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.
Yuck, this is why I am kind of dreading moving back to apartments next year, I have been pampered for the last 5 years with a house and now a TH with only one attached neighbor. Next year we are likely going to an apartment for a while and I’m hoping we don’t have issues like you have. I hope you can come to some compromise with him, maybe he can agree to smoke on his balcony and not inside?
Apartment and condo living can be a challenge. It can be fun, as well, something I probably ought to talk about more. The place I live is a great community and I am part of a rec board that helps make it even better. I lived in a house for 22 years, with no conflict at all. It requires a change of mindset to go from that to a multi-unit setting.
He originally just smoked outside on his patio, right underneath my balcony. The smoke was even worse then. I don’t have an answer. I wish I did.
Oh no, hope you figure something out.
yikes, I’m not sure how to approach this
Tough spot, brother. That one blows.
Oh gosh, Steve. I am SUPER sensitive to smoke and soooo feel your pain. I can smell ONE cigarette from a block away and get sick to my stomach….Years ago, I lived in an apartment complex that had a smoker as my neighbor and she, too, was a lovely person. Anyway, I decided one day to have a chat with her about “MY PROBLEM” with smoke allergies and was just be open and honest with her in as kind a way that I could be and she actually told me that she was trying to quit. Long story short: she smoked outside and not in the apartment and it helped a lot. My logic says: You have NOTHING to lose if you talk to the guy and just be honest with him in as kind a way as you can…..If he’s truly a cool guy, I can’t see him telling you to take a hike, ya know? Hopefully, he’ll try to come up with some sort of solution for the two of you. HONESTY with kindness. What do u have to lose? That’s my suggestion. Good luck.
Thanks and much appreciated. I have talked with him. He is trying. The smoke has lessened but not stopped.
Steve, there are air purifiers out there that you may want to look into for your apt. Yes, they are not cheap, but if you’re as sensitive to smoke as I am, it may just be worth it to you. Anyway, just another suggestion……hang in there.