Sunday, 26 September 2010

Pop goes the geyser – but this story has a happy ending

Several years ago my son, then about 12, came staggering through to my bedroom in the middle of a freezing midwinter night. He shook me awake and said, ‘It’s raining, Mom.’

‘I know, it’s okay, go back to sleep,’ I muttered.

‘No, I mean it’s raining inside,’ he said.

And so began our geyser adventures. For reasons that nobody can fathom (and therefore for which nobody can suggest a solution), my geyser goes pop about once every two years. It’s sited above one of the bedrooms, and every time it does this, it ‘rains inside’ – the valve explodes with such force that the water quickly overflows the drip tray.

For many years, I wasn’t aware that geyser repairs/replacements were covered by the mandatory insurance that comes with my mortgage bond, so I spent thousands of rands and hours of difficult logistical organising (I live about 100km from the nearest major centre) every time this happened. Also, as is the way with these kinds of things, the geyser only ever went magoela (a) when the weather was cold, rainy or (usually) both, and (b) on the eve of a public holiday, weekend or (usually) both.

So it was on Thursday morning, a chilly, dreary day before the Heritage Day long weekend. I hadn’t had a good morning anyway. I’d woken up stuck to my pillow courtesy of a weeping miggie bite, and when I looked in the mirror I saw Joseph Merrick looking back at me – another miggie bite, this one on my right eye, had swollen my face alarmingly and given me about three extra eyelids. Then my wobbly dog, in a perfect imitation of a kudu, jumped the fence into the neighbour’s garden – a problem, as from there she runs into the street and I get (entirely justified) complaints from the neighbours about my untrammelled hounds. I was so freaked out that my furious calling only made her frightened, and she refused to come back.

And then the geyser popped. Perfect.

We were due to leave home for our Old Mac Daddy Trailer Park getaway at 1.30pm, so I knew the chances of securing and having a new geyser installed by then were on the shady side of nil. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, eh?

I phoned the Nedic (Nedbank insurance company) helpline, and my first pleasant surprise was Fortunate, the aptly-named woman who answered. When I told her what I was phoning about, she didn’t immediately go into that rigmarole that proves to the helpdesk person that you’re not out to defraud them – usually, a long list of personal facts to corroborate who you are, including but by no means restricted to account number, ID number, postal address, physical address, landline number and cellphone number.

No, indeedy. Instead, what she asked was, ‘Have you switched off the electricity to the geyser and the water supply?’

‘Yes,’ I said.

‘Are you all alright?’ she asked. ‘Nobody’s hurt?’

‘No, we’re all fine,’ I said. ‘But thanks for asking!’

‘Right,’ she said. ‘Is there any damage to ceilings or floors?’

‘Nothing I can’t live with,’ I said.

‘And where do you live?’

I told her.

‘What’s your nearest big centre?’

I told her that, and then said, ‘So I suppose there’s no chance of getting it fixed today, right?’

‘We’ll do what we can,’ Fortunate said, and then and only then proceeded to extract all the relevant personal info.

Our phone conversation finished at 9.10am. At 9.30am I got a phonecall from Nico of Plumb Guarantee. ‘I’m on my way,’ he said. ‘I’ll be there by 11.30am.’

Yeah, right, I thought, and pigs will fly. But, by golly, he arrived smack on time, and by 1pm I had a new geyser, fully installed, and Nico even went to the trouble of carefully replacing the geyser blanket.

So, thanks, Fortunate at Nedic and Nico from Plumb Guarantee, for great service.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: