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?


On the bus

I am on the bus listening to music.

Soon, the bus will arrive where I want to get off, and I will exit.

This is Watertown, where a kid hid in a boat.

I am here, too. Does anyone read my story? I don`t know.

Here I am, on a bus in this town full of many stories.

Do you know this? Or do you only know the story of the kid in the boat?

Okay, I am getting off the bus now.

Love, Julie

My technology crash and what it meant to me

What can I say?

A complete technology crash within about ten days.  I can only say it sucked, but I’m back.

One day (as I think I mentioned on the You-Tube I made, you-tube channel juliemadblogger) I was walking out of the bathroom, innocently enough

I was trying to rescue my clothes, because Puzzle was throwing up on them.

Now, this is a moment of panic if ever I saw one.

A naked, not-so-great-to-look-at 55-year-old woman running to rescue her clothes because her dog is puking on them.

It’s morning.  Not that early, only a couple of weeks ago.

So like I said, in the process of rescuing my clothes, my rather newish laptop went crashing to the floor and it’s more or less totaled.

Well, I told myself there wasn’t all that much data in it that wasn’t duplicated on my old reliable desktop, and I never really liked Win 8.  The little  laptop didn’t cost an exact fortune.   So, I decided I’d take it as a loss, and maybe go to my nice laptop repair guy someday and have it repaired for less than the other store was quoting me.  Someday, sigh.  But now, the screen was popping and stuff.  Time to turn it off.  Just go to bed.  Cry or whatever.

Puzzle, don’t puke again for a good long while, okay?

So, maybe a bunch of days later the other disaster happened that I’ve probably told you about…technology, again.

I was asleep and woke up to find my old desktop computer was completely kaput.  Gone.  Dead as a doornail.

Now only the night before, I’d done a backup using my portable hard drive.  I had no clue why I was doing the backup but I figured I might as well.  I hadn’t been doing them that often.  The last thing I expected was a crash.  And right before I fell asleep, I backed up the book I was writing on one of those thumb drives.

So this is all rather weird cuz I had just changed Internet services and just downloaded a file having to do with this modem they sent me.  So I call this new Internet service and they tell me,

“Your new service isn’t starting till October 31st and you aren’t supposed to be using that modem.  Please discontinue using it and restart it October 31st.”

They had sent me no mailings saying the service started October 31st.  In fact, their mailings stated stuff like, “Plug your modem in and have Internet in a jiffy.”  And their contract was all confusing and had all this legal stuff in it….They were calling me at all times asking me questions, it got to the point of what I would call harassing.   I am still getting calls but they seem to disconnect as soon as I answer.  I’ve canned them and gone back to my old service.  There is talk in town about people who received these modems and were told the same thing, no service until the end of October.  Many were Apple modems but mine was a different one and I paid $30 for mine…I should ask for that back.

So, all that bit rather sucked, relying on a cell phone to reach the outside world for a bunch of days, and thinking I was going to have to go that way through October, snatching free Internet outdoors when I could.

One night, I sat outside the library (this is a scream) and used their Internet one night, cuz I wanted to see my e-mail on full screen.  I was tired of looking at the tiny screen of my cell phone.  The laptop I was using was like an antique practically and worked at a snail’s pace, but it was what I had.  It was darned late, well after hours.  I had a large umbrella with me.   So I was packing up, decided to head home.  Now, folks, here was my mistake.  I decided to turn off my laptop instead of “sleeping” it.  Why was this a mistake?  The darned thing did an update.  Now, there was only one Windows update but it was the Update from Hell you never, ever want while you are sitting at the library late at night while the cops are driving by and might nab you for loitering.  Of course, I’ve already called the library and they’ve told me it’s fine to go sit there after hours, but it’s so late that I’m wondering if a cop is going to ask me to leave.  Do cops understand Windows updates?  I wait…oh geez, longer and longer.  The freaking update from Hell like you would not believe.  So it starts to rain.  I put up my umbrella and it’s still updating and updating and updating forever.  I start to wonder if I’m going to have to call a cab and hold my computer open, telling the cab driver I need to rush home and plug the damn thing in.   Surely, I can’t walk home holding the computer open, cuz I’ll trip and fall.  So about ten more minutes pass while it’s raining on me and the thing is updating still.  I am meanwhile writing an e-mail, under the umbrella, with my cell phone.  This is so comical, a 55-year-old woman and her dog under the umbrella into the night.  Microsoft, did you have to do this to me?  Finally, the Update from Hell was over.  We were home when?  12:30pm.  Jesus.  I was exhausted.  I’ll never forget that night.  I guess that was one thing that made me decide I wanted home Internet back.

