Sunday, June 27, 2010

Somehow they knew

JV had the talk with his parents. They're concerned -- somehow they figured out I have a problem with depression. But they didn't tell him not to marry me. They told him it was his decision.

Not exactly a hearty "welcome to the family." I guess it's as good as I'll get. Now he just has to sell his kids on the idea.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


Today we visited two wedding venues. One, a conservadox synagogue, is definitely out; it's both tacky and overpriced, and the executive director acted like he'd be doing us a favor if he let us get married there. The other setting, a country club, was lovely and probably within our budget.

But of course we can't decide anything yet, because the engagement isn't official.

JV's parents, who live in Manhattan, wanted him to pick them up some giant vats of cottage cheese at Costco. He also had to set up their new computer. So he drove into the city tonight to deliver the cheese and computer, and to ask for their blessing to marry me.

That was more than 2 hours ago. And I don't know what's been said, or how they reacted. He couldn't predict it.

"What if they tell you not to marry me?" I asked tearfully.

He frowned, thinking. "I'm not a child," he said.

A good friend, who happens to be a psychologist, wrote to me a week ago:

I realize at a point many years ago that you were in very bad shape and hospitalized, but is any of that recent? I am always functional and perfectly stable as long as I don't mess with my meds (I did in effort to help my endocrine problems but whoa, depression big time and now on my way back to old meds), I never felt it was anyone's business. I certainly don't want to discuss my mental health with my in-laws. I don't like my MIL all that much as it is.

You are a successful, intelligent, social, active woman. The fact that you have to be under psychiatric care does not change that. If it does for his parents it would be out of ignorance and if that conversation doesn't need to be had, why have it? Is it their business? You have waited a long time to be this happy, do you want to set yourself up to be hurt here? There is no "approval" needed.

Anyway, you know better than me of course, what is right for you. I just thought I'd ask the question out loud in case you felt the option of it being none of their business was feasible.

I sent this to JV. I hope he emphasizes my current functioning, and not my past. But will that matter? His parents were raised in the Soviet Union, which wasn't exactly an understanding place where mental illness was concerned. And JV is very close (although not unhealthily so) to his parents. Their approval does matter, even though he's not a child.
Why hasn't he called me? How long can this conversation take? If the answer were "yes, you have our blessing," I'm sure he would have called me. He must be driving home to deliver the bad news...
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


My life sometimes seems like a cascade of annoyances. There's the ever-present knee pain, which ranges from mild to excruciating. I'm thinking of making an appointment for treatment that I saw advertised in amNew York, even though it's in Queens, where I neither live nor work.

There's the apartment situation. After HPD inspected, I got a letter from the landlady's lawyer rescinding the offer to move into another apartment and telling me they're going to renovate my kitchen. Then I got an email from her:

I will be scheduling to paint your entire apartment -- bathroom, kitchen and living room area. You are to move all your furniture and belongings to the center of the room. Also to remove all items in the kitchen and bathroom before painting. We will cover your belongings. I will get back to you in regard to when we will be doing the work.

Fair enough, I suppose. I responded:

Please be sure to give me at least two weeks notice, or I will not be able to move everything in time.

She agreed to do that. But then I had a mishap last night, coming home at 9:45 p.m.:

Last night as I was getting on the elevator, I stumbled because the elevator floor was about 3/4" higher than the hallway floor. I dropped my keys and they fell down the shaft. I called Cosmo and knocked on his door but nobody answered. Fortunately, a friend who lives nearby was able to bring me a spare set of keys, but did not have my mailbox key. Please let me know if the keys can be retrieved. Otherwise, I will need a new mailbox lock and key.

It's always something...

I decided not to interview for the job I posted about yesterday. It's primarily administrative, with a ton of responsibility, and requires an in-depth knowledge of New Jersey substance abuse and mental health treatment policy and resources. Which I don't yet have. And I need more clinical experience before I move into a primarily administrative/programming role.

But my friend Jason from social work school does have a ton of clinical and administrative experience. And he knows Jersey better than Tony Soprano. So I passed along the information to him and made my apologies to the recruiter, who was very gracious:

Hi Ayelet – thank you for your note. I absolutely understand that timing is everything and would welcome another applicant. If he is interested, he is also welcome to send his resume to me directly. He can also visit the job description on the certification board web site. Thank you for your candor and who knows, perhaps we will get that chance to meet one day. BTW, when you move to Teaneck – you have to check out Zoe’s CafĂ©, which sells cupcakes etc to benefit a local teem home for pregnant moms. It was built from a grant from Women United in Philanthropy, of which I am a member, to help supplement the agency and provide a training ground for young moms to enter the work force. It’s a fun place to have dessert and tea or coffee.

