Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Old Boiler.

There is very clear demarcation of roles in this house. The children’s role is sweetly parasitic in that they look lovely and I want to kiss them constantly but, they suck the life blood out of me both physically and financially, and apart from the eldest occasionally emptying the dishwasher and looking out for the younger ones from time to time, they do sweet FA. All other jobs Hubby and I share, blue jobs and pink jobs respectively.
Blue jobs generally consist of supporting a big family, putting out the rubbish, peering around u-bends even though you may not have a clue what you are looking at, very basic DIY and map navigation. Pink jobs are everything else, including but by far not a definitive list: cooking, cleaning, child rearing, driving, tyre pressures, recycling, discipline, Christmas and remembering annual key dates. Hubby has yet to grasp when his offspring were born; the month is fairly spot on but he is totally at a loss as to date and year.
I am most put out then that now, when we are in desperate need of our boiler being replaced, I find that this surely most blue of jobs, has been landed in my lap. Hubby has washed his hands of the whole affair and gone to work each day leaving me to harangue my friends and neighbours in the hope that they know a good heating engineer. My dad, who visits me daily and who is mercifully coughing up the not insignificant cash for the boiler will be most relieved when the job is finally done, as day after day as he sips his coffee, I bore him senseless with the latest quote and new hitch that yet another engineer has foreseen.
“You see dad we can’t have a condenser pump because there is no-where to pump the water to”, or “But the gas pipe is only 15mm, we may need to reconfigure to 28mm”, or, “Do I go for a 330kw Worcester or 400kw?” His eyes are glaze over, he downs his coffee and makes his excuses, leaving me troubled and tearing my hair out. I don’t want to waste his money, neither do I have a heating engineer as a best buddy who will be honest and do a safe and excellent job. Finding the right man for the job has opened a very disagreeable can of worms as every man has found something the other hasn’t, leaving me confused and uncertain who to employ.
At one point last week I got British Gas involved. They were very professional, a smart man sat at my dining table, opened his lap top and printed off a load of posters from his wireless printer, illustrating exactly what I needed, which included full loft insulation and all singing and dancing wireless thermostatic controls. He brought a torch and made disparaging and to be honest rather worrying noises as he scrutinised by boiler cupboard.
“Well Mrs Band, we need to sort this out as a matter of emergency”. I nodded eagerly and was relieved that at last someone had taken charge and given me some pictures to look at so that I knew exactly what I was getting and told me that everything would now be alright. I sat at the table with him obligingly as he itemised all the things this house would require to make it safe, efficient, green and warm and lapped it all up. With a final flourish, the ‘heating sales advisor’ sent this information to his printer which duly churned out the quotation and contract.
“Here we are Mrs Band. This is how much it will be”. Other quotes for almost exactly the same work had come in around the three grand mark, and so as I adjusted my glasses, I expected to find a similar sum but as my eyes flickered over the column marked, Total Price Payable, a sum for £6065.84 stared resolutely back.
I would like to say that I laughingly said “Are you a highwayman in disguise? This is daylight robbery!” but of course I didn’t and so British Gas will continue to charge sky high prices, payable on quite literally the never-never, because I and no doubt thousands like me, politely replied, “I see. Thank you very much for your time. You have been most helpful and once I’ve discussed this with my husband I’ll be in touch”. Showing him the door I leant against it and tried to breathe normally. Over six grand? Now what was I going to do?
I waited until my dad came over for his coffee, “And they want £292.20 just to flush out the system”.
“Listen Alice love, this is driving me to distraction. Here’s a number someone at the Legion gave me. His lad is Corgi registered, he’s got good references, knows what he’s about. Give him a call and please never the mention the bloody boiler ever again”.
Hubby was just as dismissive. “You’re becoming obsessed Alice. Have you nothing else to talk about?”
“Well as a matter of fact no and it’s all very well for you to yawn but I’m the one stuck in this bloody house day after day waiting for yet another bloody plumber to show up. Do you honestly think that I like to discuss the configuration of our pipe-work?” I was getting in my stride and my voice was getting shriller, “I can’t say I’m enjoying making these decisions alone. Why don’t you ring one of these guys up and listen to them wax lyrical about radiator valves and periscopic flues?” I flung the number my dad gave me at him and stormed into another room.
“He’s coming on Saturday”, said Hubby putting the phone down. “He wasn’t quite sure when”.“That’s a pity. Mags and I are going out for the day. Remember?” The look on his face suggested he hadn’t.

This post is dedicated to Sally Lomax who truly understands..


enidd said...

enidd had a boiler that just said "error:f19" when outside it was a ukrainian winter. actually, by then it was a ukrainian winter inside too. so what she's trying to say is she undertstands too. good luck with the corgi man.

thefoodsnob said...

Good luck, and I'm glad he has to step in your shoes for the day and wait around.
I'm surprised he wasn't interested at all,given the cost!


Alice Band said...

enidd - ukrainian winter - those two words make me feel clod to the marrow.

lisa - well he's not paying!

Mary Alice said...

You have a darling Dad!

Sally Lomax said...

I do truly understand ........ Although... I hate to say it..... but our "Corgi registered guy that could do the job for considerably less"..... ended up being not a lot short of British Gas.... For the amount we ended up paying I think that we should have had gold plated new radiators throughout the house, but instead we have our grotty old ones which are yellow only by virtue of their age. LOVELY! Getting a new boiler stinks!!! Thatnks for the dedication though!! xxxx

Sally Lomax said...

P.S. Have written a blog.... at last!