Friday, February 16, 2007

When Life Hands Me Lemons... I Take Pictures

I know these are a little late — they were taken Super Bowl Sunday, or in the days following. But I also realize that when you talk about craziness, a photo or two can go a long way to back up your story.

So allow me to explain:

When I returned from a 24-hour roadtrip Sunday afternoon, my apartment was chilly, to say the least. I was cold even with a sweater on.

Please note, this thermometer is right above my radiator. Also note, this wasn't the first time it had dipped so low.

But I was thirsty — I'd just come in from a roadtrip, remember. So first things first: let's get some water...

...or not. It's on. I promise. It's just that I live in a parallel universe where water isn't just clear... it's invisible. That, or the pipes are frozen. You take a guess.

So I contacted management Sunday evening. They arrived Tuesday morning and tried heating the pipes under my sink. I was told that one neighbor's pipes were also frozen, and that the pipes in the basement leading to our respective units were in a similar state.

I should add that, in addition to their own space heater, maintenance borrowed mine to try and better the situation.

And though those pipes "thawed," nothing seemed to get the water back on.

"We'll have to wait until the pipes in the basement thaw. That should fix it."

Later that afternoon, I received an e-mail from the office telling me the pipes in the wall under my cabinet were ALSO frozen, and there's "nothing we can do with this crazy weather."

The next morning (Wednesday) I was leaving for work when the maintenance guy pulled in asking to look at my pipes (tee hee!). They wanted to try the space heater option again, this time leaving it on ALL DAY in a tiny confined space.

But I was so preoccupied with what to do with Maude for the day (she eats stuff that's left on the floor, remember), that I didn't even think to say to the maintenance guy: "Hey, don't you think that's a fire hazard. I mean, all of my FLAMMABLE cleaning supplies are under there."

But I saw he had shoved them all to the side, so everything was fine, right?


All it took was my boss saying "Hey, isn't that a fire hazard?" for me to say "You know, I think that's a fire hazard."

I tried calling managment to ask them what they thought and/or to see if they could check back in (otherwise, they wouldn't return until the end of the day), but they didn't call me back.

So my boss gave me the nod to take a long lunch break so I could drive home and remove everything from under the cabinet.

Including, yes, lamp oil. When I picked up the smoking hot bottle and read the "WARNING: KEEP AWAY FROM ALL SOURCES OF HEAT" disclaimer, I was glad I'd made the long trip home.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture until after I removed everything (expect for the lamp that said oil went into). But at least you can see how confined the space is. Now imagine it with about a dozen bottles of 409 and other 409-type products, some of them aerosal.

Here's where the story takes a turn for the better.

Well. Sort of.

You see, when I walked into the kitchen, a small stream of water under high pressure was spraying all over the countertop, and onto the floor.

So — alas — there's hope!

Please ignore the lime deposits. Try as I might, they seem to be there forever.

While I tried to figure out how to redirect the stream, the maintenance guy stopped by. As I later found out, management had received my message... they were just a tad slow to respond. So they sent maintenance back to check in (by this point, it was around 1).

So... cool. They stopped back in. But I'm a bit of a clean freak (don't judge me by the contents of my kitchen cabinet), but this guy tracked in every variety, shade and color of mud, snow and slush. He had done this Tuesday as well. One day, fine. I'll deal with it. But two days in a row when it's so very easy to clean off your shoes in my entryway (he didn't even try to knock the mudd from the bottom)?

Let's just say I was a tad irritated.

This is after I wiped up the "bad spots" with a paper towel (Maude — genius cat that she is — was licking them, so I had to act fast on the piles), but before I got to mop.

But, hey, at least my water is running now....

Talk about things we take for granted.


Matt said...

I have a masters degree in journalism and I have to say that was the most exhaustively chronicled tale of frozen pipes I've ever seen.

A quote from the maintenance guy would have been nice but otherwise good show.

disgruntled world citizen said...

Good thing Maude has a furry coat, huh? Don't want her to get a cold.

Glencross said...

Nice bit of photo-journalism - I almost feel like I was there. Had to convert the temperature to centigrade though - 12C!!! - you poor thing - that is not what I would call an 'indoor' temperature.

You're right though, it does make you appreciate the basics - just think of the giddy pleasures to come when you get a place where heat comes out of heaters and water flows out of taps (faucets ?)

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Matt: If there's one adjective to describe me, it's exhausting.

Errr. I mean. "Exhaustive."

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

PS - There is a quote from the maintenance guy in there, I just forgot to add the appropriate "said the maintenance man" line.

Note to self: revise #423 apartment woes story.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Glencross: Yep, it's pathetically below room temperature. Can't wait to get a place where I control the heat! I never realized how priveleged I was to have that option in the past.