Who’s On First?

Sometimes I wonder if Hubby and I are being secretly videotaped for someone’s sick amusement while they punk us over and over.  Fortunately nothing catastrophic has happened yet, but we feel like poster children for Murphy’s Law.

Here’s the latest:

When Hubby researched the process for bringing electricity to our building site, it seemed fairly simple:  Get a homeowner’s permit, put in a power pole with a breaker box and meter, and get an electrical inspection.

Instead, it’s been an exchange worthy of Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s On First” (although not quite as amusing to us):

Hubby:  *double-checking with the electrical inspector* “So, I can put in a pole and breaker box…”

Inspector:  “No.”

Hubby:  “But that’s what the National Electrical Code says.”

Inspector:  “This is BC.  That’s not acceptable here.”

Hubby:  “Ooookay.”  *spends a week researching alternatives, then calls back with questions and ends up talking to a different inspector*

Inspector #2:  “…well, yeah, you could do those alternatives, but why don’t you just put in a pole?  It’s cheaper.”

Hubby:  “Because Inspector #1 told me I couldn’t.”

Inspector #2:  “Oh, no, he’s wrong.  All you need is a Class 6 pole with a guy wire.  You can get that at Windsor Plywood.”

Hubby: *calling Windsor Plywood in foolish hope*  “Do you sell Class 6 poles?”

WP:  “No, we only have Class 5 poles.”

Hubby:  “The inspector said I needed a Class 6 pole.  Any idea where I can get one?”

WP:  “No.”

Hubby:  “Do you sell the guy-wire kit?”

WP:  “No.”

Hubby:  *spends days calling around before giving up and phoning an electrical contractor*  “How much would you charge to supply and install a Class 6 pole and guy wires?”

Contractor:  “We only install Class 5 poles, and they don’t need guy wires.”

Hubby: *calling Inspector #2* “Can I use a Class 5 pole without guy wires?”

Inspector #2:  “Sure, that’s better than a Class 6.”

Hubby:  *facepalm*

Hubby:  *calling electrical supply store* “Hi, do you sell retail to the public?”

Store:  “Sure.”

Hubby:  *walks into store*  “Hi, I’d like to buy a breaker box…”

Store owner:  “We don’t sell to the public.”

Hubby:  “But I called your head office and they said…”

Owner:  “I don’t care what they said, I won’t sell to you.  I have to protect my contractors.”

Hubby: *walks out muttering and calls the head office* “You said you’d sell to the public, but the guy in the Parksville store refuses to sell to me.”

Store:  “Oh.  Hold on…” *returns to the line*  “Yes, sorry; each store makes their own policy decisions.”

Hubby, speaking slowly and evenly:  “Do… you… have… a… store… that… will… sell… to… me?”

Store:  “I think the Courtenay store (an hour and a half in the opposite direction) will.  Here’s their number…

Hubby:  *calling the Courtenay store* “Do you sell retail to the public?”

Courtenay:  “Sure.”

Hubby hasn’t gone up there yet, but he’s braced to walk into the store and discover that:

  1. the guy he was talking to just got fired; and/or
  2. they changed their policy two days ago and now they don’t sell to the public; and/or
  3. the store sells to everybody except ex-Albertans who look like him; and/or
  4. they gave him the wrong number and he was in fact talking to the store in Victoria (3.5 hours in the opposite direction to Courtenay).

I’m waiting for the next chapter in the saga, but meanwhile… Who’s on first?

37 thoughts on “Who’s On First?

  1. Thorry, thithter! I forgot to offer congratulathions on your thudden burtht of progreth on Book 12! Your progreth bar is progrething, er, progrethively again! Yay! You tho rock!

    Gad, Book 12! TWELVE! That in itself is worthy of congratulations. You done good, sista.


  2. Ugh … sounds like anything but fun! And yet you managed to find the humour in it! My husband has a lot of different handyman skills but he draws a clear line between what he knows he can do and what he knows is apt to go wonky. I wonder if the commenter who advised hiring a contractor might be on to something? (Although privately I think we will get more entertainment if you don’t :)) Good luck; I hope things go more smoothly from here on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, @jenny_o! Things are already smoothing out, but I’m sure there are lots of little hiccups left to surprise us. I definitely agree with hiring a contractor for things that are likely to go wonky – we’ll tackle just about any construction project, and Hubby is an electrical genius; but neither of us likes to do plumbing. If a pipe breaks and water is spewing everywhere we’ll do an emergency fix, but if we have any choice at all we hire a plumber. That’s money well spent!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes, one’s homeowner’s insurance will only pay if whatever failed was done by a licensed, bonded professional. They’ve been burned too many times by slopped-together cheapo homeowner fixes that went wrong. Our house flooded a couple of years ago because a line came apart from a reverse osmosis filtration unit under the kitchen sink.

        I did the installation, and the insurance still paid for the repair…after they did all the investigation and found that I really had installed the unit THREE YEARS BEFORE. The hose fitting blew off because it was faulty, not because it was installed incorrectly.

