29 July 2009


I have been to this house before, but I don't recognize it until I reach the porch steps. We are assaulted with a wave of stench and the resident banging on the screen door to push it open. Gagging and choking on the overwhelming ammonia smell of stale urine triggers the heavily repressed memory in my brain of what else I'm going to encounter in this apartment. We have a EMT-B student with us tonight who is carrying our supplies and has no idea what is about to happen, he didn't know what to think when asking about "public assist" calls and I told him it could be literally anything at all. I'm crossing my fingers that this call will be as fast as humanly possible, whatever public assistance this person requires will be a quick fix and get us back on the road.

As the resident cracks open the screen door, we find out the assistance required is to "put my parrot's cage back together". I know we are entering into the kitchen but all the lights are out and what my small flashlight shows is a large metal cage, two pieces assembled, three pieces on the floor and a small bird hanging out in the middle. Resident is in a wheelchair and can't reach high enough to put the pieces of the cage together. Every step I take across the room results in a crunching sensation beneath my boots. The floor is a mass of moving insect life and I'm struggling not to be a "girl" about this and just keep going. The stu puts our bag on the floor and I'm immediately in his face to pick it up and do not set another piece of equipment down while he is here. Resident points me to a light switch, but more light just means more bugs I can see, none of the roaches are the least bit disturbed. There are probably undiscovered species of bugs evolving in this apartment as we stand there.

Rather than argue with the resident about the necessity of calling 911 for a parrot cage, we try to put it together as quickly as possible, but nobody knows which piece goes where and it takes time. I give in to my inner paranoia and try to keep my feet moving at all times to discourage the bugs. Each piece of the cage has bugs crawling on it and I am more thankful than usual for my gloves. I do NOT look up, the thought of what is crawling on the ceiling and could decide to drop on me at any second is just too much. Assembly completed, we stampede out of the apartment.

For the record, we called social services the last time we were in this apartment, this resident has a social worker. I did not call again last night. I can not imagine being the folks who live upstairs from this hell-hole, I hope they pay almost nothing and have invested some money in an extermination company to visit daily. I've never been past the kitchen. If I had to see the bedroom in a similar state and imagine this person sleeping with all those bugs night after night, I'm not sure I would sleep again. Stu will never regard public assistance calls quite the same way, nor probably ambulance calls in general.

25 July 2009

A different slice of life

Some folks live places where they know their neighbors by just saying hi in the hallway and moving on about their days. Some live places where they've known people forever and are related to most of them. And then, there are the folks who live in New Hampshire. K and I have made a number of trips to or through the airport in the last couple of years and I have NEVER been through there without seeing someone we know, sometimes, even on our flight. It is extremely weird to me that we live somewhere a thousand miles from family, generally at least hundreds of miles from long-term friends or people from childhood, and we still manage to run into people at the airport. I don't think this happens other places. Other places have enough flights that odds of seeing someone are fairly low. Not here. There is no sneaking out of this state by air, and most of the time, someone you know will even see you on the highway and comment about where you were headed. Just plain odd if you've ever lived somewhere this sort of thing doesn't happen.

12 July 2009


I can't decide whether some of the situations I encounter on the ambulance make me more sad or angry. First of all, even if your child is "developmentally delayed", calling the ambulance for an "out of control 3 year old" is kinda pathetic. I think maybe you should call your social worker for some parenting classes instead because keeping the 3 year old out until midnight is not a secret for success. And honestly, if your older child is also "challenged" or "special", maybe it isn't such a great idea to allow the next pregnancy to happen, especially when you're already using it as an excuse not to parent the children you already have and there is no partner involved anywhere.

09 July 2009


I've written before that I enjoy looking at houses. The sneak peek into someone else's life, the images of what you could do with a space, changes you could make. Just as interesting is the home inspection process. If you've never done it, or somehow missed out on walking around with your inspector, you're missing out on a LOT of information about a place.

We went to the house by school for inspection yesterday. Interesting stuff. Biggest finding was that the boiler is cracked, something we never would've found unassisted. The good news is that the heating system is still working right now, meaning there isn't a worry on frozen pipes from last winter when the house was unoccupied, but a pretty big concern for this winter. This is a negotiable finding from the inspection, meaning we can ask the sellers to fix it or compensate for fixing it in the price. Other findings included a little bit of water leakage at the basement windows and some outdated electrical wiring.

This housing experience is like none other for me. It isn't my money on the line, but it will be my daily activity influencing the remodeling and updating. I've never been involved in a home sale from a trust instead of actual residents. I don't know whether the trust was formed because someone is no longer capable of making financial decisions or because someone died. Looking at the stuff in the house, it could go either way. Now I'm just waiting on the negotiations to find out if this is the place.

03 July 2009


Anybody know where I can buy a bottle of Give-A-Damn? I seem to be out with no refills pending.

I don't give a damn about your complete inability to manage your employees, no I will not fill your empty shift for you. I don't give a damn about your stupid toe pain for 3 days, just get your sorry ass on the stretcher so I can get away from you.