Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crappy Cowboys

Happy all year round, she's never once given us so much as one spot of bother. Reliable, loyal and trustworthy, I felt our central heating system had well and truly earned her annual service. so I duly trawled through the phone-book and called out a professional. (Yes, I know, I'm trusting and naive, okay? Um, alright, well maybe that's a wee bit of a stretch, but all the same you get my gist.)

The following week my much valued and hardworking friend had her private parts thoroughly tickled and tinkered with, was awarded a clean bill of health, and duly received her royal stamp of approval. All bright, shining and sound, I looked forward to yet another trouble-free year of steamy hot water and warmth on demand.

Yeah, right.

The very next day she only goes belly-up and has herself a nervous breakdown, doesn't she?

With a nagging mis-giving, I call the (now seemingly less than professional) Fix-it-Man back in again.

It being a Saturday, he decides to arrive complete with his two kids and a loopy dog in tow, the latter of whom promptly shits in my garden, a fact I am blissfully unaware of at this present point.

As Mr. (allegedly) Professional takes off to pay his respects to the boiler, I herd his brood over to the kitchen with the promise of juice. Simply placing the stench down to a rather unfortunate hygiene problem, I never even guess there's a trail of fresh poo tracking through my carpets. It's not until the eldest kid skids across the the kitchen floorboards that my eyes catch on to the smear of crap left in his wake.

Oh, for the love of God - ugh, ugh and double ugh!.

A quarter of an hour or so later, Mr. Professional (A.K.A. Dad-of-the-Poopy-Kid) pops his head back round the door to announce, "It's your pump that needs replacing."

Funny how he missed picking up on that on only on the day before, eh?. Still, being a tad distracted, seeing as how I was still endeavouring to scrape the icky-crap from off of his son's shoe (with his foot still so stubbornly attached) I grudgingly allow to let this pass, and tell him to just get on with it.

He sucks in his gums.

(You always know you're in trouble when they suck their gums.)

"I'll need to order it in."

Bloomin' brilliant.

It's Sunday tomorrow. I believe it's written into the by-law's or something, because apparently our island doesn't ever stock in any spare parts over here. The earliest (if he remembers to) he can place the order will be on Monday. Assuming this is shipped on the same day, (something experience tells me is highly unlikely) we're looking at an optimistic Tuesday at the very earliest before I can count on my nose and other extremities to defrost.

"I don't work Tuesday's, it's my day off."

(Why am I not surprised?)

Naturally, we have snow forecast for the evening, and it's the coldest day of the year. It's okay for hubby, he's off toasting himself in the cozy flat in London all week. As for my little darlings, well they at least have their snug, warm little classrooms to serve their detentions out in, don't they?

So we fast forward through to Wednesday..

It hardly inspires confidence when I see Mr. Professional has had to draft his mate in for a second opinion, especially since, before eleven, they both reek of beer. I offer them coffee, well I feel it's the least I can do.

The boiler being in the garage, I happily plan to ignore them until they get through.

Actually, in truth, I soon clean forgot all about them.

As luck would have it, this was also on the day of one of my children's school parents evenings. Being the only parent mug enough available to go, the honours fell to me to admit she was mine claim full credit for her behaviour. Beccy's parents evenings are generally terrifying interesting, I never thought I'd actually look forward to attending one, but on this occasion, the prospect of being severely depressed was largely outweighed by the hope of perhaps finding a working radiator to park my bum against.

Trouble was, I got so busy blog-surfing scrubbing the house from top to bottom, that before I knew it, it was already a quarter to seven. Argh, I just knew I should have warned my youngest to wrestle the laptop mop and bucket out of my hands by 6.30. Now I only had ten minutes left to transform myself from scruffy house-slob in to a posh, yummy-mummy.

Damn, damn, damn. I flew into my frock and grabbed my Bette Davis coat, not even stopping to pick up so much as a hairbrush en-route. (Don't worry, I do have a scrap pride still left, I ran a comb through my hair and applied a slap of make-up first before leaving).

Legging it to the car, I was caught up short - I couldn't believe these two guys were still playing about in my garage. Worse, their two transit vans were firmly boxing my Tardis in. Oh, for goodness sakes, as if I'm not late enough as it is!

