Monday, July 12, 2010

Loki is apparently not done with us

It wasn't just the escrow from hell that has made our lives stressful over the last few months, but we've also had a fair amount of bad luck on our move as well. First there was a miscommunication with our builder, who thought that we weren't arriving for another week, so when we showed up at the house it was still a construction zone. The garage was full of stuff, and there were tarps and painting supplies all over the house. It was 7PM, and our movers were scheduled to show up at 9 the next morning. It eventually got sorted out, but it was a stressful night. Then it turned out that we didn't have any phone service. We had called ahead and arranged to have our new line active by the time we arrived, which it was, but our house is brand new and no one had actually run the wire from the pole to the house. We're also in a cell phone dead zone. (Well, it's AT&T. Most of the world is a cell phone dead zone.) So for a week we had no communications with the outside world at our house.

Don't even get me started about Comcast. Suffice it to say, they are legendary for bad customer service, particularly on new installations, and I can say now from firsthand experience that their reputation is well deserved.

All of which makes what happened today that much more remarkable. To fully appreciate the irony, I have to back up about two months and tell you about a little incident that happened while we were buying our new house. We were exchanging some email with our builder, and he happened to mention a sewage ejector pump.

Sewage ejector pump? We have a sewage ejector pump?

In case you don't know what a sewage ejector pump is, it's pretty much what it sounds like: it's like a cross between a sump pump and a garbage disposal, and it pumps the sewage from our house, which sits in a sort of a hollow below street level, up to the sewer line under the street.

I asked our builder, um, what happens if that pump fails? Does our house fill with sewage?

No, he said, there's a holding tank with a few day's worth of capacity, and if that fills up then it overflows and dumps into the creek behind the house. Which is bad, but not as bad as having a house full of sewage.

But, he said, these pumps are very reliable. They rarely fail.

Well, guess what. We've been in the new place for just over a month, and today the sewage ejector failed, and did do in a fairly spectacular fashion. It has apparently been going bad for a while because it has been making a gawdawful noise ever since we moved in. We thought that was normal, but apparently not. They are supposed to run silent. So it seems that this pump has been chewing itself up for some time. So for the moment we can't run any water, which means we can't flush and toilets.

Figures this would be the day I decide to wait until later to take a shower.

No word yet on whether this will be fixed today, or if we will have to check into a hotel.

UPDATE at 4:30PM: The county repair crew is here installing a new pump. Don't ever let anyone tell you that government doesn't work. Of all the infrastructure organizations we have had to deal with on this move, the worst by far have been the private companies, AT&T and Comcast in particular. The service from the government agencies has been uniformly good, and in this particular case, exceptional.

No comments: