Because my neighbors have not paid the house’s gas bill, I will be going without hot water in my apartment until mid-July.  You may be surprised to learn that I’m not going to do anything about it.

Why?

I recently returned from a solitary retreat at a monastery (and I fully intend to eventually write about my experience there) with the goal of decreasing the stress and self-inflated drama in my life, in addition to many other goals.

As part of achieving that purpose, I decided to start saving up to move to another apartment to get away from the situation I’m in now.

Where I live now, I feel unsafe and like I can’t have a conversation in my house without my upstairs neighbors either interrupting my peace and quiet by getting into an explosive screaming fight, or the adult female of the house walking into the room above me and eavesdropping. She is like those busy-body women in movies who watch everyone coming and going, and is always very paranoid that you’re talking about her.  (Well, at least this time, she’s right. lol.)

If you think I’m exaggerating, ask any of my friends who spent time with her back when I still spoke with her.

My neighbors and I used to talk, in fact we used to be friends, but some things happened earlier this year that made it clear that those people were toxic and I just needed to cut them from my life. Luckily, they feel the same about me so there’s little chance of a reconciliation.

I searched my heart at the monastery and I am still uncertain whether I still hold anger against them or whether I just refuse to soften my heart for fear that I will end up tangled up with the neighbors again.

Anyway, last week I went on a work trip to South Carolina only to return and realize I couldn’t take a hot bath to sooth my aching muscles.

The problem is that when I signed my lease, I was led to believe that my utilities were covered in the rent, in that part of the rent money was put toward utilities. Later, I learned it wasn’t.

It isn’t fair that they have to pay all of my utilities and it isn’t fair to me either because I feel guilty every time I turn on a light, take a bath or cook. The landlord shouldn’t have been allowed to put us in this situation and if I’d known the true set-up, I’d have opted to live somewhere else or pay a share in the utilities.

But live alone and rent the basement (1 bedroom, on living room, one small bathroom and a kitchen) while there are three of them, plus more when they have weekend custody of their four other children, and they use the rest of the two-story house. Moreover, the only gas I use is when I use hot water.

Anyway, for one reason or another, there was has been no hot water in about a week and last night I received a multi-part text from the neighbors saying they won’t be able to pay the gas bill until the 13th of July. UG!

I could go to the landlord and complain. I could ask him to get the gas turned back on. But the truth is the neighbors still wouldn’t have the money to pay the bill (if they are being truthful) until then and I would be drawn back in the drama of that family.

I spent a summer in Delaware without hot water, because I couldn’t afford to buy a $300 tank of natural gas, and so I know how to survive without.

But the thing is, I wish my neighbors hadn’t put me in this situation, for I fear they will let this happen every couple of months if I don’t do anything. But if I do something, I will be forced to hear them screaming upstairs even more and likely will once again have my neighbor screaming profanities out her upstairs window at me in the middle of the night.

No thanks.

For now I’ll take the cold showers and continue saving up to get out of the place.

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