Now, when I asked them to shove up a bit to let me out, I didn't expect them to take me literally. I am a wee bit spatially challenged in the reversing department, as anyone I've brushed against will attest to. I can just about get from A to B, but don't ask me to do anything fancy in between. Reversing my car uphill, around a corner and between a gap my very own thighs can barely squeeze through is simply not in my job spec.

"The Professionals" decided (after ten minutes of watching my manoeuvres, and peeing themselves laughing) to help me out. I happily hurled the keys at them, and slammed out to the drive. Give the boys their due, one buzzed the window down, and the other gave guidance. Irritatingly, they managed to somehow zoom the car towards the right direction in less than a nano-second.

Asking them not to disappear before giving my eldest an update as to where and in what state the boiler was left at, I grudgingly thanked them, and sped away.

It wasn't until I got to the roundabout and tried to put the driver's window back up, that I realised they'd only gone and bust the sodding control button on it. I tried and I tried, it was permanently stuck wide open. Oh joy. Did I tell you it's a twenty mile drive to my children's school? It's dark, freezing cold, windy and now it's starting to rain. My hair is being sucked outside and plastered to the roof by now.

Knew I should have brought a hairbrush.

I reckon most of Beccy's tutors decided to take it easy on the crazy-lady with the haystack hair-do and panda eyes, for fear I had come off the meds. Some parents even bumped me up ahead of them in the queue (maybe I should cultivate this look more often?).

Naturally, eldest daughter was mortified when she finally glimpsed me there. She was in the throes of pretending to be very engrossed in what the handsome, sixth form army recruiting cadet was explaining.

Not fooled (I've seen that look before), I scraped her off of him, and pointed her fifteen year old arse to the car.

All she did was moan and whine all the way home, about the gale force wind whipping around our ears. I didn't have the heart to tell her there was no central heating or hot water waiting at home.

Eldest boy met me at the door. "They think it's a valve."

"What happened to the pump?"

"You need to get dad to call them." He thrusts the back of his hand in my face, where he's scrawled a name and mobile number down.

"Didn't you tell them dad's in London?"

"Yeah, they still want to talk to him."

Hmph, charming. (As if hubby would know what they're talking about.) These guys are definitely not coming back.


Anonymous said...

Sorry you're having that kind of problem. Still, preventive maintenance is a wish procedure, despite what happened this time around.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Mushy on this one...I wonder if Fedex can get some mittens and a bum warmer to you before it actually gets fixed...:))

Fragrant Liar said...

You've had a rough go of it haven't you?

Of course, when my private parts are thoroughly tickled and tinkered with, I better damn well get what I've paid for the first time out! ;-)

Suldog said...

You have my sincerest sympathies, Shrinky. I so dread having repairmen come round, that I will put up with dripping faucets, leaky toilet valves, a phone that is plugged into the box outside on the wall of the house, a cellar that floods anytime we have more than two inches of rain... well, just about anything. As a matter of fact, those things I mentioned above are ongoing right now. And I am happier with those things than I would be if I had to deal with the repairmen.

tattytiara said...

I tore out three handfuls of hair just reading that. You poor thing!

Dave ~ said...

That is a story and a half.

Have you thought of giving them the ring around too? Start calling them up and sending them off to far flung locations where there's not a heating system to be seen?

You're right, that's juvenile, petty and won't get the system fixed any time soon.

But it's tempting isn't it.......


simon said...

if it aint broke....I had a lawn mower for well over 20 years...never had it serviced. I retired it before it stopped working. I bought a honda mower 2 years ago--- never serviced it either....

Shrinky said...

I'm with you, Fragrant (wink)!

Jim, my da was of the same mind-set, 'cept HE tended to "fix" everything himself (sigh), truly was an adventure living around our place..

Hey Tatty, nice to see you in here! Aw, it's only par for the course - no one died (yet.. but he's pushing it) (Evil

Dave, hmph, knowing my luck, he'd be married to the Telecom lady, and I'd only get busted! Tempting thought tho'..!

Simon, hubby is of the same mind set, but me? I just have to go and tinker, don't I? This'll teach me, eh?

