"Ummm, they're digging up the sidewalk again, aren't they?"
"Well, yes, they are."
"Okay, what's up?"
"Well, I can't get in the house."
I walk out onto our balcony to see my husband stranded on the sidewalk because one of our gates is blocked by the hole Entergy workers are digging, the other by the excavator itself. I can't suppress a bit of a giggle as I tell my husband through the cell phone, "Well, you could just climb over the fence..."
"You have got to be kidding me."
"...or you can wriggle past the caterpillar tracks and get in that way."
"Okay, I guess I'll try that."
"I'll see you in a bit, then."
Yes, it was happening for a third time when I got home from picking up the little guy after work.
At the time I got home, I did manage to get into our house before the jackhammering began. It took me another few moments, however, to realize that if Dan couldn't get in the house, I couldn't get out.
This Entergy crew couldn't detect any gas leaks with their instruments even after they doubled the size of the first hole dug...but shortly after Dan made it into the house, he went to turn on the faucet and asked me why we didn't have any water. A peek over the balcony gave me a glimpse of a couple of the workers frantically trying to work in what had become a water-filled trench - Dan found out from them that a worker had accidentally stepped on the water pipe to our house and it shattered under his foot. Yes, the Sewerage and Water Board were called by them shortly afterwards.
I couldn't believe how quickly the Entergy crew cleared out of there, though, once they managed to reduce the trench flood to a hefty misting. It was as though they were expecting their butts to be handed to them once the S. & W. B. came. They needn't have worried - it took another hour and a half before water was restored to our faucets.
The lingering legacy from this sick comedy of errors, though, is, nearly a week later, still wide open and awaiting completion:
"If you smell anything, don't call Entergy!" was Dan's (mostly) joking cry.
I wish it were really riotously funny. It's just kinda sad at this point.
I feel the most pity, really, for our tenants who keep calling Entergy and expecting them to clear this up. The people doing the calling have only been here for over a year. It's only reasonable for them to believe that those charged with maintaining the city's utilities and infrastructure will finish what they start - right? That any whiff of natural gas will lead to the source of said whiff and it will then be plugged, never to rear its ugly, potentially lethal scent. That no other utilities will be harmed in the repairs of the gas lines. That, once the repairs in the hole are done, the hole will be at least filled in with dirt and the paving of the area that was excavated will conclude these adventures.
These tenants of ours couldn't even look me in the eye when I said hello, like they were considering it their fault that these guys weren't completely doing their jobs. And it isn't our tenants' fault. If you are smelling gas, you call, right? Especially if there are no gas lines running into the house anymore...
Trouble is, I think all of this idiocy may truly cause us to reconsider calling those charged with maintaining what lies underground simply because we keep seeing how badly it is managed.
Unless, of course, we take matters into our own hands.
If the trench is still wide open by the end of the week, I may get my neighbor to put his 'dozer to work on filling it in. If that isn't available, I'm gonna need a bunch of volunteers with shovels. Keeping you all posted...
*Oh, and this is one hell of a way to commemorate my fifth blogiversary. Just sayin'.