Either doors or phones

February 21st, 2008

The property management agency for our landlord has decided that doors and windows of the laundry room need to be replaced. Fine by us – it’s not like we are paying. The contractors did not show up when they were expected several weeks ago, but except for a little annoyance – after all, Natasha planned her entire day around that, – it was not a big deal.

Then they called earlier this week to re-arrange a visit, and showed up this morning, bright and early. No qualms about the quality of their work, the new door is a huge improvement over the old one (that started to rot, as it were).

It would all be fine and dandy, except for one little problem: They knocked our phones and internet out.

There are three working phone jacks in this house, as I have discovered in the past. One of them is located in the master bedroom, which, to me, is not an obvious place to place it, if you consider that neither of the two reception rooms have one. The second working jack is the entrance hallway, with no power outlet anywhere near it (which probably was ok 10-15 years ago, when phones were simple, but is hard to get around these days with a phone base requiring electricity). The last phone jack is in the bedroom that we designated as the office, which is exactly the right place for it.

Only, that last phone jack was clearly put in not at the same time as all the other wiring, but at a later date. There is a separate cable running from the main phone connection box in the laundry room through the walls up the second floor.

Uh-oh, the laundry room!… Whatever the contractors did today, they must have somehow damaged the connection of that separate cable to the phone box. Nothing visible to the eye, but the phone jack in the office went dead at some point while they were working in the vicinity of that cable, and I do not believe in coincidences so improbable as to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The phones were out, since the cordless phone base was connected to this jack, and the broadband was out, since the router was right there as well.

My enterprising wife found an old corded phone, which she plugged into the hallway jack. A call to the phone company yielded the usually atrocious customer service experience and an offer to send a technician to the house in two weeks’ time for a small contribution of £150. A call to the property management agency resulted in a promise to cover that cost if we could produce a proof that it were the contractors who caused the problem. A call to my office provided me with a diversion from my regular daily functions, but did very little in terms of bringing me joy.

After I came home, I moved the phone base and the router to the master bedroom, restoring the essential communications (thankfully, wirelessly connected computers care little about the physical location of the router). They will probably live there from now on, unless we manage to convince the estate agents to commit to covering the cost of phone repair unconditionally.

What this illustrated to me is how much I hate living in somebody else’s house and depending on strangers to take care of the dwelling. Were the house mine, I’d have some financial recourse against the stupid contractors. Or at least would have splurged on an inside wiring protection plan that many phone companies offer…

Chronicles

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