Cupcakes for a good cause. I am so on board!

Hi Jill - thanks for understanding. I forwarded your message to Jason, and he'll be sending you his resume. If there's anything I love more than helping others, it's cupcakes, so I'm looking forward to trying Zoe's! And I do hope that you and I will meet at some point - perhaps while making a referral :)

Work has been bearable, and always reminds me that infuriating situations will often be hilarious if you just wait a little while. One client arrived for group yesterday wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a huge marijuana leaf and the words "I (heart) GREEN." And had the nerve to claim he didn't understand why he couldn't come to group wearing it. Made for a very interesting discussion with the rest of the participants...
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Just heard from my doctor. Results of the colposcopy were benign.

In related news: I have a job interview in New Jersey this Thursday. Not a clinical position -- more administrative, working on a substance abuse and mental health treatment referral hotline. Probably some evening hours, and I might be on call 24/7. But a good salary and an interesting opportunity. Speaking of salaries: I've spoken to a few NJ agencies, and they are way lowballing me on salary. I thought NYC social workers were underpaid, but NJ social workers are even worse off. I might need to revise my expectations.

I'll have to call in sick to go to the interview, which is unfortunate, but I have to look out for myself now. Because this agency sure isn't.

In my annual review, my supervisor managed to blame me for Princess Crybaby's hostility and bullying, said I had a deficit- instead of solution-focused mindset, denied that I have problem-solving skills, and criticized me on a number of things she never once mentioned during the seven months I've been at this office. So of course I had no opportunity to try to improve.

She's going on maternity leave, having a waterbirth at home. Before she left, I gushed, "I'm sure it will be a beautiful experience." Thinking, "I hope that baby shreds you like coleslaw on the way out." Like Claudius in Hamlet, I'm learning to smile and keep my counsel to myself. Of course, I have no plans to pour poison in anyone's ear. At least not literally.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, June 21, 2010

What would my mother have wanted to hear?

Today I did an intake on a juvenile client. I think I've blogged before about how annoying I find "young adult" clients. If I haven't, now hear this: I find "young adult" clients infuriating. They're flaky. They're oppositional. They don't attend their appointments. They can't put down their cell phones. They're loud; they congregate and conversate in the reception area. They're teenagers. I didn't like the other teenagers when I was in high school, and now that I'm an adult, I don't think I should be forced to deal with any.

Obviously the agency disagrees. So occasionally I have to cover a "young adult" group, which is bearable because I don't take it or myself too seriously -- I don't try to convey any serious psychoeducation material, and I just let them talk. They like that. And sometimes I'm assigned individual clients who are, as I affectionately put it, "old children." Usually that means they're chronologically between 18-21 years old and mentally about 14.

But today I got an actual teenager, a minor accompanied by her mother, who had to sign all the confidentiality paperwork and releases of information and tell me about the insurance coverage. Mom sat rigidly, reading and signing form after form. Then I walked Mom to the waiting area so I could ask the client a few more questions and set up her psychiatric evaluation.

This teenager was quiet and cooperative. A little hard to read, but so far not obnoxious or recalcitrant, which is a huge improvement over most of the other Old Children at the agency. I asked her how she feels about being in treatment; she said she thinks she needs help. Which is extremely insightful for an Old Child. Most of them think they're already perfect and we should leave them be.

As I collected her urine and walked her back to her mother, waiting stiffly in the reception area, I was reminded of a similar situation, ten years ago. Sitting in the admission area of the emergency room, waiting for a bed to open up on the psych ward. And how my mother came to my individual counseling sessions, asking the case manager and the psychiatrist many questions, and hurting, and being strong for me. I tried to think of something to say that would comfort her, something my mother would have liked or needed to hear.

At the door, I said, "Don't work, Ms. Jackson. We'll take good care of her." And Ms. Jackson smiled.

I trembled a little, walking back to my office. This teenager has the same unfortunate hairdo I rocked in high school -- dark, short and feathered. But unlike me, she's already spent time on the psych ward.

I hope, by the time she's my age or thereafter, she won't have made any return visits.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's still unofficial

Last night I dreamed JV decided he didn't want to marry me, after all, and I had to start dating again. This waiting for things to be official is really getting to me. I woke up early this morning, washed a ton of dishes (we had guests for Shabbos dinner), waited for JV to wake up, got bored waiting, and decided to look at the bridesmaid dress again.

