Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Not again, city

So I came home for lunch, and found a "missed" phone call on my phone.

From the city.

Oh, crikey. So I checked for a message - some work is being done up the street and it's not impossible it could have messed with the water system. But no message.

So of course, now I'm anxious.

This happened once before - the call is from the general city number so you don't know what department. And when I called back to ask, the person-manning-the-desk was kind of rude to me, in the "How should  **I** know why someone would call you?" sense.

So I waited. Figured it was some "nonconforming" thing in my yard yet again (even though right then everything was under control) and waited on the letter.

No letter ever came. I finally decided maybe someone misdialed or butt-dialed or something. (I used to be on a citizens'-panel thing).

So this time, I don't know. Yes, the brush has grown up a bit in my alleyway; I've tried to knock it back. And yeah, I never replaced the fence (I need to do that but trying to find a reliable work-person in this town is HARD. And I've asked around, and no one knows a "good" fence guy).

So who knows. I guess I wait again and see if there's a letter. But you'd think: if they bother to call and it's about something, they can bother to leave a message. I mean, this is not my doctor, HIPAA is not in effect here.

The other thing that worries me: I paid my water bill just recently but once before, when the PO lost a bunch of them, we all got letters saying HEY YOU DEADBEAT WE ARE TURNING YOUR WATER OFF ON FRIDAY IF YOU DON'T PAY UP NOW. The letter came on the day the bill was due in! No second notice, no warning, just: hey you deadbeat. I pointed out to the office, when I went down there that:

a. If they had bothered to check my records, they'd have seen I was a customer for something like 12 years at that point, and every single month had paid on time and in full and

b. it's a bit rich to arrange for "we're turning off your water" letters to go out with NO second notice first, and that in fact I had NO knowledge my payment had not been received.

Again, they weren't exactly cheerful about it; they said, "Oh, but we use an outside firm, we have no control over those letters" and I was like "but if you hire a firm to do that, don't you get to set the parameters?" But anyway.

One thing I've learned is that there is no petty tyrant like a small-town bureaucrat. I know I tend to be excessively a rule-follower and I fear "humiliation" (actual or in-my-own-mind) more than I should.

When the dunning letter came about the water bill, my dad's reaction was, "Go to the bank. Get the amount of the bill in pennies. Drop them on the water department's desk and tell them you're paid up" but I couldn't do that (because I was afraid they might still cut off my water). And when they harassed me about the alleyway someone told me "Just let them send a guy, then, and they'll send you a bill" BUT I think there is also a fine tied in with that, and I would have had to appear before some kind of board to "explain myself," apparently. (Yes, I know that seems Kafkaesque and this is the US, but....)

So I don't know. I'm hoping again it was a misdial, because REALLY you would hope someone would have the courtesy to leave a message if I needed to take some action. But this has triggered all my insecurities and taken me from "things are going along pretty okay" to "now I'm going to worry for the next two weeks." And yes, I know I am too good at dreading things; my default response to "What is the worst that can happen?" is "The very worst possible thing." (In this case: being dragged before some board to "explain" why I don't have a better-kempt yard, and be fined, and be given some ridiculously-short window to get it into compliance, so I wind up hurting myself trying to do it myself....)

Also, the "uneven application" of the rules bugs me a lot - there are houses with trash all around in the yard, old appliances, where noise is always an issue, and nothing is ever done about those. But let the privet get a little tall at my place, and all Hell breaks loose. (Yes, it is EXACTLY like the cop pulling the guy over for going 10 mph over the speed limit when everyone else is going 20-25 mph: "You, I could catch.")

This does not help as much as I thought it would:

If I were doing it all over again? I might have chosen a property OUTSIDE of town.

ETA: I am telling myself to be reasonable about this:

a. The two times the city came after me for "brush in the alley" they did it only by letter
b. The previous time the city called me and left no message, it was apparently a misdial because nothing came of it.

c. there are people on my street with far, far worse yards/alleys than mine right now

Also the mail came before I came back here. Didn't see a letter from the city but my Doki Doki box came, and also a quilt magazine. So I left Pfred (see photo above) propped up in my big chair and he is guarding the box and magazine for me until I get home. And also, Pfred is about the closest thing to a friendly face/pet I have to greet me when I come home, so I kind of need that.

1 comment:

purlewe said...

here's hoping Pfred gives you the extra calm you need right now. Give him a gentle pat for me.