The Heat.  No, not the Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy comedy flick.  The actual HEAT.  The gas has been off in my building since Monday.  The gas company shut us down on Monday, siting a leak in the service line outside of the building.  Not so much “sited” as just showed up, turned off the gas, and left without so much as a word.  Seriously.  There are 5 tenants in this building…me, a flower shop, a women’s clothing boutique, a newspaper, and a resident.  Yes, there is a person who lives here, and the gas company shut off the gas and LEFT.  If you haven’t already done so, please put your thumb and forefinger together and rub, playing your teeny tiny violin for us in the most dramatic fashion possible.

On Monday, another tenant discovered that we no longer had heat, and spoke to the crews in town (because it was a service line issue, we were not the only building affected).  They (the gas company crew) guaranteed us that they would correct all of the issues and we’d be turned back on later the same day.  We all went about our business as usual.  Monday was a mild day.  I think it was close to 40 degrees.  Cue end of business…no gas, but we all left, assuming that we would get a fix early on Tuesday.  After all, we have a resident living in our building…the gas company surely wouldn’t ignore our issue and move on to others, right?

On Tuesday, a crew did come back and proceeded to dig a hole UNDER this lovely brick building that was built in 1887.  Yes, the whole building was vibrating.  Yes, I stayed as close to the stairwells as is humanly possible.  End of business came and went.  Another tenant discussed us leaving with the crew, who claimed that they would be finishing up in the wee hours of the morning and would lock the door where the meters are (were) before they left the premises.

On Wednesday, I arrived feeling cautiously optimistic.  The thermostat was not so positive.  It now read about 50 degrees.  Not so bad…we can wait this out!  (If you’ve ever tried to sit still in a cold room and type…you should try it!  It’s invigorating for about an hour.  Then, your hands cramp.  Then, your feet get a little chilly.  All of a sudden, and very much without warning, your body is shivering and your teeth are chattering and you have to put on your coat and scarf and gloves and drink hot cocoa because you are SURE that you are on the verge of hypothermia.  I am exaggerating of course, but it does get a tad uncomfortable after a while.)

I had a few meetings that took me outside of the building (oh darn!), and when I got back, I found one of those bright yellow hang tags with a 1-800 number from the gas company.  “Call us!” it said.  “We tried to get in to re-light everyone’s systems but no one was here!” they claimed.  I looked at the date.  Tuesday.  Of course no one was here in the middle of the night when they finished.  Duh.  It’s a commercial building with only one resident.  Of course they only tried the BACK door which doesn’t lead to the resident’s unit.  Duh.  I called.  The gas company was now insistent that I give them my “service order number”.  Wait, I didn’t order the gas to be shut off…did I?  No, this was a SERVICE LINE issue that we were not even aware of prior to shut off.  We got that cleared up.  Then, they wanted the account number of the gas line in question.  NOPE; again, this was a WHOLE BUILDING problem.  I reminded them that we have 5 tenants here (of which I am one), 1 of which is a residential unit, and we also have a building owner to whom we all pay rent.  We got that cleared up.  Then, they wanted to know when they could get into the garage to access the meters.  Garage?  WE. DON’T. HAVE. ONE.  Oh, this is fun!

Ok, so fast forward 8 hours.  It’s now 8 pm on Wednesday.  Me plus one other tenant are still here waiting for the promised gas company crew (who have now given us THREE of those 30 minute call aheads…apparently, once they call you, if they are called off to an emergency somewhere else they are not required to call you back to tell you they are no longer headed your way.)  More fun!  They do eventually arrive.  They replace the meters.  They test the lines.  Oh, wait a second.  There are leaks.  Just leading to my furnace though.  The rest of the building isn’t affected (Yay!  Oh. Wait.  Do you still have those tiny violins playing?)  Hold the phone.  There are valve problems with the hot water heater.  They can’t turn that on either.  Oh, and one of the other unit’s furnace is also in need of a service/cleaning before they can give that a green light.  So the end of my story?  Well, we haven’t gotten there yet.  Today, I’m awaiting a heating crew to fix my leak before I can call the gas company back out to turn on my meter.  The same heating crew will see if they can’t get our hot water heater in working order again. Until then…I’m left sitting here in front of my little electric space heater, longing for The Heat.

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