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Uncertainty. What needs to be done? What’s the next direction, the next action that needs to be taken? I seem to be in a constant state of flux.

State of flux seems to be the phrase the most accurately describes my life as a condo resident. I bought my condo thinking that my life was going to settle down, reduced to a life of recovering from the harsh stress of a failed marriage and the stress that went with it. My little home was going to be my place of refuge, quiet, a retreat, the place I would rest after blissful bike rides. There was promise, hope for restoration. Conflict wasn’t in my plan carrying on.

My first task after my condo became my own was to eliminate the damage to my unit that years of chain smoking by previous owners had done to the place. I spent the first few months scrubbing the walls, windows, woodwork, carpets, and the floor to ceiling mirrors in the dining room. Nicotine was caked on in many places, so thick on the dining room mirrors that I couldn’t see myself. Several coats of primer went on the walls and woodwork after the washing was complete, a necessity to seal before the new paint was applied. It took a lot of elbow grease, but I was successful in removing the smoke stench from my home.

Shortly after I moved in, the devil’s sister revealed herself. Jezebel lived under my feet for three years. As I have chronicled here, it was a bumpy ride, but I survived it. She moved away this past summer. 2020 wasn’t terrible to me. I have reason to celebrate.

I stubbornly pursued my condo’s property management recently to get a garbage issue resolved. I had to fight a bit to get it done, but it was accomplished. The conflict was not fun, but was unfortunately necessary.

Sigh. I have another condo related issue to tackle now. My new downstairs neighbor is a great guy, laid back as can be, good to talk to. Todd is a semi-retired air traffic controller who now works as a training consultant, from home. If it was not for one thing, I would barely know that he is home. That one thing is the problem. Todd is a chain smoker. Judging from the empty cigarette cartons in his recycling bin each week, he smokes a great deal of very cheap cigarettes called American Spirit. Cigarette smoke smells nasty, and this brand smells especially rancid.

My home reeks of cigarette smoke. The smoke from my neighbor’s cigarettes somehow makes it way up the walls into my unit. It’s very bad, so bad during the day that my eyes burn and I occasionally gag. At times, including today, the fug has been dense enough to cause me to be woozy. As I write, I can feel myself getting dizzy again.

I don’t know what to do. The obvious action to take is to talk to my neighbor about it, something I dread doing. It’s the right thing to do and it may help, but I haven’t worked up the courage to knock on his door. He asked me about his smoking when he first moved in, but I was so relieved to finally to be rid of the devil’s sister that I didn’t want to risk rocking the boat with my new neighbor. I let it pass. I wish I hadn’t.

I have talked to a condo association board member about it. She was sympathetic, but not really enough to want to do anything about it. It’s a tricky issue for a condo association, I know. I may revisit it with her, though. Even if I talk to my neighbor about it, I doubt it will stop the smoking. He will care, but he’s an addict. What I fear is that I may have to put up a fight, try to convince the condo association to establish a smoke free policy, either as an amendment to the condo declaration or bylaws, or as a change to the association rules or regulations. It’s not likely a fight I will win. I’m not sure I want to get into another situation that involves conflict. I’m researching, finding some helpful suggestions and articles on the internet, but, well, none say it will be easy influencing a condo association to take action. They are afraid of the risks and already have enough conflict to deal with as it is.

So here I sit in someone else’s stench. Woe is me.

Any suggestions are welcome.