Monday, July 18, 2005

Great Umzug - Friday Continues

Nobody Better Say Nothing Bad About Keyspan. Ever.

So, Keyspan is the local gas company in New York. I called them to cancel the account in my name at the old apartment and set up a new one at the new place. They told me they would need to send someone by to read the meter, check the pipes and appliances and that I would need to be home to let him in, which was another reason why I felt compelled to take Friday off. In true Utility fashion, they told me to be home from 1 - 4 pm on Friday.

Returning home with my Target goodies and enough specialized cleaning products to detail a yacht, I had nothing to do while waiting for the gas man but clean. It was hot, the apartment still smelled of paint, and now I was about to add bleach and lemon scent to the mix. I opened the windows further but there was no breeze to relieve me. I delightfully hung the mermaid shower curtain and drank bottled water. I cleaned until I felt like I could pass out. Still no gas man.

I called home and Little Brother answered the phone. "Guess where I'm calling from!"
"Where?"
"Where do you think?"
"I don't know. With you, could be anywhere. Botswana?"
"No! My new apartment!"

Hmm, turns out, cell phone reception in my new apartment is not very good. Barely works. Perhaps I should have checked this out before hand. Okay, only a minor setback. Easy to take care of plus, this has the added bonus of annoying my Dad.

Still no gas man. I have packing to do at home. I think about skipping out and eating the $12.65 they will charge me for a missed appointment. Fortunately, I stick it out.

3:45 the Keyspan man rings the buzzer. First he goes to the basment to read the meter and check the pipes for leaks. No problems. Then he comes up to the apartment. Now, as a total surprise to me, the landlord installed a new stove before I moved in. It's not high tech or anything, just basic stove, but hey, new stove. Keyspan guy lights all the burners, checks the oven and the broiler. "New stove," I say.

Keyspan man straightens up, and continues to stare at the burners, all four lit and turned up high. This goes on for two minutes. Amazingly, it has gotten even hotter in the apartment. I'm about to ask if we can wrap this up, when he lifts the ceramic cover off the range. A giant flame shoots out of the back corner of the stove. Keyspan guy and I jump back.

I am hot, exhausted, and possibly heat dammaged. Also, I am in denial. These are the only reasons possible for me to turn to the gas man and ask, "Um, is there supposed to be a flame shooting out of the back like that?"

"No," he says, not bothering to look at my crazy-ass self. "There's a leak in your flex hose. That's the hose the carries the gas to your range. I thought something was wrong. I could smell it." This guy is like an Urban Smokey the Bear.

Trying one more time to keep things under control I ask, "Is it safe to use?"

"Hell no! I'm disconnecting it from the source," he says, pulling it away from the wall. "I'm going to have to write you landlord a violation ticket."

So, until this is resolved, I'll be without stove or oven. Also, I've never met the landlord and I'm not crazy about the idea that our first interaction will be me telling him that he's in violation, he needs to fix my stove, and he could have killed me. Then it occurs to me, Keyspan guy saved my life, if I had flaked on the appointment, or if he had done a crappy job, I could have been in serious trouble boiling water for tea the next night. Keyspan guy is a hero! I am effusive with my thanks.

1 comment:

bbrug said...

Wow. That must be a new feature--Gas Man 2.0 or something. I have never heard of a gas rep doing a move-in diagnostic check-up, much less causing someone's stove to shoot great balls of fire.

Then again, I haven't moved since 1993. You know, like, before gas was invented.

Congratulations on not dying a fiery death. That would have been a bad start.