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If you want to get anything done in this country you've got to complain til you're blue in the mouth - Diary of a Necromancer
Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
If you want to get anything done in this country you've got to complain til you're blue in the mouth
It occurs to me that a large part of my problem with my life is that I never feel that I have standing to take a hand in addressing the known issues that are going wrong around me. Take the part where we've been without lights in our kitchen and living room for a week since water started dripping out around two of the can-lights last Sunday; while we did manage to get the immediate problem of "OMG THERE IS WATER COMING OUT OF THE CEILING" dealt with in fairly reasonable order (#1 had clogged up the grease-trap again by running their garbage disposal on Friday, so that when #3 above went to run their dishwasher Sunday afternoon the outflow water had nowhere to outflow to but to back up into #1's sink and all over their floor...), we are still metaphorically in the dark about whether it's safe to turn the affected systems back on yet, because the building-management guys (whom you will recall we are in arrears to by Quite A Lot) have not managed to dispatch an actual electrician about it yet and I am not taking the plumber's word for it.

Now, "standing" enters into this discussion because it's not my unit; Mum's the mortgage-holder, Mum's in dutch with the building-management guys, and Mum has very little time during the day to hang around on the phone trying to sort out any of the Household Finances Issues that we are chronically plagued with because for all that she works 6 days a week they aren't paying her enough to cover doing the job (sorry, I tend to get bitter about that this time of year 'cos all the bank holidays=short paychecks and we aren't making it as it is). I can't ring up to plead with the building-management guys about sending an electrician, because I'm not on the mortgage; I can't just book an independent one myself, because there's no money; and I can't even go bitch at #1 about this being the second time that they've flooded us now and never even compensated us for the first, because, see above point about Not My Unit. (And also I am terribly afraid that I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face during the conversation.) But it leaves me sitting here, in the dark, mad as hell and frightened of setting the house on fire if something in the ceiling is still wet enough to short out or corroded or just not wired correctly in the first place and vulnerable (since we discovered that the bathroom light-fixture wasn't installed to code when its fancy bulb broke and we ended up having to replace the whole thing), and wondering if everybody has to live like this or I just offended some fairy-tale witch in a previous life. And what it would take for me to feel enough of a sense of ownership over my own damn life to be able to do anything about anything at all...

Also, the toaster may be broken, because in the darkened conditions in the kitchen as they now stand, I keep thinking that I see sparking when the toast pops up or I hit the emergency-eject button. Which is also a pisses-me-off-about-Finances issue, because it's a relatively new toaster. And because we're broke enough that I've mostly been living on toast.


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robling_t From: robling_t Date: December 6th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I need Somebody to post that mysterious lottery-ticket through my box at midnight, man... {sigh}
51stcenturyfox From: 51stcenturyfox Date: December 6th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
Ugh, I am so, so sorry you have to deal with all of this. It is NOT in the best interests of the building management guys not to fix things, though, because damage left unfixed will be more expensive in the long run -- IE, I had flooding in my house and the water got up the walls too... if the walls hadn't been dried out, they would have had to be ripped out and replaced (the only real damage was the wood of the bottom of kitchen cabinets, cause they were soaked.

So a leaking ceiling is going to lead to expenses for these people and it's in their best interests to fix the wiring, plug the leaks and seal everything. PLUS the building burning down would be very, very bad! They need to know and to fix this now. It's not your fault and they're not fixing something you damaged.

*hugs* I wish I could help.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: December 6th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
Unfortunately, it's our condo (not that the rental we were in last wasn't far worse about dealing with these sorts of things FWIW), so that's where "in arrears to the guys who we collectively hire for maintenance" comes into play... 'cos they obviously need $$ to hire their guys, and the appearance of being deadbeats (well, the reality of being deadbeats, ATM) makes Mum reluctant to hassle them as hard as the head guy needs to be hassled to get anything done in the first place. It should be irrelevant, since it's a different unit's clear fault, but... yeah. (It's only a 10-unit building, so when one of us falls behind in the assessments, it's a big bite out of the total.) But you would think that #1 also has a vested interest in #B not, y'know, catching on fire beneath them...
51stcenturyfox From: 51stcenturyfox Date: December 7th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
Oh, I see. That's the pits. Though yeah, it's the other unit's clear fault.

Is the insurance for the structure covered by the maintenance fees or do you guys have to pay that?
robling_t From: robling_t Date: December 7th, 2010 12:25 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
Hm, I don't know; the last time this happened {ahem}, there was talk of taking it to #1's individual homeowner policy... if she has one, which I don't think Mum ever found the spoons to pursue. It's something to look into, anyway...

Edited at 2010-12-07 12:25 am (UTC)
grahamwest From: grahamwest Date: December 7th, 2010 12:26 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
The toaster may well be sparking but it's very likely okay even if it is. Electrical contacts can make a spark when they close or open if the voltage in the circuit is high enough. I don't know how much voltage the filaments run on (google or wikipedia may know) but it has to be relatively powerful otherwise your bread would not be transformed.

I learned this from pinball machines - the flippers run on 50V DC and the contacts behind the buttons spark when you press or release them. Contacts like this slowly corrode over time, but it takes a long time and a lot of sparking and even then you can lightly file the corrosion away.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: December 7th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
It's the flash of light that I see underneath the unit when I hit the emergency-eject and the 3" long... line... that I thought I saw fire out of the end of the slot nearer the works-panel last night that have me worried...
ashnistrike From: ashnistrike Date: December 12th, 2010 06:59 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I might point out, on a purely logistical leval, that 1)you know that you're not on the mortgage, but your upstairs neighbor does not, and 2)people of the same gender tend to sound similar on the phone (especially to people who don't know them). So, if you have the spoons yourself, and your mother will back your play, it should be possible for you to do some of the sorting-out.

In any case, please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

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