Tuesday, February 08, 2011


The craziness of the beginning of last week continued unabated.

First it was supercrazycold and I lost two days of work because I had to stay home with the kids.  Two days of needed time to work on a huge project that's due next week.  But knowing what the weather report was, I was confident that I'd get to work the next day, and if I worked late Thursday and Friday and at least part of Saturday, I'd still be in OK shape to get a draft to my boss by the end of the day Monday (yesterday).

Then our pipes out in the laundry room froze Wednesday night and burst in the -15 degree air.  Poor J, who has been getting up at 3:30 to get to work on time at a job in Fort Collins, went downstairs to check on something and heard the water gushing all over the laundry and then down into the cellar below.

He found the shut-off valve for the house and I made an appointment for the next morning.  The plumber came and fixed everything and was out of the house by 10.  But that still killed my morning on Thursday.

I worked late Thursday night and felt like I had been really productive, making up for lost time.  I felt good about getting the bulk of the main section of the document finished if I worked late Friday night.

But when I went into work on Friday and opened up the document, all of Thursday's revisions -- a solid 9 1/2 hours' worth of work -- were gone.  Vanished into thin air.  Nowhere to be found.  I called our admin people, I called tech support, but it was no use.

I could have cried.  I wanted to.  But I didn't really feel like I had time.  So I sat down and rewrote what I had done the day before.  And then kept going until about 8:00, when my head was feeling fuzzy and I was losing my ability to think clearly.

So I went to catch my bus and went home.

The kids were still up when I got home.  There was a big love-fest when I walked in the door.  And then I realized how cold it was in the house.  There was no hot water, the furnace was blowing cold air, and the oven and stove didn't work.

Long story short, the owner of the house before us -- or, more accurately, his executor, since the owner is dead and we bought the house from the estate -- sat with us at closing and told us that he had switched all the utilities over to our name.  Except that he didn't do it, so all this time the power/gas company has been under the assumption that the house has been vacant.  And Friday night, in the middle of a major cold spell, was when they decided to shut off the gas.*

The representative I talked to set up a new account and told me that I could pay an extra $40 to get the service reconnected within 12 hours, but that it could literally be any time withing the next 12 hours from the time I called, which was 8:45 at night.  Like, even at 3 in the morning, if that was when my number came up. We had already decided we would stay the night in a hotel because I didn't want the kids to spend the night in the cold house, but the customer service guy assured me that the technician would call before he came.  

So we left the house at about 9:15 and checked into the Crown Plaza downtown.  I kept my phone glued to my hip, waiting for the gas company guy to come.  The kids were a little hyper and excited, but we finally got them to calm down and go to sleep.

But I was so paranoid about missing the call that I didn't sleep.  I tossed and turned and got in some cat-naps between 5 and 7.

We got up, ordered some breakfast and the kids had a bath.  I called the gas company to find out the status of our service call.

And was told by the lady I talked to that the 12-hour-emergency-reconnect service wasn't a service that was offered on the weekend.  I managed to keep my cool while still letting her know that the information she was giving me was totally inconsistent with the information I had previously received.  She said that it was possible that the guy could still make it out this weekend, after making any emergency calls that might come up.  But there was no way of checking the status.

"There isn't a dispatch number I can call or something?"

"No, ma'am."

"So you're telling me that once a service order is placed, it just falls into a black hole and there isn't anybody on the planet that you or I or anyone else can contact to determine its status?"

"That's right."

I called my cousin to ask if J and the kids could come and hang out for the day, because I needed to go to the office.  We packed up and went home.

To discover a note on our front door from the gas company, claiming they had missed us.  At 9 o'clock the night before.  When we were still home.

It's a miracle my head didn't explode.  Again I called the gas company, again I was given a different story by the rep.

"You know, you guys really need to get your stories straight.  This whole event has been frustrating enough, but the fact that every time I call I get information has made it much more difficult."

"Well, ma'am, it's a really big company.  We have a huge service area."

"What, so you're telling me that because you're a big company with a big service area, it's OK for the customer service reps to not know what they're talking about?"

He checked himself.  "No, you're right.  I'm sorry I said that."

"OK, good.  Now let's get this problem solved."

And it was within a couple of hours.  So I went to work and wrote for another 6 hours.  Then went home and cleaned and hung out with the kids.

The next day, we were having people over to watch the game (yay, Packers!). J had all kinds of electrical work to do for the bathroom renovation, so I tried to clean while looking after the kids.  Then we cooked.  Then we had friends over, which was great.  Then we collapsed.

I'm realizing how much easier things were when J was home, whether recovering from his surgery or when he was out of work.  It was about 4 months of having someone at home to take care of shit.  Now we're both constantly run ragged, exhausted, incapable of getting on top of life's tasks.  Things are fine, but man, I'm frazzled.

My mom and Emma are coming to visit at the end of the month.  I put in to take 2 days off of work to spend extra time with them, and to just relax a little bit.  I can't wait.

In the meantime, it's moments like this that get me through:

I swear on a stack of first edition Green Eggs and Ham that I did not stage this.

*For unknown reasons, the power is still on, and the guy I talked to assured me that it won't be shut off over the weekend and that I can call the billing center this week and everything will be fine.  Yeah, I don't get it either.


  1. Oh, that sucks so much! That kind of runaround is especially infuriating, since you're at their mercy.

    Hope things calm down a little for you, very soon..

  2. Oh shit I feel frazzled just reading that!

    You are a rockstar for not going absolutely insane. Hope you get to relax before the 2 days off at the end of the month!

  3. Suz -- being at their mercy is the hardest part. So frustrating!

    FVM -- thank you! Once I get this project finished, things should calm down, but those two days at the end of February will be bliss. Skiing, massage, sleep. Aaaaaah!