Abby Annis said...

What a nightmare! Some weeks just seem to go like that. I hope things are going better soon.

Thanks for the stopping by my blog and for following! :)

Sling said...

I feel for ya kid.
The landlord has hired a couple fellas to remodel the bathroom,and they've been working on it for over a week,..two hours at a time!
I should be shaving out of the toilet by sunday.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I yiyi! I'd have lost my mind at the poopy kid! What a go of it you'd had. Finally I hope it's all fix and warm and back to normal for you.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I really appreciate it.

Have a good weekend,

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh nooooo, sounds rough... and I'm with Fragrant Liar too!

Shrinky said...

Hi Abby, oh, all is back to normal again, like you say, sometimes stuff happens, eh? Smile.

Oh Sling, the pain of being invaded, eh? Hope they clear off soon, leaving behind only prisine plumming and a sparkling sink!

Hello JJ, yeah, the poopy kid was sure the icing on top (grin)! It's all over with now, thank God (until next time, eh?). Hope you enjoy the weekend too hon, have fun!

Hi Eternally, hehe, Fragrant has a wonderful way with words, hasn't she? (wink).

TechnoBabe said...

See, here is what happened, never have something checked, maintenance, or looked at if it is working. I know the handymen of this world will spew their coffee at that, but that is the truth. I was laughing so much hubby wanted in on the funny stuff so I told him your story. Too too much.
I hope you got the car window fixed. I have to tell you I really like your picture with the cute hat and the big smile.

otin said...

You knew you were in trouble when he brought his kids and pet. I would not even have let him in!

Matty said...

Wow, talk about a day that goes from bad to worse. This snowball of problems just kept on rolling downhill and getting bigger. You have the patience of a saint.

Land of shimp said...

I suddenly feel much better about the hardwood flooring guys who, rather clearly, stole some painkillers while here. At least they did everything right, while evidently doped out of their minds.

Did they sabotage the darned thing while servicing it? Seriously, that's very...oddly timed.

Good for you on the parent/teacher conference. It pays to show up looking just a wee bit unhinged, evidently.

These must be the most ironic repairmen in history, as it seems they break almost all that they touch. Honestly, if a repair person showed up with children in tow here I might opt to live with the broken thing until such time as I could find one sans children. Sure, it happens and particularly on the weekends, but it's that he placed the kiddies in your care that alarmed me.

Poor you, that's quite the carry on. Might a second opinion be in order? Honestly, it's just so suspect that it stopped working the day after servicing, it's hard to escape the feeling that they broke it in the first place, and are now merrily fleecing you.

Stay warm...somehow...?

Chris H said...

I reckon there was nothing wrong with your boiler to start with! That man broke it deliberatly so he could come and charge you and arm, a leg and half ya left tit to 'fix' it!!!

billy pilgrim said...

i feel your pain. my boiler packed it in about a month after getting its annual servicing. the thermo coupler that was replaced a month earlier died. there is no warranty on those things so i had to pay the full shot again.

2 years ago the bloody thing got almost a total rebuild. next time it gets a bloody good thrashing.

Two Normal Moms said...

OH MY! I laughed myself silly reading that. What a nightmare for you! But you wrote it so well, I had to laugh. I hope they get you warmed up soon, though!
Thanks for stopping by our blog,

~Babs said...

OMG,,,you do have THE most interesting life, Shrinky!
(and lord, you write about it so well)
Hoping everything is toasty warm by now,,,,HATE having repairs done, HATE it!
Always get a kick out of hearing about your daughter,,,I so remember those days!

Shrinky said...

Aw TechnoBabe, that is sound advice I will firmly take on board, rest assured! Glad to report all is fine and well again, fingers crossed. Ha! That's my "dog-walking" hat, it's windy on the beach - smile.

otin, with hindsight, you are perfectly right of course, it didn't bode well, did it?

Um Matty, patience has never been my strong suit (blush), were you a fly on the wall you might revise your opinion (grin).

