Come on Baby, Light my Fire

So, we’ve been having what I can only describe as a protracted chess game with the maintainance department. When we moved in, there was a whole list of things we asked them to fix. And they actually showed up, within the week, to steal a closet door and dither about in the downstairs hall closet for awhile. Then they vanished, presumably never to be heard from again.

I was, needless to say, devastated. Here I thought we had a connection and all.

So anyway, about twice a week I call the office up to find out where our work order is at, and about once every two weeks, something else breaks, so the work order just gets longer, and longer, and longer. I kind of get used to things like the downstairs sink dripping and missing closet doors and leaking sliding doors, because this is the way of the Island.

See, the thing is, I would fix all of these problems myself, except that I figure for what we’re paying, they can come and fix it. Damnit.

So last week, they actually showed up again and fixed a few things before furtively measuring the closet with the missing door and disappearing once more into the wild.

And today seemed like a good day for me to call the office and bitch, so I did. But I also mentioned, kind of off handedly, that the heat wasn’t working (and hadn’t been for a few days) and it was getting kind of annoying.

Now, this is California. This is a part of California where it gets cold, for sure, but not unreasonably cold. Chilly, yes. Wearing a couple layers, sure. But we are not about to die because our heat isn’t working. We’re just cold and a little bit grumpy about it. So I figured this was the kind of thing that might get fixed in, you know, August.

To my astonishment, thirty minutes later an amazingly attractive Russian man showed up on my doorstep.

“Heater, yes?”

“Uh, yeah…are you here to look at our, uh, heater?”

“Heater, yes?”

“Uh, ok.”

I let the man in, and he proceeded to tear the thermostat off the wall and diddle with the innards for a bit.

“Now, we wait,” he pronounced.

We stood in the living room, waiting, for a few minutes. Every now and then he shifted his weight from side to side, and I stared skeptically at the thermostat.

“We wait for heater, yes?”

He stared expectantly at the wall heater, and suddenly charged for it like a raging rhino. Throwing the living room chair aside, he hurled himself onto the ground next to the heater and nuzzled up to it.

“Ah,” he said. “Oh.”

The heater remained silent.

“You have step stool?”

“Er, yes,” I said, which is how it came to be that there is an amazingly attractive Russian man trapped inside my siding. I’d always wondered what was housed in the little overhang over the back yard, and it turns out that it is the controls or whatnot for the heater. Right now I can see the bottom of a pair of pants and a pair of natty black shoes kicking about, punctuated by grunting and banging noises.

The heater remains resolutely still.

Will the attractive Russian prevail? Will our house not actually be freezing cold tonight? Only time will tell. I only hope the poor man doesn’t electrocute himself on that frayed wiring.

[Treasure Island]