Monday, May 11, 2009

small town minus / small town plus

I lived in big towns most of my life. Lexington population was nearly 650, 000. It is the second largest city in Kentucky and the 66th largest city in the United States. It ranks 10th in college education with 39.5% of the residents having at least a Bachelors Degree. I was born there some 51 years ago and lived there for about 45 of my 51 years. Anything and everything, wanted or otherwise, can be found there and at anytime, day or night.

Just over 2 years ago, TJ and I moved out of that sprawling, traffic infested, 24 hour-a-day city and to a small town called
Mt Sterling. Our sprawling population is 5,876 according to the 2000 census. It is a small town. The old adage about rolling the streets up at 8 o'clock is nearly true here. We live inside the city. We are just about 3 blocks from the courthouse. It is 0.27 miles from our house to the main intersection of downtown. It is 0.25 miles from my house to the police station. It is 0.15 miles from my house to the water company, which brings me to my point.

Last night, around 11:15, I went to fill up a water bottle to put in the mini-fridge beside the bed. I noticed the floor was wet, but Chella had just taken a bath and I thought she had been a little messy and had not cleaned up after herself. However, this seemed to be more than it should be. Further investigation revealed that the connection of the waterline to the faucet was leaking. This presented a problem which would lead to other problems.

Problem #1: There is no water shut off at the sink. There is no water shut off anywhere in the house. The only water shut off is the main shut off at the street at the water meter. In spite of my best efforts, that shut off would not budge.

Problem #2: It was the upstairs bathroom. The water would leak through the floor, ruining the floor in the bathroom, through the ceiling below, ruining the ceiling, and on to the hardwood floors in the dining room, ruining them.

I called a guy I knew that was a plumber and had done work for me in the past. He said he could come by in the morning and turn off the water for me. WHAT ? In the morning ?? Hello ! Water leaking NOW !

I called the water company. They have no emergency number. If it is a water main break, you can call the water treatment facility, but anything short a a water main, and you are on your own. "Hello, insurance company, I need to report some water damage."

I went to the internet. I found three plumbing outfits listed for this town. I called number one. his response: "I cant come out there now at this time of night (it was now about 11:45.)" I called number two. It was a residence of a plumber and I got their recording. the recording included all kinds of helpful information, including cell phone numbers of every family member, but no way to get hold of anyone to turn off my water.

I gave TJ a number to call while I was trying another number. She woke up an older lady who woke up her husband, who agreed to come to turn the water off. He came within 30 minutes and turned our water off.

Here are the small town minuses:

NOTHING is available 24 hours a day.

There is a reason they roll up the streets. It is because everyone goes to bed at 8:30.

On call service simply means the phone rings at the house. If we are asleep, we are asleep.

Here is the small town plus:

He didn't charge me to come out at midnight to turn of my water in an emergency.

I talked to him about installing a shut off inside the house. There waterline passes through the basement, so there is access. He said his son could do that. He gave me his sons name and number and told me that if they did the work, he could just add the service call to that bill.

The shutoff addition I can do myself now that the water is off. With the shut off installed I can fix a few other problems as well. However, if I do the shut off myself, I will still call the son to settle up with our Sunday night midnight call.

1 comment:

Granny on the Web said...

You usually do find the 'small guy' business is the one that will respond to an emergency.
Guess your new abode has more advantages though than a huge city like Lexington, stick with it!
Hope all is fixed OK now.
Love Granny