Hi shimp, are you serious?? They stole drugs??? Blimey! Ah well, at least the job did get done, eh? You must be relieved to have it all over and done with, it's such an intrusion having hordes of strangers tramping all over your house! I don't think this guy of mine had the intelligence to purposefully try to rip me off, he was just totally incompetent - but the end result was the same, he broke a perfectly sound and working boiler..grrrr.

Hey Chris, he's the loser in the long run, this is too small an island to get away with shananigan's like his - word gets around.

Haha, oh Billy, that brings to mind a John Cleese sketch, the one where he gets out and starts thrashing his broken down car with a tree-branch.. it didn't fix the problem, but it sure as hell made him feel better!

Hi Ally, how nice to see you in here - welcome aboard! Ah, stuff like this seems to happen with me a lot, I should be immune to it by now..

Hello Babs, I do seem to be a bit of walking disaster area, don't I? Ah, Beccy - the girl drives me demented, love her as I do, there are times I could happily choke her!

Skunkfeathers said...

Ah, the joys of apartment's the responsibility of the property management ;)

Of course, when things break on a Saturday night....*DOH*

Check ups, crap outs (mechanical and biological), last minute crisis 'pon crisis, stuck gots a movie script here. I won't let Seymour write it ;)

Realliveman said...

Sorry to hear this, shrinky. I hope you warm up and everything works out well. I hate being cold! Dang heating/AC repair people. They have their own time and it's slooooooow.

Fen said...

I think you should kick both the boiler thing and the guys. Damn lazy twats.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I love the part about "you know you are in trouble when they suck their gums" *LAUGHING*....

oh, but dang, poor girl and her innards troubles...

Land of shimp said...

I am serious, Shrinky. It's one of the weird things in life that I have a genetic predisposition towards a mild allergy to most painkillers. I passed it on to my son, and my husband is just someone who hates to take pills, period. I bring that up because when you've got a teen in the house, the natural question becomes, "Uh...are you sure it wasn't your son?" and yeah, pretty darned sure.

My son and I both become horribly nauseated from taking vicodin or percoset ...and we can only take either in pretty dire circumstances. We'll both also begin to itch. So it's absolutely no fun for either of us.

So my son was given a prescription for Vicodin following a dental procedure, but never took any...and the bottle sat in my medicine cabinet ...without a dent in the number for nearly a year.

The flooring guys replaced the floor in our master bathroom, and later that night as I was tidying up, I opened the medicine cabinet to put something away...and out fell the vicodin bottle....with a substantial number of pills missing.

It's just one of those weird things that when I was putting things away before they got there in the morning, I'd had to pick up the bottle...and had thought, "I probably should just throw these away." before replacing it on the shelf, and putting a bottle of moisturizer in front of it.

So yeah...who knew? If you have any prescription pain killers in your house, evidently you need to hide them if you're going to have workmen in.

They did a good job, by the way. I've no issue with the work they did.

Then, in a follow up to that, we had a carpeting crew in the next week (and hid all medications beforehand, by the way)...I had to call one of the tiling guys about a question the carpeting crew had...and he was blasted out of his mind at ten a.m. in the morning.

I really couldn't even be angry, or feel violated Clearly the guy has a pretty serious problem.

But the follow up to all of that? Evidently it is extremely common...and if you have any narcotics in the house for any reason? Stash them in an odd place before having a crew in, just in case.

She Writes said...

Your new post did not show up on my my blog roll...

Now I only had ten minutes left to transform myself from scruffy house-slob in to a posh, yummy-mummy.

You go, girl :). Loved this line.

Mr. Nighttime said...

Looks like this is the winter for these things to happen. We had our furnace fail in December, and having visions of our bank account having a melt down as a result, were pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be something simple, with an inexpensive replacement part. Part of the reason for the inexpensive cost was that Mrs. Nighttime has a connection via where she works that does HVAC repair on the side, and he gave us the friends and family discount.

Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, and about a month and a half ago, the water heater went...half a flooded basement, and $450 later though, we were taking hot showers again.

Danyelle said...

Wow! I'm so sorry! Some people amaze me. >.< Hopefully you get this all fixed soon.
*steaming hot cookies*

Calamity Jane said...

Precious, this is such a nostalgic tale for me. Shrinky I think we were separated at birth.