Tuesday, February 13, 2007

That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore

The Goldfish
Her Parent's House
F.A.O: whichever supernatural being(s) it may concern
The Forces of Predestination
Petty Domestic Misfortune Subdivision
Unit 4B., The Universe

13th February 2007
Dear Sir or Madam,

As you will have undoubtedly predicted, I am writing to ask if you would please reconsider my case.

I have not always been a loyal customer of your organisation, naively assuming that my fortune in life was dictated by accident of birth, accident of circumstance and the decisions of both those around me and myself. You may well laugh. Clearly you are laughing. To be honest, even I was laughing yesterday when we arrived at our new home to inspect how the drying-out was progressing to find that the kitchen ceiling had completely collapsed.

My only excuse for a lifetime of scepticism is pedantry. For example, when I read this months' horoscope at Astrology.Com, it clearly states that for February 2007:

The second week will see the unexpected rear its head.

Forgive me, but should the word unexpected even appear in a horoscope? If am to expect the unexpected, then what is the point of reading an analysis of what I should expect? Far more unnerving was
Mercury enters Pisces on Feb 2nd but then moves into a reverse motion phase on Feb 14th, charged by a near encounter with Uranus and the Lunar Nodes.
Which sounds a little too much like haemorroids to me. Therefore I would very much appreciate it if my case could be looked at again.

I realise I am in no position to judge these things, but according to my calculations, I have already had everso slightly more than my share of petty domestic bad luck this month so far. I acknowledge that I remain very fortunate in all the ways a person would most like to be and if there is any more than pure chance responsible, I am extremely grateful. But I am still anxious to avoid haemorroids, or indeed any further accident or mishap, at least for the duration of this month.

As I am just one small mortal in a very big universe, I shall present the full itinerary of unfortunate events in this month so far in chronological order:
  1. A mistake with paperwork which may have lost us about £100.
  2. Inability to operate hot water system, resulting in ice cold shower.
  3. Computer dying on me at one of the worst points it might have chosen.
  4. Broken beloved mug #1.
  5. Bad day for [...] on day of move, forcing him to stop overnight half way, at a cost of £50.
  6. The coldest night of the winter so far as he is travelling down.
  7. The flood.
  8. The landlady’s buildings insurance turns out to be invalid.
  9. [...]’s mobile phone – the only mobile phone we have between us – goes missing.
  10. The car breaks down. Perhaps for good.
  11. Broken beloved mug #2.
  12. The oil tank in our new garden springs a leak.
  13. The kitchen ceiling collapses.
I am hoping that the fact that we are now up to number thirteen, on the thirteenth day of the month, might mean something to your good selves; perhaps a good number on which to end a run of bad luck?

If nothing can be done, I should nevertheless warn you that it is impossible to break me this way. I'm sure you knew I was going to say that. Most of the misfortunes aren’t nearly as bad as they might have been. The computer was back on line within the week and I was able to fulfil the most essential address-changing tasks without it. I was not at all hopeful for the fish, used to house temperatures, surviving the trauma of moving as well as a night in the Travelodge carpark in temperatures of –4C, but they made it. We intend to release them into my father’s pond later today and catch them again later in the spring.

The oil tank isn’t actually damaged. The oil was delivered and the tank filled right to the top. The electricity hasn't fully recovered from the flood just yet, the boiler needs servicing in any case, so we haven’t been burning any oil off. In the meantime, the temperature has risen and the oil has expanded from fill to overflowing. It’s not nice, but it can only get better.

The landlady made an innocent mistake which has given the insurance company an excuse to reject a claim for however much it might cost to dry out and fix up four damaged rooms, plus plumbing and electrics. This could have been a complete disaster, but it shouldn’t be. Until the ceiling collapsed, there was nothing that needs doing which [...] couldn’t do by himself, given enough time. We'll work that out somehow.

And yesterday, in a portent I am determined to see as positive, I saw a kestrel in our new garden. A kestrel. I imagine it was a rather disorientated kestrel as it flew right at me while I was sitting in the car, and only narrowly missed colliding with the windscreen. I can't remember what a kestrel means in the folklore of various world cultures, but I am sure that it must mean something good in at least one of them. Unless the poor bird was merely overcome by the oil fumes (no really, it's not nearly that bad).

I look forward to hearing a decision regarding my case, which I realise, in the anticipation of this letter, may already have been made.

Yours faithfully,

[Illegible Squiggle]

The Goldfish (Capricorn, apparently Gemini Rising)


Mary said...

Oh Goldfish...


*new mugs*

Anonymous said...

OH buggery, buggery bugger....

(a) Your landlady should really sort you out alternative accomodation.
(b) DON'T let AJ fix up the electrics/plumbing - if anything goes wrong in the future he may well be liable. There's a new law that everything electrical has to be passed by the council or done by a specifically registered person.

TONNES of hugs to you both

Disgruntled Ladye said...

Wishing you better luck.

Anonymous said...

Been thinking about what happened when we had our min-flood. I know it's tough on your landlady, but she really needs to get someone like ChemDry in to check the structure, electrics and that it's completely dry (otherwise could be unhealthy).

Might also be worth popping down to your local CAB

The Goldfish said...

Thanks folks. :-)

Vic, it's a good point about what jobs ought to be done by pros - I think we'll be okay with the plumbing but I will check out the law on such things.

As for the local CAB...

Trouble is, that whilst the situation isn't very fair on us, the only option other than making the best of it and doing as much of it ourselves as possible is to say, "Right, we're not living here."

If we did that, we have to move our stuff out somewhere (no idea where) and - since all our money has been spent on the deposit, advanced rent and the move itself - declare ourselves homeless whilst we sued the landlady.

If we believed our landlady was a crook at this stage or if we believed the problems at the house to be insurmountable, then we wouldn't have a choice, but that course of action would very much reduce the choices we had - we would be rehoused at the Housing Association's convenience, we might have to spend some weeks or months in B&B accommodation and it seems unlikely we'd get to live anywhere nearly so good for our needs and desires; not a road we want to go down if we can help it.

As it is, we should be able to move into the place within a few weeks - and we can probably cope better living with my folks than we could living in any other temporary home.

Anonymous said...

O Goldfish!

Why is it that moving house seems to bring all the gremlins out of the woodwork?

I read a fabulous account of a move on the C4 Property Forum once. This couple decided to move from one side of the country to the other, and to save money, they hired not a proper removal firm but a "man with a van" outfit.

They get up at 6am on The Day and are all ready to go by 8. Finally at about 2pm they get a call to say the mover had been "held up" by a job in London and "will be a bit late".

He eventually turns up some time after 5pm and by heroic efforts they are on their way by 7. Then the cat in his basket (again to save money, they don't put the pet in a cattery during the move) uses it as a litter tray and it's raining and blowing too hard to open the windows. So they endure this for some miles and then stop, take the cat out of the basket so he can be restrained while they empty it. Whereupon he is sick on the wife.

Then they get lost. Eventually arrive at about 1am at the house, everywhere pitch black, neighbours (not yet met) in bed. Then they find that the keys don't fit; estate agent has sent the wrong ones.

So they decide to sleep in the car. At which point they discover that the car roof leaks.

Next morning they eventually rouse an estate agent, get in, and discover that the previous tenants had had a chip-pan fire which had left the kitchen devastated, before they had done a moonlight flit.

Hope that makes you feel not alone.

BloggingMone said...

Big hugs to you, AJ and everybody else involved in this. Wish I could do something useful.

Wheelchair Dancer said...


This is absurd. If I could change the planetary configurations I would, but hang in there.

Huge hugs. Hugest of hugs.


Kelly said...

I just stopped by to check in on BADD 2007. Clearly, you have your hands full right now, so I'll check back. And yes, your horoscope should not include words like "unexpected". I'm sorry you're dealing with this right now!

I'm getting geared up and thinking about my post for BADD 2007! I hope by then this situation is all sorted out! Hugs!

The Goldfish said...

Thanks everyone.

Good news for Wednesday - the car is now running! So that's a plus. :-)

D Phoenix said...

Thanks for this link. You are a funny, smart, cheeky fish! This made me nod in recognition and laugh. Let me know if you get satisfaction from your petition. I'll have to draft my best letter...