February is a Bitch: Chapter 1 - The Bedbug Situation.

What a frigging month. The hits just kept coming, I tell ya. So I apologize for not participating for a while. Let me break it down for you…

First, after a few days of experiencing mysterious bites and a general buggy feeling, I discovered that we had become victims of the current bedbug epidemic that has been going on in NYC for quite a while. Admittedly, I am a cluttery kind of person. I have lived in this apartment for over 15 years and have accumulated a lot of crap that for many different reasons I was reluctant to part with. However, the bedbugs spurred me on to finally relinquish the shit I didn’t need. For 5 days Michael and I worked around the clock emptying closets, disposing of old clothes, papers, books, etc.

Having said this, when I first reported the situation to my landlord he told me that the exterminator would be scheduled for Tuesday. I suggested that it would be more practical to have him come on Wednesday since the garbage is put out on Tuesday night. He sighed, he rolled his eyes, he told me that the exterminator would have parking problems on Wednesday. I said whatever and the appointment was made for Tuesday.

Now, Tuesday comes. We had many trashbags full of stuff we needed to dispose of. However, we couldn’t put it in the hall, we were not allowed access to the basement and we could not put it on the street. Our hands were tied. Okay.

The exterminator shows up and ensures me that EVERYTHING WAS FINE. He would set of these foggers, we would stay out of the house a few hours and we could come home. Of course they would have to follow up, but EVERYTHING WAS FINE.

The next day, I get a call from the other landlord (brothers, you see). Let’s call him “The Hammer”. I greet him. I ask how everthing is and he launches into an admonishment of my housekeeping skills and tells me that it is inexcusable that my apartment was not prepared to the exterminator’s satifaction. Then he hangs up on me.

A few years ago this would have made me curl up in a ball and try to die of natural causes. But not today.

I called him back. I said, "Hey Steve. This is Bernadette Claffey. I’m a little pissed and I’m gonna tell you why.

For two months now you people have known that my oven has to be replaced. I have called you and you people have been avoiding me like a fucking plague. Now that there’s a situation you can’t ignore, you have a fucking attitude. I resent it and I will be filing papers with the city about it."

Now he’s backpedalling. All apologies, you’re very right, my brother is in the stratosphere somewhere. Thank you for calling me on it. We will cooperate with you fully on this matter.

I hang up with him and he calls back in five minutes to apologize again, thank you again. Blah, blah fucking blah.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. And I will take it with me wherever I go. You have to have a fucking backbone in this world and you need to use it. Sometimes you need to be a bitch.

To be continued…

February is a Bitch: Chapter 1 - The Bedbug Situation.

Bernadette Claffey

Astoria, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Chapter 1 of my chronicle of February 2010. Challenges were met, battles were fought, and chickens came home to roost. I hope I never see the likes of it again.

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