Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You can't shut our water off!

Our water meter needs to be moved...the contractor was supposed to arrange a time with the city when the water can be turned off, and then his plumber can move it, then the city can turn the water back on.  Apparently, the contractor called the city to request that the water get shut off today.  What he may or may not have realized is that the city doesn't make appointments, but if you want the water shut off, they guarantee to show up at some point on the day you called to shut 'er down (How does he not know this?).  This is what happened - they showed up at 5:45 this evening and shut 'er down.  Luckily, the city worker lady noticed that the house was being lived in and she knocked on the door.  She told me someone had requested the water off overnight.  I asked if it was possible that she might be mistaken? (The house next door is gutted and being renovated -no one lives there at the moment) Oh boy...she had to prove it to me...so I scooped up the baby and followed her out to her big white 'City of Toronto' van with the word 'EMERGENCY' in bold blue letters across the side.  I leaned into the truck to look at her computer screen (seriously, who has a computer in their truck?) and read the full service request...it indeed said to shut it off overnight (actually the message sort of rambled on and on - she had to hit the page fwd button a couple of times...I wish I could quote what it said but I forget... the gist was to shut it off until Wednesday). Boy she was all fired up the way only a city worker can get fired up!1 Thankfully, she hauled out her tools and turned the water back on (she used this crazy big crank to turn a bolt in the sidewalk - it took 20 seconds).  Then she started loudly2 bemoaning '311' (the Toronto City hot-line, like '911' for garbage & water emergencies3).  Apparently they screw things up frequently.  In a way we were kinda fortunate that they are all geniuses over at '311', because if they tended to be efficient and do things correctly, she may not have double checked the orders from command central.

1  Everything about her demeanor was so perfect it almost felt like she was an actor impersonating a city worker.  Nobody is that real...
2  She was definitely not using an indoor voice...this guy who parked across the street who was probably on his way to the gym or something, gave us the strangest look...to be fair it was a strange scene: a big extenda-emergency-van; a large, tough city worker lady (can I call her a broad?) in a hot pink t-shirt practically shouting about the ineptitude of 'people', I mean she just came "all the way from Ryerson University" (we are in mid-town, so its not that far...), and a mom in jeans, a grey cardigan, socks and adidas slippers carrying the heaviest baby ever (he is 11 months and a wopping 25lbs), trying to placate her. (I mean I was trying to placate her, not the baby)
3  I had to call '311' a couple months ago when they didn't pick up our garbage because we accidentally put diapers in the grey bin and diapers are supposed to go in the green bin.  After I called it in, I went outside and put the diapers in the green bin before the city came back. Later that day the garbage man collected the diapers and STILL left our garbage. This was on a Thursday going into a long weekend. So I called 311 again and their advice was to leave the garbage by the curb until they came back for it...ummm, yah, they never did.

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