Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Case Closed

I settled in court today and won $2.5k. This is $1k bond, $500 costs (replacement bean bags and dry cleaning), $900 in back rent, and $180 in money illegally obtained as a rent increase (which the judge noted without me saying).

What I didn’t receive was $2k in half rent since moving in, and $500 in other costs. The judge said the legislation prohibits compensation for personal injury and he couldn’t see how I could claim that back rent (perhaps NSW and USA don’t have such a clause). He also said I couldn’t replace cardboard boxes with plastic boxes and claim it (although I argued that, as the bugs can hide easily in cardboard boxes, he didn’t seem interested), and he didn’t mention a few hundred dollars in other costs.

The defendant did show up. He claimed he’d been trying to contact me by phone to arrange return of my bond (I haven’t received any calls). He claimed I’d damaged the curtains by having them dry-cleaned and he wanted to reduce my bond. He also said he had been invoiced for pest control by the real estate agent as REIWA said pest control is the tenants responsibility, and that I should be liable for the $450 there. He hadn’t logged a counterclaim for those costs though, and the judge seemed to indicate he wouldn’t win on any of those claims anyway as that’s not part of our contract.

So I settled for what I thought was at least reasonable (covering my costs, if not any of the hell I went through) – and because I needed the money ASAP. The judge said it was a very reasonable compromise. I count it as a win for me.

Monday, July 7, 2008


No bug sightings as yet. I check my white sheets every night and every morning for marks and haven't t found anything. I turned my whole bed over a week ago and didn't find anything. I'm still waking up every few minutes / hours and hurriedly turning on the light and checking to see what's biting me but haven't found anything either.

The real watermark moment is about 55 days (which is a generation or so), so I'm still a while away from feeling completely free. But I'm much happier and feel safer in this new place.

I still read the bed bug news every day and comment on the forums. Today there was a bill being debated in Washington and lots of people have left comments here and there about it - comments like bed bugs aren't a big issue, that people who have them are dirty, and the government shouldn't have to deal with them. I've been doing my bit to correct those false assumptions, and I'm not alone. Other people are joining in the fight to educate others as well.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Moved - Again

I moved into my new apartment. It was an ordeal - a trip on Wednesday and a trip on Thursday (with a trolley this time), carrying all those huge heavy boxes one by one through a parking lot and around the building into my new apartment.

I spent most of the next few days (and nights) cleaning and unpacking. The apartment looked really nice and clean, but actually it was filthy. There were weird drip marks on the walls in the bathroom like someone had thrown up on all four walls (impossible, right?), thick rings of dust everywhere, (unused) condom packets in the drawers and lost DVDs under the TV, dirty dishes under the sink, and marks all over the walls.

I pretty much finished everything as of Saturday afternoon. I identified a leaking tap in the sink that's leaking into the cupboard on Thursday and sent a note to the real estate agent. I found another leak into the wall making a mouldy patch near the front door via the bath/shower area, and emailed them about that last night with photos. I put a drip pan under the sink to catch the water temporarily.

Those are small things though, a few days of trouble, but otherwise the apartment is all clean and good to go. I feel really happy there.

Just before I moved into the last apartment I had bought a new double-bed doona (duvet) and new chinese black and red sheet set. But when I was about to move I found my new bed was a queen and so those sheets wouldn't fit, and I stored them at home (luckily never taking them to that infested place). My new bed in this apartment is a double-bed, so I could finally use those things I'd spent so much money on, and that made me happy :)

I made chicken for dinner on Saturday and Sunday, and also blended some drinks from fresh fruit. My immune system feels really down the past few days... I think that will help.

I slept okay on Saturday night, but last night I couldn't sleep well. I kept having dreams that bugs were on me, I'd wake up and switch on the light and throw back the covers but there is nothing there.

When I unpacked all my things I sprayed even more fly spray everywhere - so much so that I was super sick at work on Friday, I think I had inhaled the fumes too much. I drowned my DVD cases, I drowned the book shelf, sprayed some of the books, and around the bathroom and the kitchen skirting boards. Both for bed bugs and cockroaches, as I'd seen some dead cockroaches laying around and a whole lot of cockroach hotel baits (which I've since thrown away).

Anyway like I said I'm happy. I did some exercise this morning. I hope to get my life back in order. Of course, I won't feel totally normal for at least another month or so, which is the time it would take for any eggs to hatch and start an infestation again. This time I'll be prepared though.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Got it!

I got the apartment! I'll be moving in this afternoon.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Well I moved all of my things home. I got some cans of insect repellent and sprayed everything down - every inch of the bookshelf, the outside of the boxes, the outside of the bags, inside the back of my LCD monitor, inside and outside of my computer (sans hard drive). What's funny is each morning the things are covered with dead mosquitoes and things. Gross.

The spray is VERY wet and takes a LONG time to dry even with a heater on it. In retrospect I don't think spraying electronics was the best idea - especially if you did this yourself you should not spray it on the front surface of any screen, or inside the power supply of a computer (the wetness could short a capacitor which could explode or start a fire).

Here you can see a photo of my new plastic life:

I also took apart my keyboard and computer, but couldn't get all the way in to check them. They look okay though and I sprayed around just to be sure. Same with the mouse, and all the cabling (I sprayed the whole lot them wiped it down a while later). My computer seems to be all working. The hard drive is making some ticking sounds that are a worry, but it might just be me imagining things. I did have trouble starting it but now it all seems okay.

I went through two garbage bags of washing (it was about 5 lots in a big washing machine), and donated a lot of clothes (and other things, after washing) to charity seeing as I never wear them and need the space to store things. I have one set of washing left to do - about one load worth. I'll do that tonight.

I feel a little better. I haven't seen or found any bugs since moving. I took so many precautions with all of my things - bagging everything carefully, washing everything on hot, drowning the outsides in anti-bedbug spray (only one type of Mortein in the whole range will kill them, so if you go that route "to be safe" then choose carefully from the label), throwing things away, etc.

I think we should tip the couch over in my parent's house tonight, seeing as I fell asleep there once, and just check to make sure there's nothing living underneath it. You know, just to be sure.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Moving day

It was moving day yesterday.

The real estate agent called me at 10am and said she'd know within the hour if the place was for rent or sale. Two hours passed. I called at 1 and got told by the receptionist there was a message that the owner still hadn't contacted them. I called again at 3:30 and spoke to the real estate agent herself and got the same message. So - no resolution to that. I had to move back with my parents.

I took all my dry cleaning back to work, sealed it, then took it home and stored it in the room. That's much nicer than it was when I moved in.

My brother borrowed a truck from work and we started loading it in the afternoon with all of my things. The side door of the apartment complex broke and we had to actually carry some stuff around the entire building to get it into the truck. When I had finished disassembling my book case, I found a live bug. It was a VERY live bug. At first I looked down and it was sitting on the carpet and I thought it was dead, but after I poked it, it started running really fast. I took a photo and a video for court then killed it.

In a way that's good, because it gives me 100% clear reason for having given my "2 days emergency moving notice" for the place being uninhabitable even after spraying. I knew there were bugs hiding around anyway, I just couldn't prove it until now.

But I'm not sure where exactly it had been hiding, as the PCO had sprayed down the whole (front of the) book case and it had been completely missed. It may have been living in one of the little peg holes in the sides of the frame where you insert trays, or something. When I got the book case home I sprayed the whole thing, every hole and everything in a bed bug spray.

Oh yeah so I stuck this one to tape, and was sticking the 3 "mostly dead but still twitching" ones from the glass that I captured earlier in the week, when they went NUTS. They were still alive and well, they were only PLAYING dead. The moment I had them on tape their legs starting wheeling and kicking like crazy.

Here is the one from the book case just before I taped it.

My housemate/head-tenant/landlord wasn't there at all though. I left my key there with a note that had my bank account details for a direct deposit and that he owed $1000 bond plus a $50 key deposit. I'm sure he wasn't there on purpose, but I'm fine with that.

I made sure to clean everything out of my room, vacuum after, throw the bag out, threw the trash out, and triple-quadruple checked to make sure I hadn't left a trace of me behind. When I was finished the room was completely bare. I'm going to miss that view though.

So we got home, I left my plastic boxes outside, moved plastic bags inside and sprayed them all down. Sprayed inside the back of my monitor and lined around it with dust. Sprayed down my suitcase (as I don't think the PCO did, even though I left it out for him) which has my computer in it. Sprayed all along the carpet and walls around the boxes and bags. And left my DVD cases outside as I hadn't gone through them all thoroughly yet. I also taped up some holes I'd found in some low-risk bags.

I was able to wash my jeans (finally) and put on some clean clothes. But I couldn't sleep well. I haven't slept there in 5 years and for good reason, it really really really sucks there.

I really hope I can get my apartment today, and if not that I can tell this real estate agency to fucking shove it because it's SO WRONG to keep an application going for an entire week while holding my deposit so I can't check out other places. As I said to my brother this morning "the owner of the new place doesn't even deserve me as a tenant."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Still no word

I went "home" to vacuum up all the dead bugs, feces, and eggs, and threw away the bag. The whole thing took 2 hours because I took home dry cleaning as well and then had to go into the city to find and buy vacuum bags and more garbage bags. Then I had to bring in the mattresses from the balcony and put them on the bed. One of them was slightly damp down the edge that touches the ground - I guess the bag must have had a hole in it. But otherwise they seemed ok.

Anyway on the way to buy those things I passed the apartment I wanted and, lo and behold, there is a little advertisement stuck on the side of the building saying that exact apartment was up for sale!

What the hell!

I called the real estate agent at 3:30pm and said hey guys what's going on with my application? She said another real estate agent is trying to sell the place and the buyer is getting back to them this afternoon. If they don't get it, then they get to rent it out, and she'll process everything and get back to me before 11am tomorrow.

I said "Ummm, yeah, you know I AM moving tomorrow..." and she goes quiet. I said "If you can let me know before 11am that would be great, I'll just have to live with it." There was nothing negative about it, just saying.

You know, on Monday she said she could process everything in one day, two days if more people apply for it. *cough* I faxed it through Monday night and now it's Wednesday and she still hasn't done anything with it at all. What the hell?

So, back to waiting.