I got fabric swatches from a company called Aria Dress. They make simple, lovely, elegant bridal and bridesmaid gowns, only one of which has sleeves (you have the option of cap, short, or 3/4-length). The swatches were gorgeous silk shantung, and I totally lust after the aubergine and Bordeaux. So those are the wedding party colors. Except I'm going to call them "garnet and amethyst," because I love gemstones. (Aria also makes ties and vests in the same fabrics as the gowns, so we can order those for JV, his best man, his father, and my cousin Yonina's husband. I love their flower girl dresses, too, but don't think my sister and cousin will want to pay $163 per dress for those.)

Question is, do I ask the bridesmaids to limit themselves to that dress, or do I give them the option of all 42 styles? It's not an orthodox wedding. The dresses are elegant and tasteful, not the least bit slutty. I've even recently seen more than one modern orthodox wedding where the bride and bridesmaids wore little to no sleeves.

Which leads to: Should I keep on at my endless quest for an elegant sleeved bridal gown that I don't have to have custom-made or borrow from a gemach -- or should I go sleeveless?

What I need to do is start trying on bridal gowns to see what suits me at this weight -- and if I can even pull off sleeveless dresses without looking like I'm smuggling small exotic pets in my arm fat. But doing that before an official engagement really seems like tempting fate.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We have a date, but not a ring

November 21, 2010.

It's the Sunday before Thanksgiving. It's also JV's father's birthday, but that's not why we chose it. I thought he needed more time than October, and we can take just 3 vacation days and still have the whole week off. I hope out-of-towners won't be annoyed or offended by the timing -- if they were planning to see family that week, they might as well see them Sunday as Thursday.

I'd been hoping to get married in October, but was feeling stressed about not having enough time to plan. As it is, I'm behind on almost everything, according to the wedding checklists I've been downloading. JV still hasn't spoken to his children about it. They've noticed that I'm around a lot these days, and don't seem to mind, but he hasn't had the conversation with them.

Or with his parents, who still don't know I have bipolar disorder, and probably should. Not sure when he'll talk to them about it. He hasn't told his sister, Svetlana, or his best friend, Dima; I don't think he needs to. But he needs to tell his parents.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Is she serious?

I just looked at the lease for the new apartment. And had to write to my landlady immediately:
Stupid Landlady, our agreement was that you would give me a rent-stabilized lease for the new apartment. This lease is a standard form of apartment lease for apartments NOT subject to the rent stabilization law, and the enclosed decontrol notice states that the apartment is no longer subject to the rent stabilization law. This is unacceptable.

She promised me that the new apartment would be leased under the same terms as my current apartment. And that the lease was the standard rent-stabilized lease. She wrote back:

Any apartment that reaches $2000.00 in rent becomes decontrolled. As you can clearly see by about $60.00 it has now become decontrolled. There is nothing I can do about that.

JV doesn't want me to give up a rent-stabilized apartment on the Upper West Side. But if I move, I won't be in a rent-stabilized apartment. Stupid Landlady also claims that the only way to address the rat problem is to renovate the kitchen completely, which would be inconvenient, to say the least, while I'm living there.

I scheduled another inspection for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which regulates rent-controlled and -stabilized housing in the city. I guess I'll tell them that the landlord is refusing to remediate the rat problem in my apartment, and their only solution is to remove me from it and place me in a non-stabilized apartment.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, June 06, 2010

What happened at work, Ayelet?

Tensions have abated. I sat down with Mr. Princess Crybaby, his supervisor, and my supervisor, and we hashed things out. He's moving to another office soon, so it doesn't matter so much, but it looks like there will be less hostility. Good thing, too, because I've got way too many clients with more arriving every week. Can't afford to have hostility on top of overwork.

Dinner at Prime Grill was lovely, although Oedipus was bored and apparently doesn't like JV. Not sure why. Maybe he's jealous.

"I don't want you to marry that guy, Aunt Ayelet," he said. "I don't want to be related to him."

"Very sorry to hear that, sweetheart," I said. He'll get over it. Right? JV still has to talk to his children about us getting married, and M1 might have a similar reaction.

JV didn't have a chance to buy me the diamond journey earrings I wanted for my birthday. We went to the mall today but didn't see anything I really loved. Jersey -- what did we expect? So in a few weeks we're going to go to the Diamond district, and look for earrings and an engagement ring.

By then, hopefully JV will have broached the subject with the malchicks.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Best birthday so far

Yesterday JV was very sweet; he did all the food prep and dishes and let me relax. Rubbed my shoulders, too. And felt horrible that he hadn't had time to pick me up a birthday present so that I'd wake up to find it next to my bed. So we're going shopping today -- after we see two more houses.

House-hunting was a complete thrill the first time we went. I felt so grown-up and engaged, even without the ring and the discussion with Malchicks 1 & 2. Now we have seen about 10 houses, and it's not fun. It's work. Especially since the realtor we've been working with is kind of ditzy, and has been taking us to a bunch of houses we're not interested in.

It's kind of like dating, except you don't go home alone at night. You hear a few things, get all excited and hopeful, and then the reality disappoints.

Fortunately, JV can stay in the house he's renting for as long as he wants or needs to. So there's really no rush.

As far as my landlady is concerned... well, she called on Memorial Day to offer me another apartment in the building on the same lease terms. I emailed her to assert that I won't pay any "rent arrears" and that the conditions in my apartment aren't what attracted the rats. She responded:

I am willing to waive the rent arrears of $764.15 ...we will sign a kease over the will be given one week to move into the other apt..... Leave all garbage and unwanted items and unwanted food in apt 3B. CHECK ANY BOXES OR BAGS BEFORE YOU BRING INTO THE NEW APT. Pay your rent for 3B for June.

I'm not signing any lease without reviewing it carefully, so "over the weekend" isn't enough time. And I haven't packed anything, so a week isn't enough time either.

I appreciate you getting back to me so quickly, and I do appreciate the offer to move into the newly renovated apartment. However, I cannot sign a new lease until my attorney has a chance to review it. I can pick it up this Sunday and review it with my attorney during the week. Also, since I work full-time, it is impossible for me to pack up and move within the time frame you have suggested. I will need more than a week. I have sent a check for June's rent, which you should receive shortly.

She did, after all, threaten to take me to housing court several times. I'm not signing anything without reading it carefully and maybe making some changes.

I can drop a lease off to you tomorrow---it is a standard rent stabilized lease with your name on it....For your attorney to review a simple lease and you pay him for this---you can have simply put that money toward the money you owed me.

How much time do you need to move in? I need to have your current apartment renovated and ready for July 1st rental. I cannot afford to loose July 1st rent along with the rent arrears.

Don't tell me how to use my money -- especially when it's not "owed" you.

According to my attorney, I do not owe you any "rent arrears." I deducted a reasonable amount from the rent because the apartment was completely uninhabitable during the rat infestation, and I was fully within my rights to do so; in fact, I would have been within my rights to deduct a great deal more, given the expense, inconvenience, and health risk that the rat infestation caused.

Since you have involved your attorney in this negotiation by having him send me the letter dated May 18, 2010, it is only reasonable that I consult with my attorney before signing any legal documents.

I am requesting two weeks after signing the lease to move into the new apartment. If you feel that is too much time, then I will not move into the new apartment, and you will have to remediate the rat problem in my apartment in a way that will neither inconvenience me nor incur any further expenses for me.

Since your exterminator cannot suggest such a solution, I am willing to employ an independent exterminator to assess the problem and propose a solution. However, all fees related to this undertaking will come out of the rent.

She didn't take well to that.

I will give you a lease over the weekend.....By midweek, I expect a s signed lease.I will give you two weeks after to move into the new apt. If not, you can stay in your apt and as far as the rent arrears and anything else pertaining to your apt...we will go to court and let the judge decide if the condition of your apartment is acceptable.

This is an oppurtunity for you to move into a new apartment and a chance for you to get rid of all the garbage in your apartment AT THE BUILDING'S EXPENSE.

"Is she really that stupid?" asked JV.

"Apparently," I said.

I will pick up the lease this weekend, but unfortunately, given that you keep threatening legal action, I will need at least a week to review the lease and my legal options with my attorney.

I am not going to let her rush or intimidate me. But I guess she doesn't think she's trying to:

I am in no way threatening...reread your e-mails. I am clearly stating what I my next step is in regard to this situation. It is a standard will take all but 20 minutes to review it.

Another tenant told me that several of the riders the building management put into my lease were illegal... such as an agreement that they can charge me a late fee for the rent, or that I can't have subletters. I plan to cross those out of the new lease and initial them. And I did reread my emails:

You wrote: "as far as the rent arrears and anything else pertaining to your apartment...we will go to court and let the judge decide if the condition of your apartment is acceptable"

That is a direct threat to take me to court if I do not move into the new apartment within the time frame you demand, which I and my attorney find unreasonable. I am consulting an attorney because your attorney sent me a threatening and accusatory letter on 5/18/10, blaming me for the rat infestation. I needed legal counsel to assure me of my rights in this situation.

I will not be rushed into any decision, and I am fully entitled to consult with an attorney if I deem it necessary. Please leave the lease for me this weekend. I will get back to you within a reasonable amount of time. If you issue another threat via e-mail or telephone, I will only communicate with you through your attorney.

Did she go there?

I will give you a lease over the weekend. I will give you a few days to review it. Otherwise, you can stay in your apartment. And do not threaten to deduct any money from your rent for exterminators, work expenses, attorney fees or inconvenience. I have reputable exterminators that are fully capable to handle this situation. However you NEED to clean up all the accumulated junk, food and garbage in your apartment. Maybe you should take some pictures and give them to your attorney so he can understand more clearly the condition of your apartment

Ayelet, would you rather move elsewhere and terminate your lease if you are uncomfortable in that apartment? I can see what I can to do so you are not held liable for the remainder of the lease.. Let me know.

It leads me to believe the rat problem is over in your apartment. Anyone living with rats and was offered a brand new apartment would have moved into it asap.

Okay. I'm only going to communicate with her through her attorney. I will take as much time as I need to review the new lease. And I'm crossing out any illegal conditions in the new lease.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Maybe it's me

Yesterday during supervision, I was told that my emails appear "abrasive" to a coworker, and I come across as very easy to upset so that people feel they have to walk on eggshells around me.

The "abrasive" email in question:

Oversensitive Coworker, I was very surprised to learn in clinical meeting that my client AR disclosed a relapse into heroin use during a group you covered “sometime this year” (in your own words). Since AR has undergone several medical procedures for which he was administered opiate painkillers, and brought in what appeared to be supporting documentation, he has always had “proof” that the positive toxicology results were due to a legitimate prescription.

I checked his chart, but I cannot find the group note in which you documented this disclosure. I would greatly appreciate it if you could provide me with a copy so that when I see him tomorrow, I can address this relapse with him.

Concerning my client FN, whom we briefly discussed yesterday: if you are uncomfortable having him in the marijuana group because you find his behavior odd or inappropriate – and I agree with you that clients should not be allowed to sleep during group – please remove him from the roster. I will revise his schedule and address this problem with the client and the referral source.

Thank you, Ayelet

Abrasive? No. Passive-aggressive? Maybe a little. I've been struggling with this co-worker for a while. OC is not supposed to place clients in other counselors' groups without notice, and she does. OC had my client FN in her group for many weeks without realizing that his odd presentation is in fact due to a serious psychotic illness (he was being seen by an incompetent student intern before they put him on my caseload, a mess I'm still cleaning up). She saw his behavior as weird, but not psychiatric. Incompetent much? Same goes for not telling me immediately when my client disclosed using heroin. (He denies it, and since she didn't give me a copy of the group note, I can't remind him of what else was discussed that day to jog his memory.)

I've also complained to her several times that her clients are behaving inappropriately in my groups (leaving their cell phones on, sleeping, etc.). When I've done that with other counselors, they've agreed to speak to the clients, which usually leads to improved behavior. For the longest time OC just said, "I don't know why you just don't tell them to leave, Ayelet."

Um, because when I do you then lacerate me in clinical meeting for removing clients from my group? (To her credit, OC just now asked me how her pain in the neck clients behaved yesterday, and said she'd talk to the one who was texting and sleeping during group.)

So I'm being undermined in several ways. And I'm upset about it. I have an unpleasant meeting with another co-worker scheduled for tomorrow, and I'm dreading it. Mr. Princess Crybaby has been nasty and hostile to me since I started here, and I'm sick of it. I've complained and complained, and nothing has been done, so he's never changed his behavior. Even though I've helped several of his clients access services they need and he didn't know enough about to make a referral.

It irks me that my supervisor seems more bothered by my perceived abrasiveness and emotional fragility than MPC's outright hostility and harassment. Which is why I've started looking at how to report him to OASAS, which licenses CASACs and substance abuse treatment programs, and the NYS Department of Education, which licenses mental health counselors. (MPC has his CASAC and master's in mental health counseling and is planning to take his licensing exam this fall.)

I spoke to the assistant clinical director, Eduardo, in whom I safely confide; he reciprocates, and we have a good rapport. Showed him the "abrasive" email. Asked if he felt he needs to walk on eggshells around me.