And I was glad when this machine that I am writing to you on arrived safely a bunch of days later.  It runs.  It’s a refurb.  I was lucky to get it.  It runs Win7, not bad, not too hard to get used to.  With it came a little webcam.  It took me ages to get the webcam running but now it does.

I’d like to restore my old files from the old machine.  I’ve written to the tech support people for the portable hard drive, cuz I want to restore the files properly.  I expect them to respond Monday.

Well, why am I telling you all this?  It all kinda affected me in a big way.  It’s ironic that I live in the most densely populated town in Massachusetts, but I can’t walk out my door and say, “Hello, how are you.  You can pet my dog if you want.”  It totally sucks that people take one look at me, judge me based on my appearance, and decide they want nothing to do with me.  So where are the folks that care about me and love me for who I am?  I speak to them through technology, through the phone and the computer, and that’s why I need this machinery.  That’s why the technology crash really affected me.

Watertown, wake up, folks.  I’m not a monster.  I don’t carry weaponry, and I’m not from outer space.  I’m flesh and blood.  I have feelings just like you.  I’m not on drugs.  I’m not violent, never have been, and I don’t hurt children.  What’s the deal?  It’s too damn hot to turn our backs on each other.

What happens to our stories

Do they die with us?

What happens when we are buried?  Are our stories forgotten?  Do they go untold?

What of these lies, these rants, these exaggerations….told in the night, half-crazed, maybe the “send” button has been pressed too soon in anger….

Well, those young girls, the ones that come begging for help, they are just nuts anyway.  They don’t get what they ask for.

Someday, the doors will be unlocked.

It will not be in my lifetime, folks.  Maybe I’ve got a dream.

Just don’t bother then

You are allergic to the phone?

My only friend who enjoys conversation with me is on vacation in fucking Alaska for a month.

No one else will even open their mouth and the world is a silent place for me.

Look at me.  What’s wrong with me?

Shall I turn it off?  Will that make it ring?  What’s the trick to it?  There’s a manual somewhere but it doesn’t teach you friendship.

No one likes me anymore.  Am I an ugly fuck?  When I was a kid I believed I didn’t have friends because I was the shortest kid in the class, and because I wore glasses.  And because I wasn’t very athletic.  I couldn’t hit that home run.  Boy, I wanted real bad to hit that home run.  I figured if I could do that, I’d have it made.  Everyone would like me then, and I’d have lots of friends, and, I’d even be what they called back then “popular.”

I was so fucking jealous of the kids that I believed were popular.  Anyway, they didn’t have it any better than us rejects.

Well, that, I guess, was junior high.

Friendship still sucks bad.

Things that suck and things that don’t suck

Okay, I’m gonna start off by listing what sucks and then I’m gonna list what doesn’t suck.  I’m doing this so when I’m all done writing this, I can end and feel reasonably decent that there are a few things that don’t suck in the world.

Okay, what sucks….

I am going to stir up the pity pot real good and think up some doozies for ya’ll and make a brilliant list.  Here’s my list:

I guess it sucks when you walk into a store and make a joke with another customer (cuz it’s a little on the hot side, you are waiting in line, so, hey, time to lighten up, right?) and the other customer looks at you like you are from Outer Space.

