I’ve been a little MIA because I have been too upset/angry/frustrated/busy dealing with BS of having no heat and hot water. This is not a new thing but this was definitely the worst of it all and it really should have been avoided but the bottom line is my landlord is negligent. So we have had issues with no hot water as early as June 2021 but our landlord kind of just ignored it and the heat wasn’t on at that time. We reset it and it seemed okay. Then we had issues again like the next week and he came and changed filters and did his own handiwork on it. Then we had continuous issues in August, all fall and into December where we’d often wake up with no hot water and he told us to just keep resetting the furnace. This obviously became a bigger issue when we really needed the heat and would wake up to a cold house because the heat would turn off in the middle of the night. This got out of control tracking as there are seven of us in the house – us five in the main house and his two downstairs tenants in their own apartment – resetting this and it needing to be reset more and more frequently. Finally in December, enough was enough and we told our landlord he needed to fix it. And if you remember in this past post, our landlord didn’t want to deal with our heat and hot water until I reminded him that it was New York state law for the landlord to take care of this and that my cousin is a lawyer. And then he supposedly fixed it.
But then on Tuesday, February 8th the house lost heat and hot water again and he had to have a tech come restart our burner. We thought it was fixed fully then because he stated the issue was our fault because we let the oil get to low (we hadn’t) and the lines needed to be bled. Then it went out again Thursday, February 10th and our landlord said to call the tech again. Well when the tech was called, we were informed that our landlord was told he needed to replace the draft inducer and that it was unsafe to keep bypassing it and they wouldn’t restart our heat… My roommate tells the landlord about this and he claims to have ordered the part with that tech. But then the roommate clarifies they said they don’t do that and our landlord changes the story to they are trying to scam me…
Thursday, I come home to my landlord in the entryway screaming on the phone at the person at our fuel company. The woman was so nice and was like I’m sorry sir, we told you Tuesday we don’t do this kind of repair while he just proceeded to be rude and use profanities. Then to us, he claimed that they were trying to scam him and he would get someone else and that we need to help him find someone and that he keeps having to take off work to deal with this and that we should be more helpful and grateful. We’re like hello, this is your job. Then he called some random person off Google who was like how did you get my info and then told us they’d be there in the morning and we’d have to just deal with space heaters for the night. I believe one of my roommates told him then he needed to go get some and he did but at the same time he better realize he’s gonna have to pay the electric bill. I also contacted the school and the town and like everyone I could think of at this point in desperation about how we can get this fixed asap because I was starting to get the idea our landlord is just trying to get out of doing proper repairs.
Well Friday morning (February 11th), no one came to do the fix. Not surprised as the guy he called the night before literally asked him how he got his info. I let our landlord know no one showed up and to please let me know when someone would as I was alone at the house trying to work from home and keep hedgie warm. Well he doesn’t notify us anyone is coming and just keys himself in and later I see a white van in the driveway. This makes me feel really uncomfortable and I just hide in my room and pretend I’m not home. But a few hours later our heat was back on by the evening. Mikaela then asks if it’s a permanent fix and what was done. And he says long story short, the technician had to correct wiring from the previous tech. I update my contact at the university and he’s glad to hear I have heat but he thinks I should still plan for it to go out again because stories about landlords out here like this are a dime a dozen. (Makes you wonder why SBU doesn’t do a better job fixing the housing situation for their students)
Well then Sunday, February 13th right before I was to leave to enjoy the Super Bowl and Valentine’s day with Rob, the heat goes out again. Our landlord is unreachable, his phone is off. I convince my roommates to then hire our own tech as my contact at SBU suggested. We hire a tech to come Monday.
Monday the landlord texts us telling us he has someone coming. Then unbeknownst to me he contacts the other roommate and talks them out of having our technician come that day because it would conflict timewise with his technician and to have them come another time. But no one saw his tech there and one of the other roommates was home for our technician at the time that was supposed to conflict… Our landlord then claims he ordered a part on Friday and that he doesn’t know when it will be here and cites supply chain issue as the reason. We then ask him to provide us info on the part and who the technician is. He ignores us. Keep in mind, he pretended Tuesday everything was good, then claimed he ordered a part Tuesday and then when we said how did you order a part with a company that doesn’t do those repairs he claimed that they were trying to scam him and he was just waiting on a quote. If this doesn’t make sense to you either, don’t worry because it didn’t make sense to us either.
Tuesday, February 15th still no heat, we ask for updates about the part – what it is, when to expect it, who is doing the work. I call the police and file a police report as advised to do. I reschedule a technician to come in to tell us what is wrong as advised by my contact at SBU. I update SBU that I have done all this and would like to move forward with their other suggestion of getting a town inspection that the rental is up to code. I then send our landlord the info from our technician which is a suggestion to replace the whole unit as advised. I showered at Alex’s house.
