Monday, January 02, 2012

High Maintenance

Yesterday morning, New Year's Day, I was rudely awakened - by complete and utter silence - well before I should have had my eyes open.

It may seem strange that I should be awakened by silence but, technically, it wasn't the silence that woke me. It was the winding down of the fan I keep running 24/7 for white noise that brought me swimming up toward consciousness.

It only took me a moment to realize it wasn't just a dying fan motor. We'd lost power.

Which, in my bleary-eyed state, didn't compute given that I could see from my bed the glow of overhead kitchen lights, signifying both power to the kitchen and the awake state of Lex.

I fumbled for eyeglasses, pulled on pajama pants, and stumbled out to the middle of the kitchen.

No comprende.

"Um...could please come help me?

Pointing toward my room, I mumbled, "Um, no power there. Here, there's power. No power in there."

He investigated thoroughly and then nodded, "Right. No power."

I blinked at him blankly.

Luckily, he'd already brewed the coffee and had ingested some so his ability to make deductions and draw conclusions was far beyond mine.

I sat down on the couch in the living room and watched him as he systematically made the rounds, room to room, until he'd confirmed we'd lost power in the entire front half of the house save the bathroom.

I fixed myself a cup of coffee and went back and sat on the couch.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

He said, "Huh. Well, I'll run upstairs and see if Abram's got power."

"Great! Good idea. I'll wait here."

He went through the front door, closed it, and in 10 seconds was back through it in a flash.

"You need to call maintenance. There's a leak and flood in the laundry room. Power's out in there too. It looks bad. I'll go tell Abram."

Blink. Blink. Blink.

No comprende.

I went out to look in the laundry myself. Yep. That seems to be water on the floor. Yep. That's definitely the sound of water spraying from a pipe in the ceiling.

OK! I started to understand the gravity of the situation.

A) There was a burst hot water pipe, B) there was a leak, C) there was no power to the laundry room or the front half of our home, D) it was New Year's Day. *sigh*

So...I called the emergency maintenance number. No answer, of course. Only a stern message warning me not to even think about leaving a message unless this was a true, unavoidable emergency maintenance problem, the resolution of which could not be delayed until business hours. Then I was assured a prompt return call.

Burst hot water pipe, leak, possible related power outage...seemed like a reasonable problem about which to leave a message. Yeah?

So I did.

That was at 9:53.

Lex returned from upstairs. He'd passed along the message about the leak to Abram's obviously half-asleep (and possibly naked) roommate who finally poked one eye and half his nose out the door at Lex's persistent, insistent knocking.

We checked our water pressure. We checked both cold and hot water. Both pressure and temperature were working as they should. The power outage was a relatively minor inconvenience and only for me once Lex got the wireless router moved from an electricity-devoid zone and into a position of power (heh). Our main concern was that leak. And we were pretty worried about it.

By 10:30, there had not been a return call so I called again and left another, longer, more detailed message regarding the problem. I specifically stated, "Please call me to acknowledge receipt of this message asap."

11 a.m., still no return call. Lex went back upstairs to find an awake Abram who was unaware of any problem. He came down, surveyed the chaos, and promptly went to call the property management company's owner on his private number.

Sweet! Handled. I went off to the grocery store.

I returned about an hour or so later. The leak had been stopped. The laundry room was still dark. There appeared to be no one about still working. Problem solved?

Lex was unaware that anyone had worked on the leak. Still no power. To make matters worse, he informed me, he'd just washed all the dishes in cold water. Seems we'd lost hot water now too.

By then, it was well afternoon, I'd not had a shower, nor had I gotten a chance to do any of the several hours' worth of writing I'd intended for the day. I called Acr0nym. I was instructed to come up to his house - what we're now referring to as The Grotto North.

I packed up a few belongings and my laptop, explained what I was doing to Lex who was cool getting some Naked Lex time before his date later in the night, and went about my merry way - but not before Lex and I stopped back by Abram's to try and get a repair update.

When we told Abram we were still without power and now had no hot water, he got back on the phone. I figured it was all under control and went traipsing out, happy to have gotten a productive start to the day (since I couldn't get on the computer, we picked up the house a bit, got the trash and recycling taken out, swept up the back steps, and done the week's grocery shopping), and glad to have a fabulous second (non)husband I was going to get to spend the rest of the day and night with.

Poor Lex.

I talked with him about 6 p.m. The power had finally been restored but there was still no hot water and he was furiously boiling water in every large pot and kettle we had in order to be able to fill a bath to a somewhat tolerable temperature so he wouldn't smell on this first date.

At least maintenance had been back and seemed to still be trying to figure out why we had no hot water.

I spent the night at Acr0's where we threw an impromptu, scrumptious supper party to greet the New Year in style, laughed late into the night, and then slept soundly.

