Friday, September 28, 2007

The Scrab, part 2, and Water Woes

Glen and my brother-in-law, Rich, finished up the heavy work on the backyard patio on Wednesday night. It's still a little messy out there: things need to be put away and/or returned to their proper spots. We need to do a good sweeping, but we figured we'd see how the dust (literally) settles after the rain, which should come today (right??). A couple of my friends asked to see pictures, so I went outside last night to snap a couple of shots, and discovered this:

Hardscrabble moved to the top of the box immediately after I discovered him lounging around in his little fun house. And he didn't mind posing for me, so I snapped about 20 pictures of him. I don't want to risk alienating the cat-haters from my blog, so I will only post one more picture of him (today):

We don't really need another cat, even though this one is totally awesome. If you need a cat, or know someone who does, let me know.

In other news, on Wednesday (9/27), we received what we thought to be a bill in the mail from Trenton Water Works. Glen asked me not to open it because we can only pay them the old-fashioned way: by putting the check in the mail, using their supplied return envelope; and Glen says that the return envelope tends to get separated from the bill, and well, that's a drag. He was busy making our backyard gorgeous on Wednesday, so he figured he'd open it on Thursday (last night).

Late yesterday afternoon, we noticed the water pressure was gone, and could only get a bit more than a trickle to come out of the tap, and so we promptly thought of the unopened note from the Water Works. In it was a shut-off notice (!!), effective 9/27 (nice to get one day's notice), and — get this — a bill for nearly $4,000. Normally, our bill runs around $100 a quarter. I tend to be an optimist, and know that things do generally work out, so usually, I would find a $4,000 bill for three months worth of water usage to be really damn funny. Funny, because there are just two of us here, and we pay our bills; in fact, Glen dug out all of the evidence; and even if we let all of the taps run nonstop since our last bill (July), we probably wouldn't have used $4,000 worth of water. That's A LOT of water! But wow, it sucks to not be able to flush the toilet, or do the dishes, or shower, and to see on the notice that Water Works is clearly closed for the day, is kind of scary. And so is their disclaimer that maybe they won't be able to turn the water on again right away.

So, we didn't get much sleep last night. Glen kept saying, "Those fuckers better turn our water back on tomorrow morning," and "How the fuck can they send a $4,000 bill to a residence, with a shut off notice, effective the next day?" and "Do you think City Hall did this to us in retaliation for the blog?"

He works for a company with a gym on site, so he showered at work this morning, and then called the Water Department. Around the same time, I noticed a municipal van drive by with a little cartoon-y water droplet on it, and figured we were good to go. And we were. Water is restored. Hallelujah.

Glen called a few minutes later to tell me that he spent about a half hour on the phone with Water Works, with over 10 of those minutes on hold, and spoke to at least two different people, who not only showed no surprise or remorse for the $4,000 error, but told him we wouldn't have water until about 3 today (glad, in addition to their lack of manners, they're wrong about that, too). He said they did acknowledge that there was a mistake, and they'd look into it, and get back to Glen. So, we'll see about that, and we'll be back with an update.

I wonder who got our bill?


Anonymous said...

Chrissy, It is a shame what happened to you with the water department. How could that bill go out. Didn't anything set an alarm bell off? $4,000 for a residential water bill? Why isn't somebody there 24 hours to take care of problems like yours? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Chrissy....This is unfortunately quite typical for the billing departments of our local bureaucracies. A friend of mine who lives in a row house in the "burg got a property tax bill for over $25,000 ( or reasonably close ridiculous amount). When she called City Hall, the said she was listed has having 40 acres of farm property (this on Chambers St.). Despite the fact that she pointed out that she didn't own half of Trenton, nor was she supplying produce to the South Ward, she had to pay for an inspector to come to her row house and do a walk through to prove the bill was wrong. Bureaucrats, as a rule, only believe the paper in front of them and are not in a culture that allows any indpendent thought, obvious or not. Here's hoping your landscaping survives the dry weather . Mine is just holding on. The guy by the canal