The morning of Wednesday, February 16th, our landlord tells us the part will be here Friday. Still no info on what the part is or who is doing the repair. That evening as I get home from lab, I am blind sided by my landlord and the tech being there. First off, he didn’t notify anyone he is keying in. And while I can get keying in without notice for emergency repairs, they weren’t making the repairs that evening. He had me come down to the basement where he played the victim in front of the technician. He told the technician we were harassing him and that he was trying to do his best. The landlord and the tech claimed they were here so they could bypass the system and give us some heat and hot water for a bit. But they couldn’t leave it running because it was unsafe. But if I wanted some heat and hot water they would run it for me but I’d have to sign a waiver or something. The tech stated he personally would choose not to. I told them no thanks, if it is not safe please do not run it. The landlord was like I can stay here and monitor it or you can make sure to turn it off when all the alarms went off like last time. I was like what do you mean? And he stated that all our smoke alarms which are interconnected would go off in the whole house like they did last time and I could flip the switch off. By the way, the last time he was referring to was January 10th which to me sounds like him admitting he knew it was an issue then! WTF?! I wasn’t there at this time but I have texts from my roommate because she wanted me to deal with the whole house alarming. I ignored her because I was busy at work. Not to mention, I shouldn’t have to be responsible for everything! And when I didn’t respond, I guess she called our landlord instead of the fire department. Fortunately, I recorded this entire encounter so I have record of him saying all this. I was shaking and it was scary and I now no longer feel comfortable in my house with his behavior and also willingness to just key in whenever he wants. I’ve also on multiple occasions have had him just key into the home for no known reason in the past… Anyway, I got the landlord essentially harassing me on tape and claiming that the other technicians quit because they were threatened by us and that he really didn’t want to lose this one too. And “see how they treat me” BS. The technician then backed up that he ordered the part Friday like he said and that it was supposed to come today (Wednesday) but came in damaged but that the new part would be here Friday. And I believed the tech. But I could not bite my tongue and take all the lies so I did clarify that we were not harassing the landlord, we were asking for updates and info which were ignored, and we’ve also had issues with the heat and hot water going back as far as last summer. You could see the technician be like oh when he took that all in. The landlord then claims that his lawyer told him to not tell us what was going on which was why he wasn’t updating us (doesn’t make sense to me either) and that his lawyer told him he should just block us but our landlord didn’t and implied we should be grateful for that (am I wrong to consider that intimidation?). He also ranted about how this is his house and he cares more than we do. It was a terrible experience that had me shaking and lose my appetite. I was extremely distraught. And I still am extremely uncomfortable in my home.
Thursday, I met with a lawyer for some legal counsel and visited multiple other apartments to possibly move into. There are not really any good options that wouldn’t cost me thousands and thousands of dollars since I have hedgie and only need a short term lease.
Friday the 18th as of 1:30pm no one showed and no update. I messaged the landlord and he claims the part didn’t arrive and they would check again for it tomorrow.
Saturday, February 19th the heat and hot water finally get restored.
I’ll be honest, I’m still really scared we will lose heat and hot water again. It’s not like this is the first time it’s been “fixed”. I worry that I’ll be away and it will go down and hedgie will freeze to death because I won’t be there to know. I waited to see Rob until Sunday night because of this because I wanted to make sure at least one of my roommates was home to know if the heat went off. I also worry that this fix might not be safe. But the town is supposed to send an inspector so I guess we’ll find out. I question if I should move out but I don’t want to lose all the money I’ve been busting my ass so hard to save up because my landlord doesn’t uphold his legal responsibilities. Like it would literally eat up all my savings and leave me with out a safety net. I also worry I would be out of the frying pan into the fire or whatever that saying is because the other options available to me are kind of questionable since landlords here really are not good and lots of places are not legal or up to code. Also majority of the ads I looked into seem to be phishing scams and it’s been a lot of fun blocking those emails. I also have one potential landlord who has contacted me daily about being his tenant which makes me no longer feel safe about even considering being his tenant. It was a really wild last week.
Also speaking of money, remember a month ago when I posted about my backlogged therapy reimbursements from health insurance and how I called them and they said they were all good and just slow to process. Well this last week I got notice they were not and were missing information. But no clarification on what info. I had to call AGAIN and then be transferred to multiple people to find out what was missing. I need to resubmit them all. And now, I have close to $1000 backlogged claims money which is not cool as a broke grad student with insecure housing.
Also starting the second week of February, contact tracing hours were cut to 30 hours/week which means less money. And now they are cutting staff this Thursday and I will find out then if I’m cut or not. I probably am. And I’m okay with being cut. Or at least I was until I had to worry I might need to cough up thousands of dollars to relocate.
So in general money is a fairly stressful topic at the moment.
I am also a bit stressed that the NY state mask mandate is over… No one is wearing masks around here but I also remind myself that they really weren’t before anyway. Stony Brook University also removed their booster mandate which I don’t love but so far they are planning on keeping the mask mandate. I really hope that lasts until I graduate.
Also not a negative, just an update. I don’t think I want to do TGIF posts anymore, I just haven’t really been enjoying writing them. So I’m giving myself permission to not.
Okay, let’s focus on some positives because I need to start getting back into a better head space.
I Zoom attended my first lab meeting for my postdoc lab February 9 and it was amazing! I really like this group and I think we’re all going to work great together. It was nice to start getting a handle on what is going on in the lab and also just to feel included. This was probably the highlight of my whole month as I’ve just been under a lot of stress and pretty irritable and the hope for the future is some times the only thing I can grasp that makes me happy.
This past Monday, I gave my talk to the local American Association of University Women (AAUW) chapter and it was nice. I don’t feel like I got to enjoy it as much as I should have since I was pretty distracted about trying not to let hedgie freeze to death but it was nice to share my work.
Also Thursday, my high school women in science and engineering (WISE) class started back up. I’ll be honest, I was dreading teaching all day just because I was exhausted from all the BS from the no heat situation. But once I showed up and started talking to my students I felt good. It was great interacting with them and I am looking forward to our future sessions. Hopefully they are too.
Also I really, really enjoyed the book The Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. My friend, Alex recommended it to me and it sure does not disappoint. My only complaint is now I have to wait for more of the books in the series to come out. 😥
And lastly, there are less than two weeks until my birthday. I love celebrating my birthday! I will have to come up with something good.
P.S. Look at the beautiful flowers Rob got me for Valentine’s day. They held up pretty good if you think about the fact that I didn’t get them until a week late since the heat/hot water sitch fucked up our date night.