It’s (Our) Only Money
In my last post, I mentioned in passing that recent weeks have seen more than their share of things breaking. Naturally, the time has come to elaborate, because I can hear the clamoring for details. Unless that’s just the refrigerator again.
It started quite a while ago, actually, but we didn’t notice anything awry until last month. That’s when the water softening system sprang a leak. We couldn’t get it fixed immediately, so we had no choice but to bypass it, and got a taste of the good old days, when all water tasted like dust. And let’s not forget the attractive white buildup of caked mineral matter on everything. When the service company finally deigned to do its job, we had to lay out a small fortune for a piece of proprietary plastic.
Then we noticed some dripping in one of the bathrooms. Turns out the air conditioner compressor, which lives in the ceiling above said facilities, was malfunctioning. That helped explain why, on a hot day, it seemed to be humidifying the air. With no time to attend to the matter before a trip overseas, we simply made a note to get it serviced upon our return.
The air conditioning troubles remained with us during our trip however, as I noted in a previous entry: the a/c in the behemoth of an SUV we used decided to crap out the day after we got it. Just like home, only using a higher grade of gasoline.
We got back home and noticed a shiny new water meter that the city had installed. That was nice of them, but their fiddling with the connecting pipe had caused a small leak – on our side of the meter, of course, for which, technically, we are responsible. My wife spent a frustrating half hour on the phone with them, in the process discovering that the meter’s serial number corresponds not to the one installed on our house, but one installed in a completely different part of the city last year sometime, and they have no record of our meter replacement, not since its installation in 2004. It took some forceful insistence to get the jobsworth at the other end of the line to recognize that they might want to send someone to get this situation checked out in person, considering that every other meter on the street was also replaced in the last few weeks, replacements that the city does have on record. In the meantime, we attempted to tighten the connection ourselves, and you can guess the result. Instead of crummy-tasting water, this time we were forced to get by with no water, until a friend came by with a pipe wrench and improved the situation.
I just realized I saw the meter reader go by this morning. If in fact they have no record of a meter replacement, the obscenely low reading for this month will mean they owe us money! Lots of it! Hold on while I share this revelation with my wife!
Right. They’ll more likely accuse us of tampering. This is going to be fun.
The fun, as you recall, was in full swing before our trip. But before we had a chance to call the air conditioner people (and finding ones who would answer the phone proved a trip in itself), we discovered that the unit upstairs, as well, wanted in on the fun. Drip. Drip. Drip. Dridripdripdripdripdrip…
Apparently, the water accumulates because the system has no (freon? do they still use freon?) gas left, or very little, and by whatever magic is involved, this results in lots of ice, which melts in the heat, disrupts proper functioning and drips wherever. Oh, and in checking on the other units, we discovered that the receptor for the remote control on one of them refuses to recognize any function other than “heat.”
We have an external cabinet that houses the gas balloons for our oven and stovetop (no integral gas lines in these parts), and it seems to be disconnecting from the house – or at least one part of it does, causing one door of the cabinet not to align properly with the other, and the padlock therefore can’t be inserted.
And just two days ago we discovered that the fridge barely works. We shall be forced to make milkshakes of the Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, as it somewhat thawed and then refroze upon transfer to another freezer. ‘Twill be icy (lemons and lemonade are sooo not the right metaphor for us).
Our mantra for the last month has been, “It’s only money.” I hereby open the floor to suggestions for a new mantra when we run out of money.