Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm back! (And having a nervous breakdown)

There is a repairman sulking on our balcony.

We got home just after midnight last night, after 16 hours of traveling that involved seven different stages (car to Masterton bus depot, bus to Palmerston North, taxi to Palmerston North airport, plane to Sydney, train to Sydney Central, bus to our town, taxi to our house). We arrived at our front door feeling like this multiplied about a million times, and I couldn't wait to get into my own room, close the door and curl up in bed. I congratulated myself on the fact we had spring-cleaned before we left so that our apartment would feel all serene and welcoming when we came in.

We came in.

It was a disaster area. A muddy tarpaulin covered much of the lounge and pieces of bark and mud were scattered around on the floor. All our furniture had been shifted around to make room for the table and chairs from the balcony which were plonked in the middle of the lounge, leaving no room to move around or even put our bags down. The air-conditioning unit (the size of a small whale) took up all the floor space in the bathroom, and there were muddy footprints in the bath and dirt all over the sink. A tap in the bathroom was gushing water and wouldn't turn off.

After a brief nervous breakdown (and a doomed attempt to fix the tap) we said fuckit and went to bed.

This morning there was a heated discussion with the property manager and Tony the Renaissance Man during which they explained that they had taken advantage of our absence to pull up the entire flooring of the balcony and replace it, since the latest theory on why our place keeps leaking is that the water is seeping in through the balcony tiles and under the walls. There was also emphatic denial that any of Tony's 'boys' would have been in our bathroom at all (to which the presence of the air-conditioning unit on the bathroom floor was a pretty strong counter-argument) and assurance that the broken tap must have happened on its own.

Now usually I'm over-generous when dealing with these sorts of situations, but this time I was really mad. I might even have come out with a firm, "That's perfectly okay, please don't worry about it, but would you mind fixing the tap anyway please?", if fate (disguised as Telecom) hadn't intervened.

"Well, StyleyGeek, I'm pretty busy right now, but we might be able to send someone around tomorrow afternoon to get your air-conditioning set up again, and—" [crackle crackle crackle]
"Sorry, could you repeat that last bit? I can't hear you properly."
[crackle crackle crackle] "—well, you know—" [crackle crackle crackle]
"Your phone is breaking up."
[crackle crackle crackle] "—so, you see—" [crackle crackle crackle]
"Tony, can you hear me?"
[crackle crackle crackle] "—you have to understand—" [crackle crackle crackle]
"I didn't catch any of that."
"Are you there? StyleyGeek?" [crackle crackle crackle]
"I'm here, but I don't think you can hear me, and all I can hear is static."
"Fine. Look, I'm really sorry. I'll send the boys around right away to clear the place up."

I think from his end the conversation must have sounded like him trying to justify the situation, and me replying with stony silence. So he eventually talked himself into a place where he admitted responsibility and agreed to put it right. Yay for phone trouble!

And he did indeed come round with 'his boys' around right away. As I stood at the top of the stairs to open the door to them, I overheard him say to one of them, "Just bloody apologise, okay?" Which they didn't, despite another heated whispered exchange among them all out on the balcony. But Tony the Renaissance Man fixed the tap and left one of the repairmen behind to tidy things up, who, after a good ten minutes of scrubbing the carpet on his hands and knees and shooting me aggrieved looks, has now retreated to the balcony to sulk.

And now I feel all awkward and bad and evil, even though I'm pretty sure I'm the innocent party here. I just don't like playing the difficult customer, even when I have a right to it. I just hope they get the air-conditioning sorted soon, because after New Zealand, the temperatures here are a bit of a shock.


Ianqui said...

I don't know, I think knowing that stony silence works is a pretty valuable piece of knowledge. It should be deployed in the future.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

I'm with ianqui: you have just discovered a valuable tool here. And good job in getting them to fix all the stuff they mucked up while you were gone!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Frankly, I'd be demanding a rent discount for the trouble... it should have been the case that you didn't know they were there until you went out and saw the new balcony floor.