Now, granted, it’s possible that you’ve cracked this joke in Language X, and this other customer doesn’t speak Language X.  What if the other customer is Language Y-speaking, and you didn’t even know it?

Well, fucker, crack your joke in Language Y instead and that will get you a laugh.

Language barrier aside, people looking at you like you are CRAZY completely sucks, right?

Oh, okay, the other customer was busy with their ipod and had earphones in.  So you go look.  You really look hard. No, no earphones.  Yep, you’ve been profiled.

Why?  Um, because of the little shuffle you have that shows the world you take meds, or because you dare to wear that Suicide Prevention t-shirt, or because you have some very old scars on your arms (it’s summer, remember?) or because you are stupid enough to bring along some STAFF member with you who is “supervising” you and telling you, “No, it’s not appropriate to buy that,” while you are in the store.  Don’t do that. Shopping with staff is a dead giveaway. Don’t go around in a van, either.  You don’t need supervision, baby, if you are an adult.  Or do you just look a little strange like me?

So, okay, getting profiled sucks.  Getting judged before you even get a chance sucks.  Being turned down from the job based on what you look like instead of what your skills are sucks.

Okay, so people look at me and say, “Ugh” and just don’t want to deal with me.  I’m told people pretty much stay away because no one wants to have anything to do with a person with “problems.”  Fine.

To change the subject.

Was it today that Zimmerman got off?  I think it completely sucks anytime anyone gets shot.

Okay, onto what doesn’t suck.

I like that I write.  I love that I write.  I love that I still have this ability.  I love that it makes me NOT INVISIBLE ANYMORE.  DO YOU HEAR ME LOUD AND CLEAR?  I think you did this time.

Might as well add yet another post

I mean, I might as well.  Love you guys just for reading all the shit I put on here.  It’s useless crap, right?

I have no one else to talk to so that’s why I rant on here.  But I’ll tell ya something.  My phone rang today.  I had pretty much forgotten what my ringer sounds like.  I was rather surprised to hear the sound of it and I did the appropriate thing.  I picked up the phone.  I have it paired to a headset and I did it right.  I pressed the right button.

Folks, I know I did it right.  I know I pressed the right button.  I swear up and down I did.  But the person hung up as soon as we connected and I’m rather certain it was a wrong number to begin with.  Someone out of state.  Um, Florida.  Who knows, possibly some spammer.

Okay, so we get these calls all the time.  My phone rarely makes a sound, but these sounds are important to me.  They stick out at me and I’ve learned not to ignore them the way I’ve filtered out all the shouting in the hall.  That’s just neighbor shit and the maintenance guys that haven’t learned to work quietly and show us residents some respect.

Now we have received notices telling us that they are doing hall floor waxing…I suppose we go through this from time to time…starts at 10pm and ends god-knows-when…2am from what I recall.  Loud fucking loud like drilling and each time they come by, they hit your door with a bang.  Disrespect….But really.  I don’t have kids that have to show up for school the next day, so maybe I should just not complain.  They tell us not to walk out in the hall during that time.  Most of the time, they just wax and don’t bother telling us ahead of time they are going to do it.  So I’ll consider this progress.

Shit, world.  See my shirt?  It says BITCH on it and that’s why no one talks to me.  That is, literally no one.  I try to make jokes and even my jokes are going sour.

I badly need to get the fuck off Facebook.  I’m crappy at the social thing.

I’m telling myself right now: Is this what “social” has boiled down to?  Facebook and nothing else?

A few other things, too.  I don’t know what.  A good night’s sleep might be nice.  I don’t ask for a lot.  Most folks, by the time they are tired and worn out like I am, don’t really do.  Just to hold my dog and cry my eyes out another time.

Feminist utopia books in the 1980’s

These were books that I read with fascination back then.
I truly enjoyed each one.
These were like science fiction I guess.
I imagined living in these societies.
Yep.  No guys.  Free of them at last.  No more whistling.
That’s right folks, no more assholes.

