Wednesday, February 4, 2009


This morning I was getting ready for my parents to come and visit us starting tomorrow night. I was stripping sheets off of the guest bed, gathering up kitchen towels and collecting toddler socks from all over the house to throw into the washer. Then I was going to run upstairs and take a quick shower so that I could take Grasshopper on our promised outing of the morning: Trader Joe's. He loves hunting for the puppy, eating free cookies and choosing a balloon. I love cheap (as cheap as it gets, anyway) organic milk and frozen veggie samosas.

I turned on the washer and got nothing.

"Oh, no! The pipes froze!" I thought to myself. But wait. We had set the faucets to drip. JR had taken a shower earlier this morning. "What the heck?"

I tried every faucet in the house and nothing happened. I called my next door neighbor to check to see if he and his partner had water. They did. I went and peeked into the crawl space to see if it was flooding (my arachnophobic butt was not going under the house). There was no water to be seen.

So I called the county. And after a few minutes the woman said, "I'm sorry ma'am but your water has been turned off for non-payment."


So whilst keeping her on the line I checked my online banking, and lo and behold, I never paid the last bill which had been due while we were at the beach for Christmas. The 28th, I believe. Honestly, I don't remember ever getting the bill, and since we only get billed every other month for water, it's easy to forget.

"I have never missed a payment or been late before, right?"

"That's right ma'am."

"Did you all send me a letter regarding this, or perhaps make a phone call to our house?"

"Well ma'am, we sent a letter on Jan 26th alerting you that your bill was late and that we would turn off the water on Feb 4th if we didn't get payment."

"I see. Do you have delivery confirmation on this letter? Because I didn't get it."

"No, we just sent it regular mail. You're actually not the first person I've spoken to today who didn't get your notice."

"So can I pay this over the phone?"

"No, but you can pay it online."

"Great, I'll do that right now!"

So I go to the website and pay the bill ($102.34 plus a $5 convenience fee, of course.)

"Here is my confirmation number for the payment: 69-01452E. When will the water be turned back on?"

"Sometime within the next 3 business days."


"No ma'am. I don't know when they'll send a tech back out that way. We do guarantee that it will be within 3 business days though."

"So you're telling me that I might not have water until next week?"

"Well, they do try to get everyone taken care of before the weekend, but I can't guarantee that."

"Look, this isn't like you turned off my cable and now I might miss my favorite show, this is WATER. It is essential to life. I have a 2 year old child here whose hands cannot be washed, teeth cannot be brushed, whose milk-filled sippy cups can't be washed, whose food cannot be made!"

I may have gotten a little screechy by this point.

"I understand that it's an inconvenience ma'am, but there's nothing that I can do."

"This isn't an inconvenience, it's a health risk! Look, if this was a new house and I wanted a certificate of occupancy, I couldn't get that without water, right?"

"That's true ma'am, but in this case it will take between 1 and 3 business days."

Suffice to say that I had several variations on that conversation all day today. Approximately every hour. We did not make it to Trader Joes. I did not do laundry. I did not clean the bathroom. I spent all day on the phone getting NO WHERE.

As of right now, we still don't have water. As of right now I am so disgusted with my county I can hardly speak. As of right now I am thankful that I don't have a child or any elderly parent who needs in-home medical care. What would we do then? I shudder to think.

So I'm going to keep being that proverbial squeaky wheel. My parents have agreed to play their visit by ear, and we'll make it work out.

Maybe tomorrow I'll drive my smelly, unshowered, teeth unbrushed self down to the Water and Sewer department and give them all hugs. Do you think maybe that will get them to turn it back on?

*******************UPDATE 2/5/09 10:50 am**************************
We have water!

I will now commence scrubbing my bathroom, washing clothes, and doing dishes since my parents are arriving tonight and I am WAY behind thanks to the county.

Insert expletive here.


hayseed said...

I have forgotten to pay my utility bills many a time, but they've never disconnected me! I agree with you- more warnings needed!! I hope you're not waterless (with a toddler, for cripes sakes) for much longer-and thank you for the kind words in my comments.

Melissa said...

They turned it off after the first disconnection notice AND on the date in the notice? Let's just say I'm glad I don't live in your county!

And I can't wait to hear how well this goes over with your parents!

Good luck!

Dysd Housewife said...

we are lucky, we supply our own water, and don't have to worry about the county for anything except electricity. And we have a woodstove for heat, so they can EFF off. LOL

StephLove said...

I'm glad you got your water turned back on. Power lines go down frequently in our county and electricity I can live without if I have to (albeit with some grumbling,) but not water!