princess said...

Wow. I can't even wrap my head around how awful that all is. Makes your lovely holiday ruined. I would make sure you send that letter certified so they have to sign for it so you know they got it and no one can claim having never seen it. And I would take it to the media (If I lived there I would do it for you!) because that is highway robbery and as you said illegal. They are required to show a break down of all the costs and present it to every resident before they agree to increase anything to pay for it. At least that is how it works here. I am so sorry you have to deal with all of this. Unbeliveable.


edarling wishing you am uch better new year money wise.take care of you.

Ashleigh said...

le BFs boss is def El Cheapo...tacky...and good luck with the whole CC thing...Im sure itll all get better in the coming new year.....lastly..moms rock..that was so sweet what she did! Wish you all the best in the new year! XOX