        Whew! We were sweating bullets while we waited for the determination. The fix-it bill came to A LOT OF MONEY. We paid our deductible gladly. And it still took two months to get things back to normal even with the insurance company cooperating completely and making sure that EVERYTHING was completed satisfactorily..

        But it’s still worthwhile to have a nice chat with one’s insurance rep about such things, and by that, I mean well before there’s ever a question. I’d never given it a thought until we discovered that we might have to pay for it all out of our pocket even though we were well insured with a reputable company. Food for thought here to all who tend to do their own repairs. Just sayin’…


        • That’s an eye-opening story! I’ve read the fine print in our insurance policy and it doesn’t mention anything like that, but I know insurance companies are adept at weaseling out of paying for claims. Even if it’s not specifically excluded in the contract, they’ll just reject the claim without cause and tell you to sue them if you don’t like it. (Yes, we’ve had a few bad experiences with big, supposedly reputable insurance companies.)

          For us, though, it would have to be a REALLY major loss before we’d even consider making a claim. Our premiums skyrocket after even the smallest claim, to the point where you’re not really getting an insurance payout at all; you’re just amortizing the cost of the repair over the next five years. We had a catastrophic leak in our upstairs bathroom that went down two floors into the finished basement, and it never even occurred to me to claim it on insurance – I just ripped out the soggy drywall and redid everything. Sometimes I’m a bit of a slow learner… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • For the usual, run-of-the-mill hassles like the leaking shower faucet that dampened the carpet in the closet on the other side of the wall, replacing worn-out-beyond-further-repair faucets elsewhere, and all that sort of thing, I just do it myself. Go to the home supply store, get the stuff, fix it, move on.

            But the broken RO water line had been running all day, and the water was threshold deep all over the house. My neighbors (the good ones, not the other ones) saw water running out from under our garage door and shut our water off at the meter. His wife, a realtor, caught me as I pulled in and told me that she’d already called in a favor and had one of the best fire-and-flood remediation crews in the business on the way for us. (Like I said, the *good* neighbors!)

            Long story short and $25,000+ later, our house is back to normal…and our homeowner’s premiums did not go up AT ALL. We’ve used the came company for decades with zero hassles. We’d had some ‘small’ claims along, like dealing with the occasional failed water heater, but I’ve actually done most of those myself without reporting a claim. I think we’ve turned in two of those over the years. Now, we let the home warranty take care of that. A $65 deductible gets us a new water heater whenever we need one. We’ve lived in our current house for almost nine years (a record for us!) and we’ve replaced the water heater twice due to the very hard water here. But then, so has pretty much everyone else within a hundred miles, so it’s a known issue in these parts.

            So I fix the little stuff and let the insurance and warranty pay a pro to deal with the big stuff.

            One upside to the house flood, though. I found out that my floor and foundation is sitting ABSOLUTELY AND PERFECTLY LEVEL from one end to the other. The water mark on the baseboard was exactly uniform all over the house. Hey, it’s something positive, right? 🙂


            • LOL! I dunno; that’s really reaching for the bright side. And YIKES, $25,000?!? That’s definitely worth a claim – I’m glad your insurance paid up. We were lucky to have been home when our second-floor waterfall started, so we caught it before it could get that bad.

              It sounds as though you’ve got a much better insurance company than we had – before we figured out how badly they’d screw us, we reported one small theft of about $1000 in camera equipment. Then we realized how much our premiums would go up and told them we didn’t want to proceed with the claim after all, but they said, “Too bad, so sad; we can’t stop the process now.” They paid out the $1,000 all right (less a $500 deductible) and then hosed us to the tune of more than $1,000 in higher premiums over the next five years. Oh, and we had to stay with them because we’d lost our claims-free status so we couldn’t even go to a different company without paying even more elevated premiums. Nope, we haven’t had great experiences with insurance companies…

              That’s a great home warranty you’ve got, though – I hope we get one like it when we move into our new place!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Sometimes, Diane, we just have days like that, don’t we? Well choreographed, every wrong piece in the right place and all we can do is just go through the motions! Hopefully things will realign soon, and all will be sorted! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tom! You’re right, it’s been an absolute comedy of errors, but oddly enough sometimes the most discouraging ones resolved themselves in a way that turned out to be better than if we’d achieved our original goals. Sometimes you win… you just don’t quite realize it at the time. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Having experienced many similar problems over the years, I found that “Who is your supervisor?” or similar phases to be my best option. I once found resolution after contacting the CEO of the large multinational medical supply company with whom I was having problems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, yes, the magic words: “Who is your supervisor?” That’s excellent advice – in fact, I was speaking to the owner of a national moving company just a couple of weeks ago. It was definitely the fastest and best route to resolving our problems! The only annoying part was that I had to work my way through the minions first to show that I’d made a sincere attempt at resolution before contacting him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t even bother with the minions is my advice. That’s why we have the internet with info on their websites as to who is the boss. Somewhere in my files is a letter of commendation I received from the Laboratory Director after the incident I mentioned above. It contained the phrase ‘for your frank and assertive dealings with ****** resulting in a savings to the hospital of $126,000.’ I loved the ‘frank and assertive’ part.