NY strip steak covered in Acr0's homemade compound bleu cheese and herb butter and then grilled to perfection, broiled asparagus in olive oil and balsamic, french baguette, and homemade sorbet for dessert followed by homemade limoncello.

When I got home this afternoon, Lex was in a Very. Bad. Mood. We had hot water, we had power, the laundry room appeared to be functioning. I thought perhaps he was angry with me for leaving for greener pastures overnight while he had to boil his own bath water, but knew not to jump to conclusions or press for information. I knew, from experience, to wait until he was ready to talk.

It didn't take long.

What it boiled down to is that it took us 2 initial phone calls - which still have yet to be returned - from me, 2 phone calls from Abram, 3 e-mails from Lex to the maintenance e-mail address, and 2 additional phone calls on Lex's part throughout the rest of the evening to get this issue completely resolved.

Then Lex, because he was feeling grateful for the extra effort on a holiday, sent a lovely and gracious e-mail to say thank you for resolving the problems so quickly.

In response? He got a rather snide e-mail from our property management company implying we'd been alarmist by suggesting there was a "MAJOR" leak when it was just a pin hole leak that had been easily fixed and there was "no evidence to suggest a major leak or flooding". There was no mention of the power outage or the loss of hot water. Never mind that it was our onsite manager who made the decision to call the property management company's owner when he understood the scope of the flooding. The whole tone of the e-mail was rather rude and thankless - as though we had cried Wolf...

As though we were terrible people.

When I read the e-mail, I was seething mad.

I raised my right eyebrow and simply stated, "Let me handle this."

I sat right down and wrote the most politely scathing e-mail in my arsenal. Polite because it won't accomplish anything good to threaten or come across angry and I certainly don't do passive-aggressive (at least, consciously). Scathing was appropriate though as we were both inflicted with steam coming out of our ears. It was quite well written, if I do say so myself. I'd post it here but I'm apparently longwinded when I'm being politely scathing and I don't want to get any tl:dr comments - especially since this is longer than it should be.

And then?

Then, I took several deep, cleansing breaths, took a hot shower (thank you for fixing our hot water, Maintenance People), ate a huge salad, drank two cups of Sleepy Time tea, and let it go.

So...that's where I was yesterday. That's why I got even further behind on reading about the comings and goings of my blog community. It's why I was late posting my year-end wrap ups and it's why I have yet to greet the New Year in writing with the joy I've got in my heart.

Joy I continue to have in spite of this pittance of a snag.

I had a great time yesterday and I got a lot accomplished outside of writing! Plus, I got to spend the evening with Acr0nym, Bomb Betsy, Spux, Kelli, and Jive Turkey. Who WOULDN'T want to spend the first day of a new year surrounded by awesome people? Even if it meant you were the unshowered one?

2012, two days in, is still shaping up to be a wonderful year!


cdnkaro said...

Glad to hear it was all resolved and the glitch didn't dampen your spirits! Also, I find writing politely scathing emails very therapeutic.

Anonymous said...

Since when is a leak--any leak--not worthy of immediate attention by maintenance? Jackwagons.

Lucy said...

Sometimes you can't win for losing! I guess they wanted you to wait until the pinhole became what? A MASSIVE hole and then a shitload of water damage? Listen, a leak is always and I mean always a concern, anyone with half a brain Knows such information and if you let a leak go it only grows, so they would have paid either way? Either Holiday pay or FIXING major damages from allowing the LEAK to EXPAND. MORONS!!!!
Oh, I would love to have read your email and I am glad you enjoyed your day!!!

Jenn and Casey said...

Oh man! Sorry for such a rough start, but glad you were able to turn it around! Happy 2012!

Gaelyn said...

Your "upness" even with all this is an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh! If it's not one things it's always another. But I am glad you didn't let it ruin your whole day, Jane. I think I can learn a few lessons from you! :)


alienbody said...

Some people could use a good sporking, repeatedly. But, the good person you took the high road.

I'm wishing you many, many happy minutes, hours, days, weeks and months in the coming year.

The Host said...

I have a tremendous amount of respect for your restraint. I'm not sure I could have done the same, and likely wouldn't have been able to resist an eff bomb. Or 12.

Masked Mom said...

Adventures in renting--ain't it the best? The apartment next door to us years ago had been empty in the winter and the landlord had never shut off the water so consequently the pipes froze and when they thawed there was a Niagara Falls level leak in the shared basement. I called the landlord and his wife said she would try to get a hold of him, but he was at work and wasn't sure when he would be able to get there. Trying to be helpful, I went into the basement, which already had six inches of standing water and counting, and shut off the water at the main (because I was unable to find the specific valve to the other apartment). I then called the landlord's wife back and told her that it was off so he could wait until after work to come over. BIG MISTAKE! He waited FOUR days to come. FOUR days in which we were without water with FOUR kids. Each phone call we were assured he would get there as soon as possible. The kicker part? The landlord only lived two doors down from us.