But this represented a type of thinking, that, let’s face it, wasn’t true.
And you can’t walk around with an allergy.

No, you are better off learning to put up with men.
In fact, enjoy them.Most are decent.
A few are not.
The ones that are assholes gave guys a bad rap.

Now the same with cops.
It isn’t like all cops beat on homeless men and are gun-happy, right?
There are a couple that are,
A couple that come here to my building and do what they did the other day,
They came to my apartment because they were checking to see
Who the heck rang the emergency bell.
The left my door wide open
Which was a disrespectful and dumb thing to do
To a low-income person
Who doesn’t have that many belongings
And really didn’t want her apartment looted.
But on the whole,
Cops are decent, and most of them are okay humans just like the rest of usJust trying to do their job and maybe surviving their day
Going home, and feeding the kids.

So like I was saying….

I read these feminist utopia books back in the 1980’s, and I noticed some women
Were staying away from men completely.
Now this was this Lifestyle thing.
They would live and breathe other women and there would be no men in their lives.
They would arrange it this way, and this was indeed a possibility.
They would shack up together and even have girl children.

I even read, I am quite serious about this,
That women were trying to figure out how to tilt a test tube of donated sperm
Tilt it just so, to produce a girl child.

I mean really.  Did that work?  Hmm…let’s go see…where’s that census chart I saw?

Just kidding, folks.  It didn’t sound particularly scientific.  This was a pamphlet on how to bring a test tube across town.  Do sperm survive, and how large does the town have to be before they don’t?  Give me a fucking number.  I can see it now, rushing this test tube of sperm on the Red Line, and suddenly, the subway breaks down.

Oh shit, what now?

The subway gets dark and, um, no chance of baby, girl.

This ain’t gonna work.  You got dead sperm sitting in that test tube, completely useless.
The guy sitting next to you has no clue.  He’s listening to headphones on his iphone.
What are you gonna do now?
Well, better luck next time.
Then, the lights turn back on and the subway comes back to life.

Me, I was across the subway from you.
Me and my dog Puzzle.
I was that skinny lady with the dog, me and my screwed-up face a few nights ago.
Why did you fucking stare at me?
Yeah, I saw you.  You looked at me up and down, your eyes.
Yeah, I know the sweep up and down.And then, the turning away, and the whisper, “Anorexia.”
Okay, you and your disgusted look,
I got the right to be here.
I paid for the subway, too.
Fuck off.

Okay, so I took a lady from the 1980’s and I brought her onto the Red Line
And plopped her into two nights ago.
That wasn’t the best writing move, Julie.
You confused your readers pretty bad.

Actually, I totally love doing that.
I totally love being a little off key.
Being a little quirky.

Anyway, like I was saying, men have the right to be here, too.
So leave them alone.
We are not allergic to them.
We don’t have to be “triggered” by them.
Yes, it won’t hurt to touch a man.
It won’t hurt to be touched by a man.
You won’t break out in a rash.
You won’t have to go run and take Benadryl.
You won’t get a disease.
Believe it or not, touching a man will not give you AIDS.

Drop the myths, ladies.

Touching me will not give you anorexia,You can, indeed, give me a hug.
You can touch me and it won’t go all the way to the bone.
I do have skin.
I am human.
I have real feelings and thoughts.
Just like everyone else.

You can let your kids talk to me and they will not get anorexia.
I will not poison your children.
I will not teach them to count calories.
So quit worrying.



Morning Ramble While My Coffee is Making

I guess I feel like not giving this one a proper title maybe because I don’t feel like it will be worth having it Google searched.  Maybe what I say won’t be organized enough.  Maybe I’ll “go on and on” or maybe you won’t understand what I am saying.  But I’m gonna give it my best shot, okay?  This will be done in verse, today, kiddies.

For today….

