Actually “home”

Readers of this blog may recall that before I left for Australia, I was required to vacate my flat in favor of a small hotel-type room for a week, while the fire alarms in my building were completely re-wired. On my return I was put in the same position as the job was still not done, and so I spent the last two nights in the same sort of room; confusingly, it was the room in the same location but three floors up (405, not 105), which meant that more than once I tried my key in the wrong door before realizing my mistake. (I apologise sincerely and profusely if I frightened the guest in 105 this week with my continued attempts to enter the room.) This morning at work I got the call that my flat was habitable again, much to my relief, and so it is from my own flat that I write tonight. Hoorah! Even more amusingly, because I got the call when I had not planned to drop everything and pack up to vacate the temporary premises, and apparently the room needed to be prepped for the next guest, some housekeeping staff actually cleaned up all of my stuff while I was in the office, and delivered it to my flat a few blocks away. My cold goods were put in the fridge, my toothbrush in the bathroom, and my clothes in the bedroom. What service! One can comment on my occasional grumblings as concerns life in Britain, but one thing that I definitely do love is this housekeeping staff where I live.

I do admit to being puzzled, however. The housekeeping staff are an example of unbelievably efficient service. The whole “it takes a month to redo the fire alarms” seems a bit on the other extreme to me. Even worse, the main lift in my office building was taken out of commission in November, and I heard today it is not due to be returned to service until February. It irks me a bit because the facility is no longer as handicap-accessible due to this project. My confusion also arises because I don’t remember these sorts of infrastructure projects taking so long in America. I feel as though I have no idea what they are doing; in three months you could build a new small building from scratch including a lift. What about this is taking so long, and why is there never a contingency plan? Couldn’t my flat have been fitted with battery operated, non-networked (!) fire alarms while these were being rewired? Isn’t lift maintenance a thing to do quickly and carefully? Why is so much maintenance work being done over the period of time including Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year’s? Inquiring minds want to know. I feel as though in America there would be more workers putting in overtime to get these sorts of jobs done faster, as an extended “inconvenience” would not be tolerated. Or am I misremembering? The longer I’m away from America, the harder it is to separate fact from rosy-glow memories.

Regardless, I am “home” now in my own flat, and now I have suitcases to unpack from both the long trip abroad and the make-shift move to the temporary accommodations. So of course I am blogging to avoid unpacking…

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3 responses to “Actually “home”

  1. > My confusion also arises because I don’t remember these sorts of infrastructure projects taking so long in America.

    Perhaps they don’t take any time at all there? Like the re-inforcing of the levees intended to protect New Orleans? 🙂

  2. Howard, stay on topic. This post was NOT about projects at the scale of the Army corps of engineers. Fixing a lift and rewiring the fire alarms in privately owned buildings are not related to massive public service projects run by the government such as dealing with the levees in NOLA.

  3. It would be sad if the USA were only competent at small infrastructural projects!

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