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It’s time for Kayla to keep it real. Supporting a family of five on cash assistance isn’t always as lucrative of a lifestyle as one may assume. For instance, a couple of weeks ago the property janitor (or on-site property manager, whatever) came to my door. He told me that the secretary from the company that owns my duplex called to tell him that I had a shut-off notice for the gas. She wanted him to give me her number.

What the heck was that? I thought it was just plain humiliating!

How and the heck does she know this, and why is she telling my neighbors?

Why does she want to make sure that I know that she and my neighbors know about my shut-off?

If the property janitor came all the way over to my house to give me her number, what was the point of telling him about my bills? Couldn’t I have just called her?

I was livid. I called her back you betcha’! I tried as hard as I could to use my professional voice of legitimate inquiry. She returned my call soon after. She used her least respectful tone of condescending bitch voice towards me. She told me that as owner of the property (which she personally is not) she has every right to know about damage to HER property (which it technically is not). Utility companies send a notification to the property owner when a rental unit is served a shut-off notice. Because it was winter (no, it was mid-April) she was concerned about the damage that would occur to the property. I had never heard of any such a thing in my life.

“You can find a way to understand THAT can’t you?” she coldly inquired.

She was not at all concerned about the three children who live in the house. Perhaps, it was because they were not her property?

I have rent property for 13 years. I have received hundreds of shut-off notices. I have yet to meet anyone else who has heard of such a thing from their landlord either. Regardless, a few days later I paid the gas bill with my next cash assistance installment. I get my stipend twice a month, on the 8th and the 18th.

I was angry at first. Later I was just embarrassed for her. How could she know that I just lost my job a few days before? She would have no idea that the week before that I had to scramble to come up with a $520 car insurance payment on my car. Banks want full-coverage. Since I hadn’t been always able to afford insurance in the past, I got hit with a poor tax.

Update: I came home from filling out paperwork for my NEW JOB the other day, and the gas was shut off. I was one week late with a $95 bill. Did the property owner’s secretary call? No. Did the property janitor stop by to make sure everything was okay? No. What did happen was, I was served papers for back rent. It’s not really back rent. It’s three or four years worth of pet fees that no one remembered to charge me. I had a deal worked out with a woman in the office. Apparently, she’s not working there anymore. Her deal became null and void. Now I owe a big chunk of money and I owe it now. Ah well, I’m working again. At least I had my last paycheck from Salvation Army to pay the gas bill. I just didn’t know they were coming to shut it off right then, and I had been busy getting ready for this new job, and the kid’s school, and Sean’s new midnight gig. So it was paid, and the next afternoon the gas was turned back on; but no one cares this month.

Last month I bought Easter Candy for the kids, now the food card budget is a bit trimmer. My hope is that my new job will keep me out of the house and away from the food. I’m still trying to stick to my coffee only diet. I had a chicken patty on toast. I’m going to try to make that my only meal of the day.

The girls and I started a garden this year. I plan on that having a dramatic effect on our food bill later this year.

I plan on me having a dramatic effect this year on everything I touch this year. At least that is a realistic goal.