What should I do? The hot water in my apartment often doesn’t work

This is a chronic problem.  I live in public housing and I’ve been a tenant with the same housing authority for roughly 20 years.  I’ve lived in this building for five years. It’s an eight-story building.  I’d say this past year has been the worst as far as lack of keeping up with repairs goes.  But let me focus on the hot water problem.

Or, rather, lack thereof.  The first year I was here, a lady whom I’d barely ever spoken to moved out in disgust, kind of slamming things around in the process, yelling about this and that, and I do recall her ranting about the lack of hot water, the hot water seeming to go dead on her during those crucial times that she really needed it.  This event, her leaving in such a storm, stuck in my mind.  She was also pissed off about a particular neighbor who I guess was harassing her but I have no clue if this was true.  I don’t talk to anyone and he still lives here.  But that year I don’t recall much of a problem with the hot water on my end.  I remember the hot water not working one day and that lady having a fit in the hall, but this was a long time ago.

Well, back to the present.  This past winter was the pits.  I’d say more often than not, maybe five days out of the seven days of the week, I was unable to take a morning shower because there was no hot water.  In winter, you can’t take a cold shower.  So it would be freezing in my apartment and I’d say to myself, “Gee, I’d love a shower so I could warm myself up,” but I had no way of taking one.

My assumption was that this was a building-wide problem.  Usually, I could wait an hour or two, and the hot water would start working okay.  But by then I’d already walked Puzzle and I was already dressed.  So I’d get undressed and I’d shower.

On church days, that is, Sundays, this of course sucked.  It would mean I kind of faced going to church dirty or not going to church at all.  I mean, it ended up being one of my many excuses not to go to church.  The hot water wouldn’t come on at all until 10:30am, which was the time that services started.

I really want to go to church tomorrow.  So, since we do what we have to do to survive, I’m plotting ahead.  I’ve been hoping for a shower tonight.  I’ve been washing my dishes with a combination of hand sanitizer and soap.  It’s a little tough with the water being barely above cold.

Well, the hot water hasn’t been working, folks, all day today.  That is, today is freaking Saturday, it’s hot as Hades out there, and I’ve been out twice.  Do I take a cold shower?  I can’t go to church without a shower.  I’m no kid anymore and I know I used to take cold showers, suck it up and all, but I’m not like that anymore.  What’s everyone else in this building doing?  Don’t they take showers?  They must shower.  They don’t stink, for godsakes.  Why isn’t anyone else complaining?

I hear no banging downstairs and I am wondering if our maintenance department is even working on the problem.  If I call them, I get charged $25 just for calling on off-hours.  What do I do?  Wait for it to fix itself?  That’s what I’ve always done.

Really,no hot water, all day long?

I phoned the town about the “beeping” problem, and something got done.  The housing authority went to all the apartments in the building, and replaced all the detectors with new detectors with fresh batteries.  Guess what?  Mission accomplished.  I was the squeaky wheel who actually did a favor for everyone here in the building.   We no longer live with this constant, horrible “beeping” sound, the sound of carbon monoxide detectors with dead batteries, which frankly was inexcusable.

I wrote to a town politician about recycling here in the building.  Recycling is the law in Massachusetts and our building wasn’t providing recycling bins that residents can use.  The town politician agreed that it was inexcusable that we had no recycling bins, especially since this building is run by the state of Massachusetts.  Well, lickity-split, there you had it, the recycling bins appeared not long after I wrote the e-mail.  I wrote about something inexcusable, and something got done.

No hot water?  Is this, too, inexcusable?


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