Thursday, September 10, 2009

I am not a stupid girl. I'm just prone to idiocy.

I have bad luck with my condo. Like, baaaad luck.

Last summer there was the decomposing corpse of my dead upstairs neighbor that smelled the place up for weeks. (Not to mention the A+ disinfecting work done in the unit, which is a story for another time.) Last winter is was a snafu with the gas company that resulted in me not having heat until December. In CHICAGO.

This year, it's my electricity.

I came home yesterday to find that half the condo was in the dark. Unfortunately, it was the half that had all of my appliances. No fridge. No stove. No washing machine. No sewing machine (cry.) No cable, TV, nothing. I went and checked out the circuit breaker, flipped the switches back and forth and .... nada. (Oooh, this is fun I thought. I can be half Amish for the night.)

Rock on.

So this morning being half Amish got old. After a frantic call and e-mail with the management company, I started calling electricians.

Most of the conversations went something like this:

Me: I can't figure out why half my electrical sockets won't work. There was some power outage yesterday and I tried using the breaker box and I just can't get it to turn back on. I think something might be fried inside.

Them: Uh, did you, like, try flipping the breaker?

Me: Yes.

Them: So you actually touched each of the switches and moved them back and forth?

Me: OMG! Are you listening to me!? I'm not a moron. (This reminds of conversations with tech support when you say your computer is misbehaving and they asked you if you rebooted it. Uh, no. I hadn't thought about that!!!)

Anyway, so I wind up getting an electrician to come out, because at $100 for a house call plus parts, he's the best deal I can find. He comes over. We go downstairs. He looks at the box and says, uh, your power's been turned off.

And then I'm like, yeeeeessss. This is why you're here. I don't know why the power is off.

And he responds, no, it's actually BEEN turned off. See this tag? It means the power company came and SHUT. IT. OFF.

At which point, I'm just blown away. I live in a condo building. I don't pay any electrical bill. It's part of my condo fees. And also, if they turned off my power, why are my lights and my ceiling fan still working?

So he busts out his screw driver, yanks off the lock from the utility company, puts it back on and leaves 5 minutes later with my $100 check.

Now I'm pretty much freaking out. When I bought my place two years ago, I swore someone said electricity was included in my ridiculously high condo fees. I busted out the paperwork and see reference to air conditioning being included. Then it starts to sink in.

Either because of misinformation or misunderstanding, I was supposed to open an electric account when the old owner closed hers. I never did. For two years -- TWO YEARS -- I've been getting electricity without knowing I was supposed to pay for it.

Then I lost it and just total meltdown crying fit on the phone with my dad. (Yeah, yeah. I know. Cliche. Whatever.) I don't want to steal. But I'm terrified of what this bill is going to be like when I get it. It was a completely innocent mistake. Should I have figured it out before hand? OMG. OMG. OMG.

So I call the power company and try to explain the situation to them. I say that I know they probably get a lot of far-out sob stories. And this is a far-out sob story, but unlike the slackers who are trying to get out something, this one is ACTUALLY true. They're sorta baffled themselves. So I set up an account for my unit, give them the date I moved in, and they back date it to me.

Now I have to wait until the next meter reading to figure out what the bill will be. So, I'm terrified about the fact that there will be commas in this bill. And that there will be big numbers BEFORE the comma. And I'm praying they have a payment plan.

Also, I'm now considering writing a book called "Confessions of an Idiot Homeowner."

Sigh. FML.


Bayjb said...

Yeah this is why I'm hesitant to buy because I like having a landlord who can do this stuff because i can't. Yikes. OMG decomposing body?

Ms. H said...

Oh my.

I am SO sorry this happened....and especially that it happened to you on my birthday. (For some reason I feel responsible when bad things happen to people on my birthday --almost like it's my birthday gift to them. I know...Wacky, but hey....)

Don't beat yourself up too much....we all have those moments from time to time. (Which is why I almost had a empathetic-panic attack as I was reading.)

Any idea on when you'll get the statement? I've got a friend that lives in I need to call her so she can come provide Tactical Response support as you open it?

Let me know, k?