1) It’s really great to have a Homeowner’s Association that takes care of you well. Except when they monumentally bungle jobs that involve basic utilities.
Last Thursday (the 17th) , there was a scheduled 2-hour power outage while some electrical work was being done behind a neighbor’s house. On Sunday the 20th the homeowner came home to find his back yard flooded and natural gas bubbling up through the water! Our Homeowners Association Board came door to door shortly after we lost water service to tell us that they were shutting off our gas from the outside. We were without both gas and water until Tuesday afternoon, when they came round to tell us to run the taps for 10 minutes to clear out the muddy water.
We’ve been having this beautiful sunny and warm February up until this week, when nighttime temperatures have dropped into the low twenties up here at 3,000 feet. During the day it’s been sunny but in the upper 50s. We have gas heat and of course there’s no hot water, either. I’ve been showering at the gym. Hydra went commando and indulged in what he calls “helmet baths.”
At about 24-hour intervals we’ve heard that we’ll get gas back in approximately 24 hours. Until last night, when the HOA manager said that they are just hoping to get it done before the predicted snow storm hits on Saturday!
He had come by to double check that our gas was actually turned off outside. Apparently, when the water and gas lines were damaged, a lot of mud got into them. They tried to blow out the gas lines with air, but it didn’t work. So they decided to flush the lines with water and found out that at least one homeower’s gas was still on. That doesn’t sound good.
Then more holes like the one above started showing up here and there. Oh boy.
Today I gave up and realized that we may be in for a longer haul here. We’d been waiting to cook, waiting to do dishes and laundry, but it piles up fast. Most of the food we bought on Sunday morning needed to be roasted or browned. Sigh.
2) Let the sunshine in! If a room gets a lot of sun in the afternoon, you can take off your jacket.
3) When it’s 52 degrees in the house, you can unplug the water cooler and still have refreshing cool water whenever you want.
4) Oh yeah. You have a crock pot. And you love soup. Soup is great when you’re cold. And the Internet’s still working, so you can get basic recipe outlines for stuff you have on hand. Tuscan sausage soup, coming up!
5) That 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup is a great way to heat water in the microwave when you can’t stand the dishes all over the counter any longer. It may take 6 or 7 refills to get the job done.
6) The dishwasher really truly doesn’t do the job without hot water coming into it. The dishes just get foggy with a thin film of ick. But it does make a nice drain rack for all the stuff you do by hand with microwaved water.
7) Make laundry while the sun shines! You’re conscientious, so you usually wash clothes in cold water anyway. Even though it’s chilly, if you live in the right climate, the sun may just be strong enough to get things dry.
8) Sweats are Priority One in a temperature-challenged situation.
9) In spite of having felt very inventive and productive while hanging out the laundry, you can maintain your sense of humor when Mr. Smartypants comes home and reminds you, with a puzzled look on his face, that the dryer is warmed by electricity, not gas.
10) Space heaters cease to frighten you if you really need them.
11) Firewood works if you have a fireplace, but if it’s not well cured, it makes your hair smell funny.
12) Showering at the gym is not as big a hassle as you thought.
13) Getting up and doing all this stuff will warm you up much faster than posting exasperated status updates on Facebook.
At this writing, we haven’t heard anything more from the Homeowner’s Association. I bought a second space heater today. The electricity bill won’t hit for a while and, hey, there should be a dip in our natural gas bill for this month!
Meanwhile, the current weather report predicts that the snow level will get down to 500 feet this weekend, so we’ve postponed CuzP and CuzM’s overnight visit and the Antelope Valley Winery wine tasting we had scheduled for Saturday….even though I’m sure Hydra would be happy to show them how to take a helmet bath.
C’est la vie!