Discrimination — update

You may recall in my 11/19 article “Discrimination,” I recapped a conversation with a fellow who worked for a dating service that discriminated against people with mental illnesses.  In that conversation, I mentioned that I had a disability, but I did not say that I had a mental illness.  The dating service never called me back!  There are many possiblities here, of course, but most likely, I was discriminated against.  The company is based in Utah, and they run sites called watertownsingles.com, walthamsingles.com, etc, but these are only fronts.  Beware of these sites.  This is a crackpot organization as far as I’m concerned.

I have since joined a more reputable online dating service in attempt to find a coffee partner.  This would be someone I would meet for coffee on a regular basis.  It is tough, because a lot of men out there are seeking instant marriage!  I would have to know a guy for a long, long time to even consider marriage.  I just want my coffee!   

Another cold morning

It was 56.1 degrees in my bathroom this morning.  I am currently warming up the bedroom with my space heater.  The warm air will reach the bathroom eventually.  The space heater/hot water combination will make my shower tolerable.

I put in a call to the manager yesterday.  I didn’t leave a specific message, just left my number and told him to call me.  I didn’t get a call back.  I assume he’s out of the office for the holiday week.

Cold temps at Waverley Ave this morning

I measured the temperature at 57.6 at 5am in the bathroom when I got up.  I am currently running the space heater in the bedroom in attempt to get the temp up to something reasonable so that I can shower.  Tomorrow, I’ll complain.  I promise.

Of course, this impacts my mental health.  Being cold constantly is more than simply a distraction.  I am truly suffering from this in a way that I cannot begin to describe to someone who has never lived in a cold place.  I’m sure, though, that most of you have experienced living in cold places.

I cannot concentrate.  All I think about is the cold.  My muscles are tense.  I shiver.  I am tempted to call local restaurants to find out which have fireplaces or are unusually warm, but then I’d have to pay for a meal.  I’m tempted to call Town Hall, to find out if there are places I can go to warm up.  I know the library isn’t one of those places.  I used to study there.  They keep the thermostat down low there, “for the books.”

More later.

Cold apartment

It is 60.3 degrees in my bathroom right now, at 8:45pm Saturday night, December 20, 2008.  I have been living in this apartment since September 3 of this year.  Staying warm has been an issue for me since mid-September after the last heat wave.  I have been suffering in the cold, and there seems to be nothing I can do about it.

The Housing Authority keeps the thermostats regulated so that they will only go as high as 75 degrees, with a “two degree offset,” so they will only actually go as high as 73.  I live on the second floor, the lobby floor, in a corner unit with three large windows.  The floor is very cold.  In the bathroom, it feels like I am walking on ice when I walk barefoot.  Sitting on the toilet seat is like sitting on a cold park bench.

Theoretically, 73 should be warm enough, but I am always cold in here.  It is not actually 73 everywhere.  Sometimes, I shiver.  I wear a fleece jacket all the time and frequently I wear a hat.  Every day, I ask myself, “How will I stay warm today?” and worse, “How am I going to survive my morning shower?”

My shower is a challenge.  I run the hot water, which is thankfully hot enough, for about 20 minutes before I hop under it.  I’ve tried running a space heater in the bedroom and this helps.  The bathroom is off the bedroom and if I keep the bedroom door closed, the bathroom will heat up, provided it’s over 20 degrees out.  Under 20–the space heater doesn’t seem to help.  I think that I need a second space heater or need to position the one heater I have in a different manner.

I plan to complain to the manager Monday if he is in.  I will not go to maintenance because there is no technical problem with my heating system.  I need more heat.  I need that thermostat raised to 78 instead of 75.  If I can’t get that, I will request that heat lamps be put in my bathroom.  Sixty degrees is unacceptable!

A Rejected Piece about QB: Reprint

Hi folks,

I recently sent the following piece out to a dog anthology seeking short pieces and it was sent back yesterday with a “form rejection”–that is, they didn’t like it much.  This piece was also rejected by Pitkin Review last fall.  In my research I have found that publications frown upon pieces lamenting the death of a beloved pet.  After all, didn’t Mark Doty write a wonderful book on the topic, Dog Years?  But Doty’s book was about so much more than dogs….I have been told by instructors that the piece I am posting here is a little different than most, and does indeed have some merit.  I am republishing it here.  Perhaps this blog will be its only home.

THE DEATH OF QB


The apartment was cold and dark when I arrived home from the veterinary hospital, and music played softly on the bathroom radio.  QB always preferred it that way.  Now, it didn’t matter. 

I felt like punching something, trashing my apartment, throwing a chair, anything, but it wasn’t anger that drove these impulses; it was a streak of sadness, and a shame that cut so deeply that no violence could undo it.

I had left my apartment that evening by taxi with an apparently healthy three-year-old Sheltie.  I returned at 1:30am, alone, also by taxi.  When the driver asked, “What happened to your dog?” I mumbled something vague, and pretended instead to be interested in his computerized navigation system.

I remembered wryly the headlines that had floated around in my mind only days before: “Killer Sheltie Mauls Woman.”  Or, “Woman Kills Own Sheltie.”

I wasn’t going to argue with myself the fairness of the situation.  Life had already taught me that it wasn’t going to do me any favors.  Death can be beautiful but often isn’t, and life is damned ugly when you think about it.

I switched on the desk lamp that served as a makeshift living room light, then turned up the heat some, until I heard the hot air blower click and then rumble.  My computer had run a virus scan that night.  No threat(s) found.  How nice.  No messages on the machine. 

I tossed my knapsack on the floor.   In it were QB’s collar, his leash, and his treats bag that I kept hanging on my key lanyard.  Also, I had a stash of QB’s favorite junk food treats that I fed to him only a minute before he was injected with poison, while he struggled to remove the IV from his left front leg.

I sat in my swivel chair and cried for a while, putting my tissues in a little pile that QB would surely have raided, shredded, and eaten if he had been with me. 

I remembered the smell of feces at the moment of death.

Euthanasia for a dog that is old or sick is a difficult decision, but to put a dog to sleep whose behavior is aggressive and incurable but who is otherwise healthy and well is a decision ten times tougher. 

People close to me supported my decision, but I went to the veterinary emergency hospital on my own, just me there by myself, for the purpose of killing my best friend.

I went to bed at 3am, and awoke at 7:30 or so Saturday morning.  I put on some coffee, and didn’t bother getting dressed.  What was the point?  No dog to walk.  I needed a shower, to wash off of me the stinking filth of the deed done the night before. 

But I waited, and made some phone calls instead, wrote some e-mail, and changed the light bulbs in the living room.  I waited, because when I walked into the bathroom I thought I saw QB lying on the cool linoleum floor by the toilet, where he liked to hang out.  I waited, because I wanted to live with that filth, repugnant as it was, for just a little while longer.