Good news. My roommates and I are surviving. At least while the warm weather holds up, anyway.

We are a house of six, intelligent, able-bodied women. We are Georgetown seniors with Georgetown senior aspirations. We have jobs, internships and prospects for next year. We head various organizations and clubs on campus. We plan to rule the world – and, in time, we will. But for now, we have a furnace in our basement that we’ve poked, prodded and pried with nothing to show for it but greasy fingers and spider bites. We have no heat. And, it’s getting pretty cold out there.

Like many unsuspecting upperclassmen, last spring we were ripped from the comfort and security of our on-campus homes, homes where the Georgetown Maintenance crew turned on the heat for us, forced to spend our final year in college on the streets of D.C., alone in the world to fend for ourselves. The Housing Office apologized for the inconvenience. We were homeless; but, at least they were sorry.

Far from ecstatic about the new situation, we protested, we grumbled, we cursed the housing office and the Chosen Ones who finagled a spot in Kober, and we romped door-to-door through the Georgetown neighborhood, searching for houses for rent, sulking all the way.

We were angry with Georgetown, personally insulted. On-campus housing is a beautiful situation and as seniors, we wanted to take advantage of the conveniences Georgetown students deserve, or at least cover with the cost of tuition.

But, I shouldn’t complain too much. After all of the griping, my roommates and I did manage to find a home – a home, not a far walk from campus, but a far cry from on-campus luxuries. Our house isn’t bad. But, I still miss the good life.

Got a bulb burnt out? Just call Maintenance. A replacement is on the way.

Bug infestation? No problem. Maintenance will take care of that, too.

And what to do when it snows? No worries for you, lucky stiffs. aintenance will be there to shovel your front stairs and the all adjoining pathways so that you, the preoccupied and often oblivious college student, can get the most of your $40,000 education without the pesky worry of slippery sidewalks and the irritating chore of changing a light bulb.

Living on campus, we had all that and more in the Henle apartments. Henle was comfortable. Henle was easy. And now, Henle is gone.

Here in Burleith, we long for Maintenance. Without them, our home feels vulnerable. And cold. It is true that we have a landlord who cares for and maintains the general upkeep of the house.

To him, as long as the house is standing, there is no cause for concern, no reason for complaint, and overall, he has completed a job well done. A cantankerous, bitter man who screens our calls but welcomes our checks, he has been of little help to us over the past few months. Needless to repeat, we are still cold.

Without Maintenance to trim our hedges and plant seasonal flowers, we took it upon ourselves to clean up the yard. With no proper equipment or tools, because, after all, who remembers to pack their hedge clippers with their laptop when heading to school, the six of us attacked the weeds and overgrown shrubbery with our bare hands. Kicking up dirt, we struggled with the plants, tug-of-war style: six women versus a brigade of stubborn, unruly weeds. In the end, we called a draw. Though it was no manicured lawn, at least visitors could now make it to the door unscathed without the defense of a facemask.

On the indoor front, the war has been much bloodier. Here, we are on the defensive, warding off the invaders, hoping to keep what belongs outside, outside. But, despite our ingenuity and fortitude, the battles surge on as the imposing dirt and bugs mock our stratagem and continue to intrude by the hundreds.

We wash and scrub and sweep on hands and knees, but the cockroaches, crickets, and spiders, the previous inhabitants of our Reservoir house, are relentless in their efforts to win back their home.

Each morning, I reach for a cereal bowl and squash a roach in one fluid motion. Almost entirely desensitized, I can vaguely remember a time when a single call to Maintenance would clear up this problem.

But, my roommates and I are resilient. We will triumph over our adversaries soon enough. Or we will continue to coexist. That is, until the temperatures start to really drop. Then we will see who the true survivors are.

My money is on the roaches.

Polly Burokas is a senior in the College and can be reached at burokasthehoya.com. Focus with Burokas appears every other Friday.

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