January 4, 2013 by rebelwithalabelmaker
Volunteer and Long-Suffering Editor Not Named Mich: I was wondering if there was a catastrophe that was holding up the blog writing.
Me: Catastrophes don’t usually hold up the blog writing. They’re sort of the basis of the blog writing. But, as the matter of fact, there was an Incident while we were away for the weekend. It has kept me busy. But it’s much better now, and the good news is that bed bugs can’t live for more than 48 hours when the house drops below freezing.
Kathleen: Wow, you’ve had your share of adventures with that house.
Me: Oh, but I’m getting to be so good in an emergency, you would be amazed at my presence of mind. I took a picture for the blog, right away. And I also posted my status immediately to Facebook, asking for people to drop off space heaters.
Kathleen: I know. I dropped one off.
When I originally got home, I was all excited that I could see my breath because I figured the pilot light was out and I totally know how to light it. It went out last winter, when we were renting the house, and I went over there and kind of stared at the furnace until I noticed that my friend Carlos* who sold us the house had taped the manual for the boiler to the wall. As well as all business cards and invoices for everything that had been done to it. This didn’t prove to be enough information for me, so I wound up phoning Carlos who is probably increasingly regretting selling his house to me. I call him regularly. Also, I may have accidentally strongly implied on the Internet that he gave us a very bad infestation of bed bugs, when in fact they came from the tenant that was after him. He got a little Garoo-ey at this point.
Anyway, I do know how to light a pilot light, which is great – but unfortunately I don’t know how to light a pilot light underwater. The unfortunate part is on a couple of levels, really.
I am bad in emergencies generally, but I am able to learn. If I could have the same emergency over and over, I’d be awesome. But they keep changing the emergencies. The first Emergency I remember featured my little sister stopping breathing (she’s fine now, she got started again and hasn’t shut up since. In a good way, of course). I will not say who in my family was frantically yelling “what’s the number for 911?”, but I will mention that I did think the answer was 067, despite the “Emergency 911” sticker on our phone.
In the next Emergency, I totally remembered the number for 911, but I “wasn’t sure if this is a 911 situation”. This caused David to point out afterwards that whether or not something is a 911 situation is a great question to ask a 911 operator, as they have some training in that area. So, next time I acted on that advice, and so did everyone else apparently, because I got a message that said “Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line.”
After failing to get a license plate one time, I now note everyone’s license plate in all emergency situations. After failing to get a good description of the car thieves despite several conversations with them and stealing their phone, I will never make that mistake again.
The plumber is about six feet, heavy build, with blond hair. License plate available upon request.
Gary is also getting to be well trained in household emergencies. When he arrived home, he took note of the mist that happened with each exhalation, and headed straight for the boiler. Halfway down the stairs he froze and looked at his possessions floating by in a foot and a half of water, and sighed heavily.
Gary: I feel a blog post coming on.
Gary: Also, where did all these space heaters come from?
Me: Well, you always wanted to know what it’s good for. This is what it’s good for.
On the bright side, I have dealt with a flood before (by “dealt with it” I mean I stood there yelling “oh crap oh crap” while 11 year old David threw the main breaker and turned off the water), so I was prepared. I threw the breaker and turned off the water main myself, and smiled with satisfaction because I knew there were very few water soluble items stored in the basement. Except, you know, the walls and floor and stuff.
Me: Remember how I was saying that we’ve never cleaned the Lego collection and it must be filled with germs and we should wash it?
Gary: This does not count as “washing”.
Gary is a perfectionist when it comes to homemaking.
On the whole, it was not a bad experience. It was fun to camp out in front of the living room fire with the kids…
…and the house insurance people sent over a team of Magical Cleanup House Insurance Elves. After taking note of their hair colours, outfits, and license plate, I showed them to the basement, which kind of looked like someone tossed a grenade in a Lego store. The Head Elf explained how they’d take everything out of the basement, take inventory, re-imburse for the wrecked stuff, and clean and return the rest about six months later.
Me: I can’t be without this stuff for six months! There’s a lot of really important stuff down here.
House Insurance Elf: Oh, okay. How about we’ll pack up the Lego, and when we find the other stuff, we’ll check with you about what should be taken away and what shouldn’t?
Which was kind of awkward as they started packing and it became apparent that there was no “other stuff”. I think they thought my kids were pretty spoiled to not be willing to part with their clearly mammoth Lego collection for a few months. I felt it was best to go with that story.
I kept rooting around for non-Lego items, holding them up to prove that we are not insane hoarders.
Me: Aha! You can take this stuff–we rarely use it. It’s for the Harry Potter retreats.
So she packed it up, and labelled it “black robes, potion ingredients, and cauldrons”, and eyed me warily.
Me: And all these bags can go–we were just going to put them in the garage to freeze over the winter anyways, because they couldn’t be washed in hot water and thrown in the dryer.
House Insurance Elf: Are these bags labelled “bed bug quarantine?”
Me: Yes. It would be best not to open them.