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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Apartment #19

This is the house that I grew up in from the time I was three years old until I was, I think nineteen. One bathroom for five kids, two parents and another child who arrived ten years after my youngest sister Suzanne was born. One bathroom. Yes, it is possible. And we are all still alive today. And do you see all that snow? Typical NH winter. And the slope of that driveway does not do it justice. It was really treacherous. But when we were young, there was little traffic on the street in front of the house. So when the car slid down the driveway, we were pretty safe. It is different now. The airport is huge and is the major airport for the state and you have to wait to just pull into our driveway. Actually, the house isn't ours anymore. But it was home for a long time. The nest.

We walked into my new apartment and I thought, oh this is a nice little place. Newly painted walls, nice colors. Turned on the lights, they didn't work. Need light bulbs. Strange. George brought in my big chair, a new bed as he sold my antique one. My beautiful antique dining room table, chairs, so many boxes from storage. Rocking chair. It's nice. Simple for now. I went to put away the groceries and the fridge was warm. We looked at each other and George found the fuse box and everything was on... We thought electricity was included in the rent. I guess it wasn't. We called the electric company and they turned it on for the lovely price of $70. Seventy dollars. 10 X 7 dollars. to flip a switch. No not even to flip a switch. Push a key on a computer. How many seconds did that take? I want that job!!!! Seventy dollars!

OK. So the electricity goes ason and so does the fire alarm. "beep beep battery is low. Battery is low!" Every few seconds. I call the landlord and he says that the system has to charge up the battery and it will stop. It won't take long. OK. George stays for awhile and I encourage him to leave. I'm tired having been up for over 24 hours. I just need to try to sleep. No TV. No radio. Just the alarm. After a few hours, the time between announcements is getting longer. I have shut the door to the bedroom but the alarm is just outside this door.

I try to meditate, but boy, it is annoying. Then sometime around ten o'clock it has just about stopped. I am almost sure that the next announcement will be the last when~~~~~~~~

"BEEP BEEP BEEP FIRE!FIRE!FIRE" one right after the other, over and over and over.

I rush to the phone and call the landlord and have him listen and he says, I'm sending someone over.

A half hour later I am sitting at the window and I see this young fireman obviously just off duty talking to someone who obviously lives in this building and they run up the stairs right to my door which I throw open. He climbs on a chair and take the alarm apart and removes the hidden battery.

Silence. He told me that he never does this, of course. It's not legal for him. I need to get this taken care of. I called my landlord and he still hadn't reached the maintenance man. Imagine. I told him not to bother till Monday. It's taken car of for now. That was two and a half weeks ago. The alarm and battery is tucked away under the bathroom sink. I don't care if it never gets re-assembled.

I have been sleeping to a television or a radio all of my adult life. Silence. I lived three days in silence. It took several days to get the television and computer hooked up to Comcast. But the biggest concern was the telephone.

When we kept checking the minutes, it was always 185 minutes. Now I have 1000 minutes available. The big joke has always been that I was lucky to use every month 150 of those. But this is a different situation. Denise was finding this location on the internet where the minutes we totaling up to nearly 1000 because of all the calls it was taking to work on this move. So I had to be really careful. Finally I called Verizon to find out how come these minutes were not showing up on my usage. Well....

Come to find out - the 185 minutes were up till I changed my address. Everything after that were roaming minutes at 65 cents a minute. If I had not called I would have gotten a bill for over $700. I was three days from that cut off point. I got this wonderful woman who just took care of everything. She put me on an east coast plan retro-active, gave me a wonderful plan that gave me free weekends and evenings which I didn't have before but it didn't matter because I never used my phone anyway. She was just a perfect Customer Service Rep.

I was thinking about my job. At Fabric Depot, when I was in front of a customer who had a problem and didn't know what to do, I would listen hard because often, the problem was deeper than what was obvious. And when I responded, the solution was most of the time really simple because the problem was complicated by the fact that the customer didn't know what the problem really was. Do you know what I mean? And the customer would be very impressed, but really, the solution was simple. It is just that I knew what the customer didn't and that was that. Well, So my telephone nightmare is over and we are all happy.

And I owe it all to my sister for encouraging me to call Verizon because I have better luck with calling these places than she does.

More to come.


  1. I was exhausted by the time I finished this post - really, truly spent!! So I cannot even begin to imagine the nightmare of the first 24 hours and the three days to follow. Haven't heard from you - am hoping that you are settling in nicely. Please let me know when I can send your package!!

  2. Whew! I didn't know all the details of what had happened! No wonder you get discouraged. So, where are the pictures????? Front of building, rooms, etc?