This applies if you are a woman and if you are a man it doesn’t and I apologize right here right now.
Usually, stuff I write about ED applies to both men and women, and I do say so.
But today, I am going to speak frankly to just women.
Women and girls.
And I want you to listen up.

When I was young, I was told by my mom, maybe at 16, and I’ve stated this in my blog before
That I was too big up top, and that this was not right.
At 17 my mom presented me the option of breast reduction surgery.
No, she didn’t upfront offer to pay, this I had no clue about.  I didn’t ask for money andI was at the point of wishing very badly that I was financially independent,
But had no clue how to reach this stage.
There was no way I was going to ask my mom anything about doing this surgery or her participation.
Actually, me and my mom were rarely speaking.
However, the implication was that this surgery would stop the men,
I repeat, men, from doing this thing: they were driving past me
As they had done since, say, I was 14 years old,
Driving past me and rudely letting out a loud, screaming

Today, I hear this whistle still.
You grudge that I, today, as blogger, “go on and on”
About the Housing Authority maintenance guy
Who won’t stop his incessant unnecessary whistlingUntil 4:30 sharp when the Housing Authority all goes home each weekday.

Okay, so I formally apologize.

So the implication was that my getting this surgery will stop the whistling.
Now do you hear me?  A surgery to silence it.

Now am I alone in this?
Many women were getting the surgery for this very reason: to stop discrimination based on SHAPE.

What the fuck?  What kind of society do we live in?

Why don’t we just leave people alone?

Yes, I have large breasts.  I wish I didn’t feel like I have to diet myself to death (actually, this saves money)
Lemme tell ya, it’s cheaper than the surgery.
I mean, yeah, you can die in the process, but never mind that
It’s not like I had to cut into them.
They don’t hurt.
There’s no silicone.

Let me tell the women and girls out there one thing.
I thought for a long time that there was a connection.
Even with being raped.
For a long time, I thought if I did the skinny thing.
Over the years, I saw a pattern….
There being perhaps an advantage to having kept my scale over the many decades…
But me, I am so short, five foot one, that I don’t really need a fucking scale to tell me how much
My body weighs.
Well, when I am skinny I know I feel better.
I can see my food in my stomach.
I see it after I eat it.
I see it pass down into the lower part of my abdomen, and pass through my colon.
I wish for it to pass quickly.
And perhaps we all do the same.
Perhaps this fascination is universal, this watching of the lumps.

Sometimes, I touch them.
I touch veins with wonderment.
I poke each one, then let the blood flow again.
This is kind of sickly fascination you do only alone, maybe in the bathroom,
When no one else is looking.

No, ladies, it’s a myth that getting skinny stops rape.
It doesn’t stop the bosses from doing it.
Having this disease won’t get you that promotion.
Even though your boss said he’d give it to you if you fucked him.
In fact, you probably won’t be able to work if you have this disease.You’ll be too hungry to concentrate.

So tell the boss to fuck off.  Just quit, and keep on eating.
Being the way I am, and saying what I am saying is not going to change asshole men.
There will always be assholes out there.
And they will be assholes to anyone at any size or shape.
They will be assholes to little kids, boys too.  Let’s face it.
They will just keep on whistling.

That’s why women opt for the surgery, I suppose.
They just say, fuck it, the world’s not going to change.
It’s not like the assholes are going to stop discriminating against me when I go to job interviews.
Looking at my breasts instead of asking whether I can type.

What do you think they do on match dot com?  Where do their eyes go?
Why do those men insist on a photo?  Assholes.

Yes, I will tell you right here right now.
I was told by a guy, “I will not have sex with a fat woman. It’s a turn-off.  I will not lie in bed with her.”

Okay, marry the guy, and live in mortal fear of food.  I can see it now.
Or, I guess, if you slip up, he would pay to have it cut off now and then, right?

Don’t fall for the myths.

Don’t marry an asshole.  Divorce him if you can.

Oh, live on, world.  I will laugh at you very hard today.