Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Water way to go

This is a vent.

This is only a vent.

If this had been a real blog post, you would have been notified. Please remain calm.

This is only a vent.

Okay, so here’s the thing. For the past couple months, the city has been digging up my street so I’ll be forced to walk to work they can put in a new water pipe. A couple weeks ago, they dug a hole in my lawn, bless their hearts, and exposed three or four feet of my water pipe. According to a contractor, some plumber is going to come by, temporarily turn off the water, then turn it back on again and go away.

Note the big black tarp, next to the open hole.
The tarp is covering up a pile of dug-up lawn rather than the exposed water pipe.

Meanwhile, autumn has been progressing to the point where it’s getting down to freezing at night. This weekend, it’s supposed to get down into the 20s, and only get above freezing during the day. So I call the water department to ask what I can do to keep the pipe from freezing.

Me: [Having repeated the above to an official of the Water Department] So, I was wondering what I can do to insulate the pipe so it doesn’t break.

Official: Well, I’m not responsible if the water pipe breaks.

Me: I wasn’t blaming you; I was trying to find what I could do to insulate the pipe.

Off: The contractors insulated the pipe.

Me: Well, no, actually they didn’t.

Off: I drove down that street the other day, and they’d covered the holes on the two houses next to the construction.

Me: My house is one of those two, and it’s not been covered. What can I do to stop the pipe from freezing?

Off: If you go near the hole it could be a liability issue. You know, we’re not responsible for the construction. The contractors had subcontracted to subcontractors. And the last time I went down that street, I saw that the four or five houses near the construction had the holes covered up.

[If he’d repeated that another time, it probably would have been the ten or twenty houses nearest the construction.]

Me: So, what can I do to make sure my pipe doesn’t break?

Off: You should talk to the contractor. It's not our responsibility. But you know, if the pipe breaks, we’ll fix it. Call the non-emergency number. Do you know what that is?

Me: Yes, it's the number that I just called to talk to you.

Bless all beady-eyed sue-phobic bureaucrats and their blame-shifty behavior. Stop something from becoming a problem? Not a chance. And if the pipe does break, they’ll probably ‘apologize for the inconvenience.’

Actually, it does have a funny side. This guy was so busy telling me that it wasn't his fault/responsibility/problem, it's a safe inference that he was very well accustomed to people yelling over the phone at him. I might well be the only person in the history of the Hillsboro Water Department to have called up asking for advice rather than yelling about a problem. What a distinction!

Exercise du jour: Couch to 5k Week 2 Day 2 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Plus, a trip to Home Depot to ask their advice about insulating a water pipe without getting down into the hole.

Update du 9:15 am -- I saw little elves guys in orange hard hats come by my lawn this morning. Went out to look, and what to my wondering eyes did appear? A piece of plastic covering one of the water pipes. Wow. Asking (no, not yelling) for advice seems to have done something. Hope it helps. It's 27 degrees out right now.

Update du 9:56 am -- Now a guy in a bulldozer came by with a big heavy piece of something that he threw down over the hole. He kinda glared at me. Should I feel bad for worrying about the water pipe? Honest, guys, if I were trying to be a bitch about this, I would've been a lot crankier. (Yes, I can get crankier.)

Update du 8:08 pm: Okay, it may look like I haven't done my jog/walk for the day, but that's only because you're extremely perceptive. I really don't want to work out tonight.
It's late...
I just got home...
I'm tired...
All true but not good enough to excuse me. Would be nice if somehow I could find a surrogate to run for me.
Yes, I am writing this all down and posting it up here so you can all see how whiny I am I will feel compelled to get up and go out there and Do The Exercise already.
Done! Not a great workout, I was too tired, but a done run is better than none when you weigh a ton, honey bun. (Okay, I know. I'm sorry. I really am very tired.)


McB said...

Okay, this is only funny because for once it's happening to someone else. Usually I'm the one getting these people who are missing a connection.

Merry said...

And to think that I once thought a gubbermint job would be a nice safe way to go. Bah. I'd go nut working there. And then I'd sue 'em.

JavaChick said...

I feel bad, but I was kind of giggling by then end when you mentioned the guy throwing something down in the hole and glaring at you. You would think that they would rather keep the pipe from freezing than have to come and fix it. Then again, maybe they were really hoping for something interesting to do. Like fixing a frozen pipe.

I had the same kind of workout last night - short, and I felt kinda wimpy, but I figured it was better than no workout.