kaffyr (kaffyr) wrote,
kaffyr
kaffyr

Dept. of You See What You Want to See and Hear What You Want to Hear

Hot Water Blues, or How to Handle Something Badly

Manually crossposted from Dreamwidth, because LJ is being petty and stupid. Again.
Sometimes Dreamwidth/LJ is an important safety valve for venting, and today's one of those days. Part of the venting is because I'm relating a situation that I could have handled much, much better. The other part is screaming in my own private space about people who, despite any missteps on my part, are also assholes.

Almost two months ago, our condo building had to do repairs and replacements of various sorts in our hot water system. To our surprise and delight, the repairs inadvertently gave us extremely hot water every time we turned on the faucets, something that hadn't happened for about 15 years. It was, as I think I mentioned in an earlier post, glorious.

About two and a half weeks ago, that began to change, and our hot water levels started sliding back to what they had been, pre-repairs. I contacted the condo board via its official email account and asked if anyone had adjusted the thermostat down. I got a rather terse response back saying no, that hadn't happened, and that what I was experiencing was just due to fluctuations throughout the day, which was because fewer of our units were empty now.

This was patent nonsense: B and I are retired, we use the water at all times of the day and night (and by night, I mean, I often have to take showers at 2 a.m. because of pain problems that showers can ameliorate.) The hot water went from "really hot, immediately hot, all the time" to ... not.  There was a distinct difference. It wasn't our imagination, it wasn't daily fluctuations, and the idea that it was caused by more units being occupied - there have been no move-ins over the months since the situation started. In fact, at least one unit emptied out.

Still, I decided to wait about 7 days to see if BB's and my perceptions continued. I'll admit, I suspected I'd been lied to, which was probably unfair of me, but a few years ago, a deliberate thermostat down-turn had happened, that someone on the board at the time had been reluctant to tell me when I was the president. Still, I wanted to believe I wasn't being lied to.

(Stop here to note that the email I got did not have a signature on it, so I didn't know if it was sent by our president, our treasurer or our secretary. Based on the way it was written, I thought it might be the treasurer, with whom I'd clashed many, many  years ago about something else. We'd long since become civil again - he's not a bad guy - but ... as it turns out, the email came from the president. Back to the story, but this is germane to the tale.)

The water situation got worse, so on Saturday I sent another email to the condo association account. I made it friendly, I emphasized that I knew there had been no deliberate change - could there be a problem that we should get the water heater company back in for? I told him what I've outlined here. I joked that it did seem like a First World problem, but since we'd all been frustrated at some point or another with the hot water situation, I hoped my concern was understandable.

The response I got was plainly irritated with me; the writer basically told me exactly what I got told in the first email; my concern about a possible heater problem wasn't even addressed, and the language used made it clear that the writer thought I was an idiot and a nuisance. (The dismissive use of my first name, in that fashion obviously meant to signal "You're a dimwitted child" was a particularly grating touch, especially since, once more, the email was unsigned.)

Your Humble Writer was, not to put too fine a point on it, pissed.

BB and I talked it over, and I asked him to contact the president of the condo association, using his personal email, because at least then we'd know who we were talking to. Also, I wanted BB to contact him, because perhaps he'd listen to the man of the house. *eye roll* Yep, I'm pretty sure that's the kind of thing I was dealing with, although, to be fair, I don't think the president realizes that's what he's doing. But I've had that kind of response from him, and from the other two condo board members in the past. No, I'm not being overly sensitive; I know what I'm dealing with. So I figured taking the chance on the personal email was worth the potential for getting a real conversation started. At this time, I was still convinced that the early dismissive emails to me weren't from the president. Since he was the one person on the board whose dismissive attitude was the least troublesome, this was a reasonable assumption, and our tactic was, I thought, a reasonable risk.

Big mistake, and I should have foreseen it, and forestalled it. To make things worse, BB's message, which was a little terse where my emails had been a little prolix, hit very badly. Again, that's something I could have forestalled; I should have told BB to soften his message; I thought the change in style as well as writer was, once more, worth the risk.

So wrong. So very wrong

The president hates getting condo business via his personal email. I knew that, but I let my irritation get the better of my common sense, and my good manners. He raked BB over the coals for using it, and for what he called BB's email's insulting tone, which he said suggested that BB thought he wasn't working hard on condo business. And he repeated to BB what he'd told me - yep, it was him writing me via the condo association account, and not the treasurer. There's no problem, the water temperature just fluctuates, yada-yada.

BB sent an immediate apology for using the personal email, adding that he knew the president worked extremely hard on the association's behalf, which is absolutely true.

And then BB and I decided this was not the hill we wanted to die on.

It was pretty clear that the president and the board had decided to put their fingers in their ears and go la-la-la about the water temperature. BB and I are right about it, and I'm pretty sure the president knows that; he's not a fool. My guess is that they're trying to ignore it because it might be an expensive fix. To which I say ... whatever.

TL;dr - I allowed my irritation over something that is, in the end, really a First World problem, to exacerbate the situation and piss someone off, without solving the problem. I have no one to blame but myself, and believ
e me, I'm doing it. But allowing me to vent here has been a relief.
Tags: home stuff, life in the circus, stupidity, wtf
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