Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Blast From the Past

Before I get to the post, I wanted to wish a happy birthday to blog regular Dizzblnd.

On to my story...

I wasn't always the kindly, soft spoken, gentle man I am today.

Stop snickering. Seriously.

I occasionally did some things that were kind of mean. And I'm not even counting the time I tried run some guy over with my truck. That bastage deserved to get run over. Oh, don't worry, he managed to get out of the way in time. I'm not typing this from Rahway State Prison.

Anyway, back when I worked repairing boilers and furnaces (I told you I had a lot of different jobs) we had one customer who owned a pretty decent sized apartment building. It was maybe 70 units or so.

It used to break down often as it was pretty old.
Because it was a big building, it was our priority, and any time we got a call, we dropped everything, and went right there. It was always at the top of the list. I hated the place. The boiler was huge, and about 10 times the size of a normal house one. The firing unit was nearly 10 times as large as a normal house one, and due to some weird design, usually came on with a bang that would all but scare the crap out of me.

So, that is just part of the setting. Couple it with the fact that the building was filled with mostly senior citizens, and the possibility for a bad ending to my tale starts to unfold.

Here is a typical day: I get the call. No heat, and I get the apartment number just in case it turns out to be one unit (which happened from time to time. Some old codgers consider anything under 80 to be "No heat.") I immediately head over to the apartment building.
While walking through the hallway, an old timer lets me know there is no heat. Because he probably figured I just happened to be out in the middle of January, strolling through the hallway, heading to the boiler room carrying a large tool box, and had no idea of the predictament. I would thank him, because I was still able to maintain at least a tiny smidgeon of politeness at that point.

Then, I would go into the boiler room, and begin to attack the beast with all my vo-tech school training skills and various wrenches. Stress level would approach yellow. Remember, the mention that this particular boiler was intimidating?

Ok, as I work on it, various seniors entered my inner sanctum--the boiler room, to let me know they had no heat--while I was working on the cold boiler.

Stress level climbs. Then the idiotic questions started.

Every. Friggin'. Time.

"What is wrong with it? How soon until you fix it? Why is it broken? Did you know we have no heat?"

By the third senior, and the same group of idiotic questions, I start to get pissed. Big time. I close the door to the room, they keep coming. The questions keep coming.

I politely suggest they get the "F" out of the room. But, they keep coming. Just like in some zombie movie, Crotchety Of The Near Dead, only instead of "brains" they mumble "Heat."

And there I was without a chain saw or a cricket bat.

Remember I told you I had a tool box? I carried a lot of wrenches. Wrenches were easy to throw at seniors who wouldn't leave me alone and if the walkers were hit just right, they made a rather pleasant "ping" sound.

Just sayin'.

One day, in particular, was a long one. I had to reload.


Phillipia said...

You're writing this post from where?...:)

Kelly said...

Now that was a funny post. Not because you were gettin' pissed at the Heat People, but because the wrenches made such a beeeee-utiful noice upon making impact with the old people's walkers. Sweet.

dani c said...

Great blast ..I enjoyed it ..

Kathy said...

"Crotchety Of The Near Dead, only instead of "brains" they mumble "Heat." Hilarious! It's the same with me and computer support. "How long will it take?" My response? "As long as it takes. Maybe longer, because you broke it and now I want to throw a wrench at you."

dizzblnd said...

Thank you for the birthday wish! I appreciate it!

I laughed at the image of the "zombie seniors" I can see them dragging their 1 good leg behind the walker.

Joanie said...

What a great story! I can picture it perfectly! And I hope to hell I don't become one of those zombie old people!

Don said...

Thank God you've finally come around and admitted to some devious behavior. I love it when someone will reach an emotional limit. Then I can stand back and enjoy the fireworks. *Ping*
So now the wrenches are saved for passing cars?

Shawn said...

How are you NOT in jail? I would have been tempted to rig the boiler so it blew the whole place sky high, as in The Shining (book version, not movie).

Jormengrund said...

When is this post going to be finished so I can comment?

I feel the pain. As an IT admin here, there are times when I really want to utilize some percussive maintenance on managerial faces when they come to ask me how much longer a repair or reboot is going to take...

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

And now you are the crotchety old senior looking for heat. Right? Bwahahahahaha.

Have a terrific day. :)

Stacie said...

sometimes ya just have to put those damn senior citizens in their place....


Rose Works Jewelry said...

LOL - that's awesome! I totally know what it's like to have a job where you want to kill people...

Anonymous said...

So exactly how long did it take you, huh?




I hope you're out of wrenches, by the way.

C.B. Jones said...

*wants to make a video game where you throw wretches at elderly zombies who moan for brains and hot tomato soup.*

Da Old Man said...

@ Phillipia: From my living room. It's all good. I've reformed.

@ Kelly: They do.

@ Dani: Glad you did.

@ Kathy: So you understand the whole wrench throwing thing first hand.

@ Dizz: It's like you were there. Scrape, drag, scrape, drag.

@ Joanie: I'm sure you won't. Thye were probably annoying before they became old.

@ Don: I had my devious days. It's part of being a guy.

@ Shawn: I wonder that myself. I was just lucky, I guess.

@ Jormen: If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. Oh, wait, that's from a movie.

@ Sandee: Sad, but true.

@ Stacie: True dat

@ Rose Works: Especially when you are really trying to do the right thing, and they act as if you aren't.

@ Unfinished: I'm reloading the toolbox as I type

@ CB: That sounds like a winner.

LOBO said...

Maybe ten years ago, I got a new roommate that was touchy about noise.

With that said, at the time I had a gigantic hammock in my room (you could pull it off of eyehooks attached to opposing support beams). And I would swing at night blasting headphones.

One night I swung too far, and the headphones popped out. The house immediately thundered Wrapped Around My Finger by the Police at a decible level comperable to a 747 taking off.

Freaked out, I tried to pounce out of the hammock, but clumsily smacked my eye on an end table.

Once peace was restored, I went to sleep.

I woke the next morning and my eye was swollen shut and there was blood all over my shirt.

With an icepack over my eye, I apologized to my roommate about the music, to which he replied, "I didn't hear any music. All I heard as this big loud crash."

So yeah, my point. I had a horrendous black eye for weeks, and hadda explain this to EVERY HUMAN I CROSSED PATHS WITH the whole time.

-It was the closest I ever came to purchasing a firearm.

Anonymous said...

I thought there were "no" stupid questions. That's what my teachers always told me.

You mean they wrong?

Hmm. I wonder what else they were wrong about?

heh heh

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

eh, they were old anyway.

wait, how old are you?

Da Old Man said...

@ Lobo: Those seniors made me go out and become armed and dangerous. Liked your story, BTW. Very Gilliganespue

@ Quirky: There are plenty of stupid questions. Your teachers lied.

@ Petra: Older than you, young lady. Respect your elders or they will throw a wrench at you.

Janna said...

You're standing there in the process of fixing it, and they stand there asking you if you know it's broken???


Y'know, at that point it would've been funny to pretend you were breaking it on purpose. Just turn and mutter something about how your evil plan is almost complete.

Then say something about how you're glad to see them there, because there's an experiment you need to try....

Da Old Man said...

@ Janna: That would have been cruel, and insensitive. I only wish I would have thought of it back then.