The city girl had a long day, full of surprises; some of them good, some not so good. Started out with an aborted trip to Costco. Needed paper towels and trash bags. Awesome may be awesome but with no water, you're going to go through loads of paper towels. What better place to buy then somewhere that sells in bulk, right? Not. They weren't open. The gas station was, however. Running up and down the road uses a lot of gas. Filled up and down the road to Home Depot. Got a shopping list.
Among the items needed were deadbolt locks. Have to meet the locksmith at 11 a.m. 9:00 a.m. Can pick out most of the things, pay for them, and be on the road. Air conditioners and lawn mower have to be delivered. Look for something to repel the furry friends. Notice I said repel. Not kill. No more dead animals, please.
Got the flatbed and rolled along. Tile for the counter tops was on sale last week. Not in sight this week. Nor was a salesclerk. No time to look for myself. Can do that another day. Loading the cart with repellent and other items. Head to the checkout counter at 9:40. Hmmm. This scene looks familiar; lots of people standing around, line not moving. Here we go. Finally get to the customer service counter. We'll just touch briefly on the young lady who, studiously ignored me while appearing to be engrossed in the computer screen. Another employee called me to her attention. Oh! May I help you? Turns out she couldn't. O.J.T. Didn't know what she was doing, referring to notes to process the delivery request. Ordinarily, that would not be a problem. This time, however, the clock is ticking. And, she's very courteously answering the phone, "oh, I can look that up for you." No you can't! You're working on my order!
Pardon me but will take much longer? Wrong question. I explained that I had an appointment and if we weren't near the end of the process, I would have to complete it later. Phone rings. May I help you? Got to go. Explained that I couldn't wait any longer, took the locks to another counter and left.
Hit Covington and Rt. 51, at 10:45. Maybe I'll be on time. Water company coming again. Call the locksmith to tell him I'm entering Ripley and not to let the folks from the water company leave. I pull in right behind him. He gets started and I wait. Well, not really. Tom Hopkins, a real estate guru, says to "do the most productive thing at any given minute." Great motivational speaker, by the way. Keeping that in mind, I whip out the measuring tape and get busy. Measure every last one of them. Make a list of where existing fixtures can be relocated and what needs to be purchased. 12:20 p.m. Okaay, where are they? Call. I missed them. Geez, talking about punctual.
I trek though the bathroom. Hear a ticking sound, what can that be? Turned on the light. Water on the floor? Can't be, the water's not on. where is it coming from. Can't see. Get the locksmith. From the toilet tank? No cut off valve? I said the bathroom was dated but we didn't check to see if the toilet was made in this century. But the real question is: why is this water leaking?
Ah, here's the water company. They'd turned it on and realized that something was running. Turned it off and left. Hello, a note? Business card? Turned the water back on and, sure enough, it is the toilet tank. Just GREAT! Turned it off again. I spread newspaper.
While outside being shown where the water main is located, a pickup truck pulls up and an elderly couple jump out. Since I don't know them, they must be there to talk to the water man. Nope. They stopped to welcome me to the town. It's the chairman of the board for the Bank of Ripley and his wife, who sits on the library board. Excuse me? I couldn't get a response from my elected officials half the time in D.C. Very nice couple. Promised to move what dwindling funds I have to his bank. Not that he asked. In fact, introduced himself as Jim Fitzhugh. I knew something was amiss because the water man, Mr. Durham, straightened just a smidgen. But as we chatted, I was handed his business card. I do know how the game is played even if I don't play it. This time, count me in.
Mr. Durham was most helpful. The gas, water, and sewage are all one company. He told me where to go to replace the ooooogly heaters and more. Missing his thumb and forefinger on the right hand. Wonder how that happened?
Back inside. Installing the lock on the back door is proving to be a challenge. The door is "thin." Meaning the lock mechanism is longer than the door is wide. Mr. Holcomb goes off to the hardware center to pick up what he needs. I'm puttering. Can't clean too much without water. Retrieved the camera (thought I'd left it at the apartment) from the front seat. I'll take pictures of the doors I mentioned previously. Two photos; camera died. Aargh!
Now Mr. Durham is back. They're going to set the gas meter and when I'm rid of those ooooogly heaters, the repairman will be able to make the tie-in. I can get used to this friendly advice and help. Haven't had that experience in DC or Maryland. Must be the water.
Train comes through. Mr. Holcomb's finished, my back is hurting from the standing. Time to move on, I've got other stops to make before I head back to Cordova. While we're talking, who make an appearance? My furry friend. And, a second appears. Come on, fellas, I was only kidding about having a zoo. You don't have to make it true. TWO of these things?
Go to the store Mr. Durham referred to me to get prices and make arrangements on these heaters. Fellow behind the counter is a wanna-be alpha male. He quickly told me that his brother is too busy for silly me. He has bigger contracts, etc., to fry. When could I speak to him? He's here at 4:30 a.m. After that he's hard to catch up with. Okaay. What do you need? I explain the problem and, of course, he can handle it. What type of heater do you want? What size?
Now, folks, let me be perfectly clear. I need assistance, advice, someone to tell me what sizes they come in, the advantages of this model vs another. Yadda yadda. I'm not getting it from this man. How can I tell what size logs I need or heater when the fireplaces are covered. He's pissed and so am I. Can I see one? They are in storage. No pictures? Nope. Okaay. Guess I didn't fit the mold. There's more than one way to skin this cat. I'm setting my clock to call the store at 5 a.m. Perhaps his brother will be more interested in getting my business. First piece of ugliness I've encountered so far.
Headed out of town. Stopped at a used car lot. As luck would have it, my son calls as I'm parking. He's had enough dealings with clunkers to be of help. Have him on the phone while I walk the lot with the salesman. I'll be back.
Hit the highway. It's five p.m., I've been on my feet all day and nothing to eat or drink. Got back to Cordova, ate, put everything that needs charging on charge, and stretched out. Of course, my eyes popped open at midnight. Making the best use of every possible moment, I'm filling you in. Got to go set the clock.