Hello, friends. I’m fucking cold. Yesterday, after dropping kiddo off for his only day of school in for last two weeks, we went out to run some errands that needed to get done ASAP for my new job. Our first stop was the DMV, where I needed to renew my state ID, so that I could bring it to get my fingerprints taken later that afternoon. When I got to the DMV, and handed over all the paperwork and documentation needed to the clerk, she informed me that since my ID was more than a year expired, I had to provide extra stuff to prove that I am who I am, which I didn’t bring with me. The reason my ID was about a year and a half expired, was because we always thought we’d be out of this dump by now, and didn’t want to do a change of address if we were just going to be moving again.
I told the woman that literally the ONLY other thing I have is my birth certificate, which was issues in Maine, where I was born. However, although it’s my official birth certificate, which I’ve had and used for the last nearly 29 years, I’ve had a few issues here and there with uninformed people accepting it, because it’s small, not “normal” sized, and they think it’s not valid, which is incorrect. I told this to the clerk, and she told me that she wouldn’t be able to accept it, and that I’d have to get mine sent from Maine, which would take weeks. So, already super frustrated, because Kyle had just gotten off work, and was grumpy about not being able to sleep right away, we sped back home and got my birth certificate, since my passport is also super expired, too.
We decided to go to go to a different DMV this time, and try our luck with a new clerk, because I needed my ID done THAT day, to get my fingerprints taken THAT day, so that I didn’t lose my job THAT day. I didn’t have weeks. The DMV was already closed for two days because of the Polar Vortex, and I was stressed out hardcore about getting it all done in time. So, we went to another DMV, and she accepted all of my stuff with a smile on her face, and absolutely no issues. The clerk was super nice. She even told me my new ID picture was beautiful, even though it really, really wasn’t. What a freaking angel.
Then, we came home, and discovered that our heat wasn’t working, even though it had been working earlier that morning. We changed the battery in the panel, rebooted it a bunch of times, messed with the settings, etc., but nothing happened. At least the temperatures were in the positives, even if it was only single digits. I called the property manager, and she told us she was going to call one of the local heating and cooling places, but given that we had two days of Polar Vortex cold, where it was -40 to -60 degrees in our area, we knew that we might get stuck on a list. Especially on a Friday.
So, we waited.
At 2:30, we picked kiddo up from school, and headed to get my fingerprints taken, which was super quick and easy. I’m relieved that I finally got that done, so I can stay employed, but it feels weird knowing that my fingerprints are in the system, but I don’t really intend on committing any crimes, so I know there’s nothing to worry about. Still, it’s a weird feeling.
We got back home around 4:00, and our apartment was already noticeably colder. Our thermostat read 66 degrees, but it’s ancient and shitty, and is usually off by several degrees, so it was actually cooler. We fiddled with it some more, with no results, and started getting out the extra blankets and our tiny, crappy space heater. Sure enough, no one ever came by to fix the heat last night. I let the space heater run in Liam’s room with the door closed before bed to try and get some heat going in there, dressed him in his warmest pajamas, and gave him about six blankets on his bed. His room holds heat better than any room in the apartment, whereas our room has ZERO insulation, and is right by the back door, which is cray drafty. Even when our heat actually works, when the temps are below zero, I can’t sleep in our bedroom, because it’s freezing.
So, for the third night in a row, I slept on the couch, with the space heater set on low, and still froze my butt off. When I settled in to try and sleep, it was 59 degrees. I woke up every hour or so between midnight and 4:00 in the morning, because my neighbors are all inconsiderate assholes, and just have to make noise all day, and all night, constantly. Kiddo woke me up at 7:15, which is actually pretty late for him, and we snuggled on the couch under my pile of blankets. When I finally got up to check the thermostat, it was around 54 degrees. I cranked the space heater back up, wrapped up my kiddo, and decided to use the oven and stove to cook a ton of stuff to try and get some heat in the place.
Kyle came home, and couldn’t sleep in the bedroom, because he could see his fucking breath when he walked in, so he’s currently crashed on the couch, covered in a ton of blankets, with Liam beside him. I’m sitting at my computer. I got some freelance work done, and have mostly been watching YouTube, while I wait for someone to come and fix our heat.
