D.S.S. Fail: Day 4 of No Hot Water or Heat

(Cross-posted from the Free Speech Zone.)

While being cold and becoming sick I decided that the time was right for me to call the Emergency Service Hotline for Suffolk County’s Department of Social Services to request an emergency oil delivery.  We had a choice between rent and heat so we had to pass on such a luxury as a warm place to live in order to settle for just a place to live.  The other sideswipe we got was that our bank, that has what little money we have, decided to update their everything so our accounts don’t reflect what we actually have while also rendering our ATM and Debit options non-existent.

I figured it was worth a shot to call the county, and seeing as we make WAY too much money to be eligible for any assistance that would of prevented this, I feel they should at the very least be informed of my situation.

I called up the Department of Social Services and told them that I had no money but I needed oil to heat our house and give us warm water.  Me and my wife were starting to get a little “sniffley” so we would like to not wear 3 layers of clothing. The woman on the other end of the phone had the typical Long Island accent of an NY Italian Fran Drescher and told me that the emergency oil program doesn’t start until the first weeks of November.


So, October(in NY it’s cold to freezing during that time) people with kids have to freeze until the county gets its shit together?

Ok, I said, is there anyone else we can call like a charity or something?

She gave me 2 numbers that weren’t the things she said they were.  the first one was the phone number to United Way and the second one looked promising with “WARM BED” in the toll free number but turned out to be a organization for the homeless.

I called back to inform her that the numbers weren’t what she thought they were and she finally said “Well I don’t know any other places you can call that can help you.”

Here’s a thought, how about YOU?!  You know, my fucking government!  This led to being given another number to call, some commissioner of something that I think already denied me more than once when I asked for a “help up”.

There’s a morbid sense of humor among friends of ours about who can top their “you know you’re poor when…” stories.  It seems that 18-30 year olds are either barely making ends meet or moving back in with their parents to try and save money only to not be able to save enough or realize they have to save up for 4+ years to even start out on their own. I used to think that it was because I don’t have a degree that I can’t get a job above my current one but the grads are still looking for work above their current employment as well.  Some get jobs that start out at around 25-30K but still find it difficult to keep up with bills,food, rent, etc. but find out there’s little to no room for advancement.  In fact, they might be downsizing in the future.

I’ve given up on money in general.  Its pursuit seems ridiculous because even if I was to get a bigger piece that 95% of us are left to fight each other over, it still won’t be able to buy you much.  And the hours, the hours you put in leave nothing left of a life worth keeping anyway.

With salary pay you work an infinite amount of hours…because they can always find somebody else in this economy to do your job.

I’m ready to fight back, anytime you are let me know.


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  1. just glad this time they had a camera rollin’.

    A dozen different agencies were in FTAA Miami and the Homeland Security cluster with JTTF is just the beginning.

    You can go back to sleep now.

  2. While the G-20 Summit will put the world’s spotlight on Pittsburgh, it also will bring many visitors to Oakland. Because of heightened security, we ask you to use caution and common sense on and off campus. As a reminder, here are several safety tips to follow:

       * Carry your University identification (ID) at all times.

       * Keep your belongings secure, and always lock your room, car, and bicycle.

       * Travel with friends and never walk alone at night.

       * Avoid angry or obviously violent individuals.

       * If you find yourself in a “mob”, find a safe spot and remain calm. Text friends to let them know where you are.

       * If you are in a dangerous situation, contact police. When you are on campus, dial 412-624-2121 (add this number to your speed dial); off campus dial 911.

       * Treat others, including police officers, with respect.

       * Follow the directions of police officers and University officials.

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  3. It’s not much but if you play your cards right you can get about $100 a month doing bottles n’ cans. More if you’re really aggressive. People always leave stuff the machines won’t take, especially in certain rich neighborhoods where they just don’t feel like taking the time to recycle it. I make half of the money just by simply taking bags of stuff people leave from one store to another.

    2) Golf balls. You can trade these in for a dime per. The woods around golf courses are FULL of these. Scrub them reasonably clean and sell them here. I’ve made about $100 since April doing this alone. They also take softballs, baseballs and tennis balls.

    Not recommended as a primary source of income unless you have a LOT more time than you do money. Obviously it’s also more lucrative in the spring, summer and fall. It’s not much, but it’s something.

    And it’s a tax free something, too. Invisibility is a two-edged sword. ;-7

  4. Get a space heater. We got a cheap, safe one for $20. Electricity is cheaper than either gas or oil. Use the space heater only when you’re home and heat the room or rooms you use the most. This will work well to keep you comfortable for October.

    We have a hi-ranch (not my choice, we rent) and it’s a total bitch to heat. We use the space heater year round to heat our bedrooms. We keep the rest of the house at about 60 degrees, minimum required heat to keep the pipes from freezing.

    Can’t help much with the hot water issue unless you have an electric stove and can heat water that way. We went without hot water for a month one summer and we took showers in the gyms at our respective jobs, heated water on the stove to do dishes and kinda toughed out the laundry with cold water washes until the following month.

  5. either.  In 1991 we had a blizzard on Halloween followed by a week of below zero temperatures.  

    It took three days to dig the car out so it could be driven at all, and even then I lopped off the radio antenna while clearing ice and snow from the hood.  

    And since heat assistance didn’t begin until November, and the blizzard kept the service people from being able to come around, we endured that week by burning kerosene in the living room, with the windows cracked so we wouldn’t suffocate.  And we had small children at the time.  

    I friggin hate the poor tax.  

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