Who Needs Heat and Hot Water Anyway?

I had a feeling this would be my fate. Deep down in my gut I just knew that come late fall, when the skies turned an angry gray and the golden leaves swirled around like miniature tornadoes, I would be staring out my window in frustration because the temperatures officially dropped, and my building was without heat. Eh. Who needs heat and hot water anyway, right? 

I woke up last Saturday morning, the day following my mild Halloween antics, to an ice-cold apartment. When I say that I didn’t leave my bed save for a few bathroom trips and to answer the door for my Indian food delivery (thanks, Seamless!), I’m not exaggerating. I was a pitiful sight. And I thought that if I were patient, surely the heat would click on.

It didn’t. For those of you who are reading this and don’t live in NYC, the super/landlord/management controls the building’s heat in many of the city’s residential units. And there’s a law stating that building owners must provide heat between October 1-May 31 and when temperatures drop below 55 degrees from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. and 44 degrees from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. You can read the details here. I reached out to my landlord who said that National Grid was at the building trying to “make it work.”

Nope. It wasn’t working. To make matters worse, on Monday night I returned home from a long day at work and an intense workout with Nike+ to find out that the building didn’t have hot water. HAH! I thought it was a joke. I called my super who told me that National Grid needed to bleed the gas line so they shut off the hot water for the night (or something like that). Oh, that’s not inconvenient or anything.

I’ve had to deal with some annoying little things like a busted door and lock and a couple of cockroaches (UGH), but this was truly the final straw. I fell to the (cold) bathroom floor in tears and frustration. All I wanted was a simple hot shower. Was that too much to ask? And then I felt like a spoiled brat because I began to think about the many others who don’t have it nearly as good as I do so who I am to complain. But dammit, I work really hard to afford my astronomical rent and shouldn’t have to fight for heat and hot water. So I called 311 to file a complaint.

The next day, I schlepped my stuff to Joey’s in Greenpoint and showered at his place once his roommates left for work. I thought for sure that I would return home from work that night to a toasty apartment and scorching-hot water. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry when those fantasies were instantly squashed by reality.

I called my dear friend Pam and asked if she would adopt me for the night. She obliged. If there’s one thing I learned during this whole ordeal it’s that I’m lucky to have such wonderful friends who were willing, without question, to take me in during my time of need. (Thank you thank you!)

The heat and hot water finally started working appropriately one week later on Saturday evening. And that was after an hour or so without any running water. I’ve never been so excited to hear the clicking and rattling of a radiator before.

Now for my next battle: Trying to figure out how not to pay for a week’s worth of rent. Can’t wait to see how that goes over.

2 thoughts on “Who Needs Heat and Hot Water Anyway?

  1. I enjoyed reading this – it’s the simple comforts we have, that when without, we realize how miserable it can be. And in times like these you find your friends.

    If it is any consolation, our next house investment is likely going to be a new hot water heater so that we have a few extra gallons of hot stored.

    So when you come to visit… a hot shower adjacent to the guest room!


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