I got a call around 9:00 from our property manager, who told me that they had sent someone over to fix our heat, but that they were having a hard time getting into the building’s basement, which is essentially an unfinished hole in the ground. Apparently, my neighbors across the hall haven’t taken their trash to the curb in several weeks, and there was about 200 pounds of garbage sitting on the basement doors, which had all been frozen solid, thus freezing the basement doors shut, along with all the snow and ice from the last two weeks. They had tried to call the neighbor a few times, but they never answered, and never answered their door, despite being home.
So, they sent over an officer to talk to them, and when my neighbor finally answered the door, she told the officer that her phone doesn’t work, and that’s why she didn’t answer, but told him that she did move all the garbage already. As soon as he left, the manager called me again, and asked me more about what the heat was doing (or rather, what it’s not doing), and told me that the maintenance guy had come by and knocked on my side door. I told her that the three of us had been sitting in the living room all morning, and hadn’t heart anything, nor had we seen his red truck pull up. Also, the 6+ inches of snow on our steps and porch were still undisturbed, so I know he never came by. She told me she was going to call the neighbor again, and I mentioned that I heard her tell the officer that her phone didn’t work, and she told me that wasn’t true, because she called her twice this morning, and both times one of her kids answered, and said they were watching a movie, and that they didn’t know where their mom was. Nice.
Just now, one of the guy from the heating and cooling place knocked on my door to tell me that they needed to order a part, and that it won’t be here until Monday. Maybe Tuesday. Fucking fantastic. It’s already in the low 50s in my apartment, and it’s only getting colder, outside and inside. I baked cookies, and a bunch of food this morning, just to get some heat, but I’m out of food to cook, and the heat is already gone. Our little space heater isn’t doing shit, and we have absolutely no money to buy another. I don’t know what to do. We can’t afford a hotel, and I can’t find anything about landlord/tenant laws online about what to do if we don’t have heat, or if they will cover the full cost of a hotel room. I can’t even shower, or give Liam a bath, because it’s so freaking cold in our apartment.
I hate this. I hate this so fucking much. We can’t catch a break. There’s always something going wrong. I don’t know what orphanage I burned down in a past life, but surely I must have been a horrible person to constantly be having all this shit thrown at me.
I’m going to call the property manager and see what she says. I really don’t want to stay in a hotel for the next few days, but we might not have any choice. Last night was hard, and it’s only getting colder. At least I don’t have work again until Wednesday, so I don’t have to worry about that. Kiddo goes back to school on Monday, and there is still no bus, which his teacher told me there likely wouldn’t be, there’s no way that I’m carpooling these other kids if I have to drive from another town. It’s not happening.
It’s cold. I really, really hate winter. With every fiber of my being. Sorry for all the bitching, but all the happiness and joy inside of me is currently coated in a thick layer of ice. I’ll be happy and nice again when it warms up. Blah.
UPDATE: We called our property manager, and she told us that all our landlord would do is take $100 off of our rent for the month. He will not cover ANY of the cost of a hotel. She then told me I should buy additional space heaters, or check Priceline to find somewhere cheap to stay, and I hung up on her. I’ve been searching all over the internet to find anything about our rights regarding hotel costs, but all I can find are Chicago specific laws, or conflicting things about whether or not a landlord has to pay. We even called our renters insurance company to ask, but they didn’t know, and told us we’d have to contact our local agent. Well, it’s Saturday. She isn’t there. Can’t even call HUD, because it’s Saturday. I even told her that I was planning on calling HUD, and she didn’t seem phased one bit. So, we’re fucked. We looked for cheap places nearby, but we will still have to pay out of pocket. Everyone keeps angrily shouting at me that he NEEDS to pay, but I can’t find anything online ANYWHERE that says that. I give up.
UPDATE 2: We found a cheap hotel near Kyle’s work and will be staying here until Monday. Since our landlord is taking $100 off our rent, we are really only paying around $50 out of pocket, which isn’t ideal, but it’s better than freezing. I’m not looking forward to convincing my 4 year old to sleep in a hotel bed, but we’ll see how it goes. These beds are hella uncomfortable though.