A story about neighbors and incivility

So a story, if you will. Like many older houses in the Plateau we share a water entry with next door. IE the water comes in from the main and then it divides at a valve to our house (straight up) and to next door (90 degree angle) through the wall.. this happened because of cost or because the buildings were being put up by the same builder (also code was pretty lax back in the day). So, when we bought it was the same owner for ours and the neigbouring rooming house (that is a story for another day). After a while the boarding house was sold to two guys A and B who divided and renovated it into two houses (also a story for another day – but let us stipulate now that hellish and horrific and shamblerific are terms that barely scratch the surface) using possibly the stupidest, most pig ignorant construction crew known to man (see hellish and horrific and shamblerific).

Right, so water; in these situations, if one is now renovating to a modern house with modern water requirements one is presented with two choices:

  1. One eats the cost, hires a serious plumbing and excavation company and has a new water entry put in. This costs thousands (numbers I have heard are between $5K and $10K), but solves all your problems and sort of makes sense if you are already renovating.
  2. Booster pump. This is basically an inline pump that lightly pressurizes the water as needed. It looks at water flow and adjusts it to make sure that you have enough pressure for, say, your shower that is two buildings and two floors up from the water main.

So, because of cost both A and B decided to go with a single, shared heavy-duty booster pump. All good. After a few years though it burned out. So A called B and asked him if he wanted to go in with him on a new replacement. B indicated no so A put in his own and had his plumber route the water for A around the pump (why would he pay for a pump for B).

Fast forward a bit, B suddenly (or always) has no water pressure (old neighborhood, old pipes, who the hell knows, maybe all in his head). He wonders if construction damaged the pipes, he wonders if we have turned off his water (more on this in a second), he wonders all manner of exciting and wonderful things. So he calls the city (and abuses them verbally one assumes), the city pops off to look at their plans and figures out that the water for our street was not touched by the construction. So then they pop round ours and check that a) the valve is not damaged b) that we are not crazy and have not decided to turn off the water. During this process the City guy was very apologetic; said to Chris that he knew we had done nothing to the water etc etc.

A slight digression here to provide context and some colour commentary:

  1. B and I do not make eye contact, we do not speak, there is, at best, a wary recognition that the other exists. This is due to the renovation process: bad things were done, bad things were said.
  2. A’s house draws water from the same line as B’s. IE the water line is controlled by the same valve in our basement (how their respective house are plumbed past our wall is a black box to me). IF we had done something to B’s water it would have happened to A as well. This fact has escaped no one but B.

Anyway, the night before last I get a message through C (who is a dear friend and a neighbor to B) asking me if B can come and take pictures of the water entry. To what end I have no idea but given we do not talk (see 1 above) this would be complicated. So I get B’s email address, pop into the basement, take several pictures with my phone and politely title it and send them along.

Fast forward to yesterday. B has some issue with his cable and calls his provider (the same as ours I would imagine) but doesn’t let A know this is happening (due to the alley, availability of only one post etc our wires are all intermingled).  This means A is not available to let B’s cable tech into his backyard (ATTENTION KIDS THIS IS FORESHADOWING).

So, yesterday at noon the cable and interwebs die. I don’t mean “oh they are slow” I mean, they plant completely. So Chris tries all the reboot/reset/unplug jiggery pokery she knows and then I do the same when I get home and I ring them. They do a offsite check and discover they haven’t had a return signal from our equipment since noon.

Now we schedule a tech, I make sure the house is tidier than normal and ensure that the cable entry point in the basement is clear for inspection etc. So poor Chris is stuck in a interwebless house for the morning, not being able to go out for fear of missing the tech.

Around 10ish or so he shows up, takes a look in the basement and then wanders out into the alley and wants to go into A’s backyard. I called A last night to give him a heads up (because I am, you know, civil) and he and I had arranged for us to text him if we needed to go into the backyard.

The tech disappears for a long long while. Finally he comes back and everything works. Chris asks what happened and gets roughly the following explanation: yesterday, when the guy was doing work on B’s cable and they couldn’t get into A’s backyard B convinced him to just cut a random cable to get his work done. The random cable, of course, was ours.

So, to review, the guy who is convinced we have turned off his water (which we haven’t) managed to turn off our internet.

There is some kind of meaning in this, but honestly all I get out of it is that B is a quite shit.


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