I live in subsidized housing. The Watertown Housing Authority keeps our heat regulated by computer. We can lower the heat, but we cannot raise it over 73 degrees. Sure, it says 75 degrees, but it’s really 73, because there’s a “two-degree offset” they don’t tell you about before you move in.
I was too cold in my apartment. Still am, actually. I complained and complained. I wore, and still wear, a fleece jacket and hat indoors. I still wear it when I go out in the hall, and I wear it to the housing office, just to demonstrate how cold I am. However, I don’t need it in their office. It’s plenty warm there.
Finally, the manager said to me, “Julie, if you get a doctor’s note, we will raise the heat for you.” I got a note. From Dr. P. She wrote one on the spot, saying it was ridiculous that I should suffer in the cold. They raised the heat. I was overjoyed.
Now, I thought that this was the end of the story. The saga continued, though. Last year, it was the ordeal with the air conditioners. They didn’t take mine out till nearly the end of December. Some serious air was leaking under my AC and I was freezing to death. My heat couldn’t keep up with the leak. You’d think with all the money they wanted to save, they’d have taken out the AC in October the latest. Like this time last year.
Meanwhile, I was having this problem with the thermostats, and this is what I wanted to mention now. There is a computer glitch that makes the thermostats “jump” back from 78 to 75. This happens all the time now. So I call the housing authority maintenance lady, and ask her to fix my heat, and put it back to 78, and she does. This can only be done on weekdays, as first of all, the maintenance staff on weekends doesn’t have access to the computer, and secondly, a “jump” from 78 to 75 isn’t an “emergency” that has to be dealt with on weekends. So I freeze until Monday. As you can guess, one of my big worries is that the “jump” will occur Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, and I’ll be freezing for the next five days.
Today, I called maintenance to fix my heat yet one more time. I waited for the heat to go back to 78. I waited. And waited. Finally, I called again. Did you forget about me? No. Something’s wrong with the computer. We can’t do it today. We’ll do it tomorrow.
Uh oh. Uh oh. Uh oh. You know what I’m thinking. That this problem won’t ever be solved. That their computers won’t ever be fixed right. Because they haven’t fixed them yet, after two winters, going into a third. What next?
You may know what I’m thinking, but I know what you’re thinking, too. That I need to gain weight and put meat on my bones, and then I won’t be so cold, right?
Sometimes, when I’m videoconferencing (Skyping) with Frank, I don’t feel so cold inside. Sometimes, I even take off my hat and fleece jacket, and wonder why it suddenly got so warm in here. I don’t know if it’s so much that we eat together, or that we are special friends that does it for me. But when Frank is around, I feel a little warmer.
Yeah, Frank got me to eat, but he says I got me to eat. Today, I added milk to my diet. I decided that since my periods have pretty much stopped, probably from my low weight, I’d better get more calcium pronto. I had two glasses of skim milk today, plus the milk I used to make my oatmeal. I encouraged Frank to drink two glasses a day, and to my surprise, he said he likes almond milk and soy milk. I didn’t think he was that kind of guy.
Wow, it is cool getting to know each other. We talk about everything. We talk into the night. We get on Skype, with all its wonders, and it is like we are sitting across from each other, eating together and laughing. Sometimes, we get disconnected. Yeah, there are glitches in cyberspace. But we spend hours talking about how on earth we ended up with the curse of this eating disorder, and how we are going to deal with it…together.
My wonderful new book, This Hunger Is Secret: My Journeys Through Mental Illness and Wellness is now available from Chipmunkapublishing–click here to access. To read more about it at my home site, click here.