Heat Bringing High-Cost Utility Bills
Dear Annie: For the past two years, I've lived in my apartment complex without issues except for my next-door neighbor. I have come to learn that she has a medical issue -- I believe it is cerebral palsy -- but that's not why I'm needing advice. For these last two years, I have been hemorrhaging money on my utility bill to keep cool. Even in Texas heat, it seems like my next-door neighbor is always having her heater running, and the heat goes through the walls into mine.
This suspicion of running the heater has been confirmed by the medical attendants I see who try to take care of her. I asked her once to turn it down, and she became verbally abrasive toward me.
I tried to bring it anonymously to my landlord's attention, and nothing seems to work. I brought it up to the property management firm, and they said it's probably nothing.
Meanwhile, I'm hemorrhaging money because I can't sleep or function properly because of those high utility bills. I can't afford to move to a new place.
What should I do? I can't afford to pay high bills much more, and I'm hurting financially with every bill that turns up. Does this possibly warrant a welfare check or something else? -- Heated Frustration
Dear Heated: The fact that she has medical attendants means that a welfare check is probably not the best place to start. Call the utility company and ask them to visit your apartment to see if the heat from the apartment next door is the cause of your high utility bills. If they confirm that, then it is the landlord's obligation to solve the problem, either by putting in new walls with better insulation or by paying the excess on your utility bills. If they continue to ignore you, don't rule out taking them to small claims court.
Cerebral palsy affects body temperature regulation, so I would not complain to your neighbor.
Dear Annie: I am writing you on the question the grandparent had about the grandchild experiencing hazing. We had this very thing happen to our son at the private school he attended, and there was a video. Someone thankfully shared the video with us. We went straight to the parents of the boy who did the hazing and showed them the video. They knew nothing about it and were shocked. They handled it with their son and had him apologize to our son. The school was never involved, and everyone learned something from it. The two young men became friends afterward. Parents need to be involved to resolve issues with teenagers and not rely on schools to handle all of the problems. It's the parents' responsibility! -- Mama Bear
Dear Mama Bear: Thank you for your letter, and I am glad that the entire situation was able to be resolved.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.