Saturday, April 8, 2006

Are we jinxed?

We are beginning to wonder if there is some bad karma regarding our new apartment. We love it, but there are several things that have happened during the last week that make it seem as if we are having a string of bad luck.

The first bad thing to happen was when we were checking out the apartment with the owner, Narci, last Friday. Narci was in Chicago for a couple of days (she lives in California). She took the time to show us the roof deck to explain which areas were private and which were common property. It had just started to drizzle, so we made our way downstairs – several flights of wooden stairs back to the apartment’s back door. Paul was carrying Luc and I was following, carrying Nic. I heard a terrible thud thud, only to find Paul lying on his back on the stairs and Luc heading down the stairs on his back, head-first. Luc was OK, but Paul suffered some awful grazes on his elbows and wrist and a huge amount of bruising on his bottom (as was apparent a few days later). Suffice to say, he was not happy.

The next thing to happen was when we began to move in on Saturday. We were just about to leave to pick up some furniture when we heard a loud sound of gushing water. Our first thought was that it was coming from the apartment above, only to find that it was the overflow on the hot water system in our apartment. We got in touch with the real estate agent, and then Narci. We turned the system off and Narci arranged for a handyman to come and have a look at it on Monday. The system had been turned up very high and had therefore overheated. It looked as though the thermostat had broken as there was not enough hot water when turned on to a low heat. Narci agreed to have a new and larger system to be installed (hopefully this coming Monday). After moving in Sunday we had found another couple of items to be fixed including a fixed plug / stopper in the boy’s bathroom that wouldn’t seal (and therefore would leak water and not allow the bath to fill), the intercom system that wouldn’t allow us to talk to or hear visitors at the front door, a fridge door that swung open (but not closed), a back door that would stick, a lifting carpet strip and a couple of ‘proud’ nails jutting out of the hardwood floors. A visit from a handyman was arranged and these items have now all been rectified.

We had noticed a gas smell when we first visited the apartment. This smell seemed to be in the living area and we noticed that it appeared to come and go. I spoke to a couple of people about this, and it was recommended that I call the gas supplier to come and have a look (and smell) to see if there was a leak – particularly important as Nic is lying on the floor for the majority of his wake time. I rang Peoples Energy on Friday and was told that an inspector would be around within the hour. The inspectors arrived and used a Geiger-counter type of device to check for leaks. The stove was OK but gas was detected near the gas-log fire place. The inspectors then told me that they were going to shut down the gas, and lock the meter. The gas would be turned back on once we had the leak found and fixed. I rang Narci and a number of Narci’s contacts in Chicago to find out how we would possibly arrange for a gas plumber to come out on a Friday afternoon (not an easy task anywhere!). Gas is kind of important in this place as it runs the hot water, cooking and the heating. The thought of losing any of these services was horrifying to say the least – given that temperatures are dropping to -1°C overnight, and we have young children that need to be bathed (not to mention ourselves!). Narci rang to tell us she would put us up in a hotel until the problem was fixed! We felt so guilty that all these problems seemed to be occurring since we took possession of the place, and were beginning to wonder if we were jinxed (Narci admitted that she wondering the same). We decided we could survive for the short term in the apartment, hoping the problems might be resolved quickly.

We had a plumber come around on Friday night. He took one look at the granite hearth, timber floorboards and timber mouldings and mantle surrounding the fireplace, and said a carpenter would need to be called to rip up the floorboards / hearth / wall, before he could get to work. One of Narci’s friends, Chad, believed there must be a simpler solution to reaching the gas line and so came around this morning to dismantle the fireplace. Upon doing this, it was discovered that the gas pipes actually run through the wall, and not under the floorboards. The plumber from last night wasn’t able to make it today, but another plumber, Mike from Andy’s Plumbing said he could make it after 7pm. He has two young children himself (one only 2 weeks old) and I think he felt a little sorry for us. It is now 9pm and Mike is just about to test the system to find out where the leak might be. Fingers crossed!

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