"The only way that email would be considered abrasive would be if the person already had a problem with you," he said. "Don't let another person's negative opinion of you become your opinion of yourself."

But I'm starting to wonder: why do I have so many problems wherever I go? I had problems with people at The Bad Place, my social work school, and the office where I used to work before I was transferred. Maybe it's me. What am I doing wrong?

The latest on my landlady: she called on Monday to ask me if I want another apartment in the building. This after her attorney sent me a letter demanding I pay the rent "arrears" (money I deducted for the days I couldn't stay in the apartment due to the rats) and blaming me for the rat infestation because I allegedly hoard garbage in the apartment. Which isn't true. I would never claim that the apartment is immaculate, but it's not a breeding and socializing ground for rodents.

So I sent her this email:

Thank you for calling and offering me another apartment at the same rent and under the same lease conditions.

On the advice of my attorney, however, I must reiterate that I refuse to pay the $764.15 you and your attorney have termed "rent arrears.” I withheld a very reasonable amount of money to cover the time when the apartment was uninhabitable. I would have been justified had I chosen to move into a hotel during October and November 2009 or April 2010, instead of trying not to incur excessive costs by staying with friends—which led to great stress and inconvenience for me.

When I initially reported seeing another rat on April 7, 2010, you told me that I needed to let the exterminator into my apartment and all you were required to do was give me his phone number. This is not true. When I spoke with the Department of Health and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, they clearly stated that the landlord is obligated to provide a rodent-free environment. The landlord cannot compel me to take time off work and lose income in order for the rodent infestation to be dealt with.

The Department of Health did not attribute the rat infestation to what your attorney terms the “dirty and unsanitary condition” of my apartment. (I have requested a copy of the May 5, 2010 inspection report and attach a copy of their response; the report itself is forthcoming.) I am not “storing unsealed food items on the counter top of [my] kitchen” and I have not “allowed garbage and junk to accumulate throughout the apartment.” In October 2009, after the rat infestation began, I cleaned out accumulated books, papers, and other dry non-food materials from the apartment, but there was never any “junk, trash and garbage” that would have attracted rodents.

I object to your attorney's characterization of my apartment as being in violation of my lease, and the characterization of my behavior as being “in an objectionable manner.” The kitchen and bathroom are not creating the conditions that attracted the rodents. Since my apartment is directly above the garbage cans and my windows were open the night they entered my apartment, they were able to chew through the screens and gain access.

In summary: I am willing to move into the new apartment at the same base rent and under the same lease conditions, but I refuse to pay what you and your attorney term “rent arrears.”

I met with attorneys from the Department of Housing Preservation, which regulates rent-stabilized apartment buildings, and followed their advice concerning how to phrase things (the quotes are taken from her attorney's letter to me) and what my rights are (not to pay rent for days when I could not inhabit the apartment because the rats were). She responded:

I am willing to waive the rent arrears of $764.15 ...we will sign a lease over the weekend... you will be given one week to move into the new apt..... Leave all garbage and unwanted items and unwanted food in apt 3B. CHECK ANY BOXES OR BAGS BEFORE YOU BRING INTO NEW APT. Pay your rent for your current apartment for June.

Right now I'm a little too upset to respond. A week to move? I work! I haven't packed anything! I forwarded the email to JV to get his take on it, but if anyone else has a suggestion, I'm all ears.

Just got an email from another co-worker -- one at the site where I used to work. I'm the dual diagnosis program coordinator for all of our Brooklyn clients, and one of my responsibilities is scheduling appointments with the psychiatrist.

I used to schedule the appointments before counselors in the other office sent in a referral form with basic background information on the client (demographics, treatment history, past and current substance use, etc.). Without that the psychiatrist is doing a blind evaluation and doesn't know what to look for and what to ask. If someone seems paranoid, is that because he's got schizophrenia or becuase he's currently using cocaine and/or marijuana?

I created what I thought was a very simple form for the other office to use. But they weren't using it, and the psychiatrist couldn't do a good evaluation (she has the chart for clients from our office, but not the others). So I stopped making appointments for them until I actually got the referral form. Which meant some unpleasant phone calls: "No, I'm sorry, I can't schedule the appointment until I get the form from you."

Today I received one in my inbox, with the following message:

Hey Ayelet: I hope that you are doing well, and have a smile on your face. Stay as nice as you are.

I can't tell if she's being serious because last month I complimented her for completing the form so thoroughly and sending it to me so quickly, or if she's walking on eggshells.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"