Whine and cheese

So I brought an electrician from our local utility company out to Amityville. And you know it’s pretty bad when he says he can’t wait to go back to his office and tell them stories about what a fucked-up dump this poor customer lives in.

We needed to find the meters for my floor. So we started on ground level, which is basically just covered parking and a bazillion locked doors. I saw a guy cleaning the pool and expressed shock that such an act of maintenance would occur. When my guy quizzed me about it, I said I never see anyone working on this place.

He asked, “Isn’t there a maintenance guy who walks around during the day, looking for stuff to do?” And I laughed and laughed. Because our maintenance guy comes at night. Once a week. After his day job at an upscale hotel just north on the A1A.

So it was about 9 a.m. and of course the landlady hadn’t rolled out of bed yet. He was worried that we’d have to call her to unlock the doors to the various mysterious rooms on the ground level. I scoffed, “Oh, don’t worry — I’ll bet the locks will break off in our hands.”

Five doors later and five rusted locks that shattered in our hands (I’m not kidding), we couldn’t find the meters.

We did eventually find my meter, on the sixth floor (the hell? Not my floor). He asked if I noticed anything odd about mine. I did — it’s digital, whereas all the others were the traditional ones with needles and dials and shit.

Let me guess, all my complaining about a $500 electric bill ($200 plus a $300 deposit) for a 1,000-square-foot apartment, and that’s what they did to cover their asses? Ingenious.

So basically, we looked at the occupancy records for my apartment. Nobody has lived here since 2006, so that explains everything going bust at every available opportunity. And nobody had an electric bill below $300 per month.

I haven’t used my a/c since my last billing cycle, and lo and behold, my new monthly bill is $70.

The air conditioner is the culprit — no freon in it, it’s 11 years old, it’s a 14 running at a 6 (whatever that means) and something else that makes the breakers trip all the damn time. Ask me if the idiots who run this place are going to do anything about it.

I asked my electrician what he recommended I do, other than drop-kick the a/c unit from the seventh floor. He said, “You should move.”


So after I paid all my bills this month and had an unexpected car expense (the outside is still dented but the inside is running right for a change), I really am seriously thinking about moving Mom back in with me. Ugh, sigh and fuck me running. I think she’s a lot sicker than she lets on. (And she lets on a lot.) And with all the bills — two cars to maintain, two sets of electric, two of pretty much everything — there’s no money left for food or if I had to get her health care or anything useful like that.

Of course, with all the fees I’d have to pay to break her lease (and to have to have her underfoot again. Gah), it’s cheaper to keep her there.

Instead of wallowing, though, I went to an event at my church yesterday and pledged to get involved. Normally I like to write a check and let others do the work. But with spare cash somewhat elusive these days, I figure I should make time to help. Weekdays are a bust and that’s when they do their best work. But there’s got to be something I can do, even if it’s just to make coffee and welcome people on Sunday mornings.

I finally introduced myself to my pastor. I figure, I’ve been going there for six months — it’s time.

At my last church, there was one entrance to the church (yay movie theater), so the church leaders were like a defensive line — you couldn’t get past them without being greeted and “loved on,” as they liked to call it.

Here? I’ve been invisible for six months.

Oh, and may I just say how *~*hot*~* my pastor is? He’s my age and single. And I always thought he was good looking, but as he shook my hand, I was blown away by how attractive he was up-close. (I usually only see him on the big screens, as Mom and I hide up on the top floor.)

I laugh at myself for that “wow” moment with him. I don’t know what I babbled, but I’m sure it was incoherent but I thank God that I managed not to cuss.

And as we had our meeting (with a close group of about 50 of us), I suddenly wanted to be an “A” student again. I was probably the biggest sinner in the room and I was overwhelmed by simply wanting to figure this faith thing out and live it. I don’t necessarily agree with all the teachings but I’m not aiming to be a saint or a pastor’s wife or anything.

(Heh. Can you imagine trying to explain my past? Or the NC-17-rated stories I’ve written? Or the vibrator-peddling years?)

(But what was it about that two-minute encounter that suddenly made me want to be a better person … someone who feels worthy of standing in front of, and maybe beside, a man of God?)

Anyway, at a time when I don’t feel like I belong much of anywhere, this is as good a place as any — better, actually — to start. And even though it’s different here and people don’t come to you but want you to come out of your shell and make yourself known to them, well, I think I’m ready.

Talk about a good place to meet people — I ended up sitting at a table with a bunch of college girls, and we were to introduce ourselves. After I was ready to hang myself with my ponytail over hearing about their majors and how they all want to change the world, I told them what I do for a living and everyone glazed over like a Krispy Kreme.

But the lone guy at the table got excited and told me he’s a commodities broker … and he’s also from D.C. Yay! We had a lovely discussion about investing in Exchange-Traded Funds. This had to be the most-exciting Sunday I’ve had in, oh, ever.

In any event, I’m going to try to work past all that isn’t working and all that I’m allowing to weigh me down. And I certainly won’t be any Mother Theresa, but I’m looking forward to getting out of my own head and channeling some of that misspent emotion into saving more than just myself.

Comments closed.