        Liked by 1 person

          • I just had a visual of the door being kicked open in the office of ‘that guy’ who is routinely and intentionally as unhelpful as possible.

            After the door slams open, another guy, clearly exceedingly irate, storms into the room and backs the shocked and shaking customer service weasel into the corner and VERY loudly yells in the weasel’s face, “My name is Frank N. Assertive! Now, we’re not gonna have any TROUBLE here, ARE WE???”

            End of problem. Like, forever…

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Gad, Abbot and Costello routines are just priceless. Thank you for posting that, and it was a ‘long’ version, at that. Even better!

    I feel hubby’s pain. I’ve found that bureaucracies tend to fall into two categories with each the polar opposite of the other.

    First, there is what I call the Soft But Impenetrable Barrier. Hubby has been bouncing off this one for a while. You WANT to get in, but you just can’t. One can see any number of tantalizing, promising paths through the apparent maze (which is a living, breathing, and carnivorous beast from a place where molten sulfur falls like rain) but each attempt proves frustratingly fruitless. And the harder one tries to fight the beast, the more potential avenues to success one finds, but still, no victory is achieved. Be warned: This way lies criminal assault and jail. The witnesses and even judge and jury will be stacked against Hubby.

    Witness 1: Honest, yeronner, he came in the store all reasonable-like and asked for a Class 22 thingamajig with a set of left-hand threaded widgets. When I pointed to the “Contractor Sales Only” sign at the front of my shop, the guy just went berserk on me!

    At this time, the prosecutor nods to a clerk and a split-screen slide is projected onto the wall. One one side is a photo of the store front with an obviously and poorly photoshopped Contractor Sales Only sign overlapping both the front door and the neon signage over it. The other screen depicts a photo of what is clearly storm chaser photos of the aftermath of an outbreak of tornadoes in Kansas that is purportedly the interior of said shop after Hubby twisted off.

    Judge: Guilty!!! I hereby sentence you to ninety-nine years of manual winter snow removal in…in…in CALGARY!!! (bangs gavel) Next case!!

    The second kind of bureaucracy is what I call the Enclosed Waterslide to Hell. You don’t really want in, but you can’t keep out, and there’s no escape after it’s started. That kind looks totally and completely innocent and desirable from the outside. You know immediately that there could be a huge downside hidden somewhere, but even with that the danger alarms don’t sound. Frankly, it might even look just a little bit too good to be true, enough so that you might even be a bit cautious or even skeptical. But it’s calling your name now. Even in your dreams you can still hear the faint whispers…calling you, enticing you. So you begin to investigate, though still somewhat skeptical. But even after you do all your due-diligence–and maybe even hire some competent experts to help you with making sure everything really is as good as it looks–you flip the switch and go for it. Spend *piles* of money, burn *all* the bridges, sign the *all* the irrevocable contracts, and go totally for broke.

    Yep. You and Hubby are victims of BOTH sorts of bureaucracies. Just in reverse order. Welcome to the madness, sista! C’mon in! The water’s fine! 🙂

    Oh, and how do I know these things, you ask? Easy. Remember how many times we’ve moved. We’ve fallen victim to both more than once ourselves. Just sayin’…


  6. Diane, as long as your husband has not killed anyone (yet) or himself (yet), I can’t even begin to feel sorry. (Actually, I do feel bad for anyone dealing with bureaucracy). We live in Ukraine. It is still suffering a severe USSR hangover. You cannot even imagine the loony tunes bureaucracy and the documents necessary to do anything. Especially related to gas and electricity. Or garbage collection. Or. . .
    Fortunately for me, it is Tanya who has to deal with this stuff and she is a pro. I should send her to help your man.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oooooo progress on the new book looks good, I have my fingers crossed that it might be ready early march and I can read it on holiday in Spain, but no pressure I have a to be read pile that just grew in the last week

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, there’s nothing better than a towering to-read pile. 🙂 I’m so happy to be finally back into writing Book 12! My brain is full of ideas and my fingers have been itching to get at it, so I’m hoping to start posting some major progress soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Awww bless I hope it works out.
    Sounds like the officials are making up their own rules.

    Nothing worse than people not being on the same page, but still once you get it sorted out its one less thing to dwell on or worry about.

    Fingers crossed for you that it progresses smoothly from now

    On the bright side it gives you something to blog about, and you can look back in a few months and laugh right?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s right! And I’m sure there will be lots of glitches and ‘gotcha’s, but it’s all progress. Now that our old house is sold and our new one is under way, all I have to do is stay patient and keep slogging forward and it’ll all work out. But I think a sense of humour is going to be a requirement! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Diane There is a very simple explanation for that whole situation, i.e. evil spirits! They are everywhere perpetrating mischief and evil. Recently, they deceived 62,000,000 Americans into electing a president that is totally bonkers. I mean rip-roaring, eat-the-bed-sheets, bat-shit fucking crazy! It’s the only logical explanation! Keep smilin Duane

    Sent from my iPhone



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