Friday, December 8, 2006

The saga continues. Let me state right now that I hate confrontations especially when they happen in the comfort of my house. It was 63 degrees when I got up today at 8am. I had an SGI mother’s group meeting at my house at 10:30am and I braved the cold air to pick up last nights toy mess and make the bed. The apartment was a toasty 64 degrees when the mothers came over. How embarrassing. They encouraged me to call Marjorie and complain. After everyone left, I called her. I stated the facts. It was 64 degrees in here and should be 68 by law. She says she doesn’t want to hear about the law anymore and hung up on me. Fine. Whatever. Screw you. I continued to cook lunch.

Marjorie hobbles upstairs and knocks on my door. We basically have the same conversation again and this time she’s losing her cool. Abby was standing right there. I told her to stop arguing in front of my daughter. She said the city only asks if the heats on, there is no heat limit. Once again I said there is, she is breaking the law and I’ll call the city again if I have to. She leaves asking me why I renewed my lease. I said I should have called the city last winter. Thankfully I remembered lunch was on the stove, and I start to cry as I mix it. I hate confrontations. Abby sees me and gives me a hug and a kiss, which only makes me cry harder. Allyson calls me and we talk a bit. I wish she lived here.

Abby and I break my rule of no food in the living room and start to eat lunch while watching AMC. Pablo and Marjorie both come upstairs. Pablo fiddles with the radiators while Marjorie won’t shut up and I want to scream at her that radiator is NOT pronounced raaad-eat-or. She tells me that it’s good for children to be in a cold environment, that 64 degrees is toasty, and that it’s not in our lease that the heat has to be 68 degrees among other things, and, my favorite, she’s providing us with heat. I stood there trying to casually eat my lunch of sweet potato stew, then I said it needed to be 68 degrees. That’s the law for ALL apartments in NYC whether they are rent stabilized or not. She can call 311 and ask. I said she is more than welcome to put her own indoor thermometer in our apartment. I asked what she has the heat set at and she said 68 degrees, but she can’t see the dial so she doesn’t really know! (OH MY GOD!) Though her apartment is heated fine. Once Pablo was done bleeding the radiators, telling me to keep the windows locked and to get curtains, Marjorie asked me if we were getting heat. I sat down on the couch, put my head in my hands and said, I know that if I say yes, you are going to tell the city that, yes we are getting heat, BUT it is 64 degrees in here and under the legal minimum, so I am saying no. That got her really angry and she started again with the “don’t tell me the law. Your lease doesn’t say what temperature it needs to be in here. Etc.” I told her to get out of my apartment, to go back downstairs, and I shut the door on her. She asked why we renewed our lease if it was so bad here. I told her to go back downstairs and we just might up and leave but she’ll never find another sucker to pay the rent we’re paying now. Then I cried some more. I felt intruded and belittled.

By some freak of nature, my SGI leader came back to my apartment. She had accidentally taken my prayer beads when she left. We went upstairs and talked about my options and chanted for a bit. This time I willed Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to travel down the radiator pipes and bring all the heat upstairs. Karma. That’s all I can say.


Larissa (Sunset Park Parent) said...

Hey Amy,
I am so sorry you are having heat and landlord troubles. It is clear your landord is crazy as a loon. When we first bought our old drafty three story house, we had trouble heating our top floor properly. We had to insulate the roof and buy our tenants a space heater to be sure they were comfortable. You might think about buying a Vornado heater and withholding the cost from your rent. Sending you warm thoughts!

Amy Donschikowski said...

Hang in there with your landlords. They're unhappy and lonely people. And not to mention totally freakin' insane. You have a beautiful daughter, a great husband, and supportive friends. Don't let their toxicity infect you. I'd document every time you complain about the heat, check NY law, and buy a heater and withhold it (and the cost of operating it) from your rent.