I’m finally that guy.
“Well,” I said to Darling as I walked into the living room from being outside. “I’m finally that guy.” I have to admit I was grinning from ear to ear.
She just looked up from the book she was reading on the iPad (shameless plug;it was the Kindle app). “What guy? The guy who finally published a book?”
I shook my head.
When we moved into this house I noticed that we were the old people on the block. Up and down the street are young families with small children.
“Ha!” I said to Darling right after we moved in. “I’m going to be the old guy on the corner yelling at the kids to get off my lawn.”
Let me be clear here. I didn’t yell at any kids to get off my lawn today. However…
I have to give you a little background. When we moved into this house our first month’s water bill was over $200. I’m thinking maybe I’m paying for catching up the bill or for some extreme water usage as we were making the needed repairs to move into the place. The bill certainly seemed too high, but I’ll let the first one slide. We also installed the new sprinkler system which was running every morning, so I was sure that made an adverse impact on the water bill (although it sure helped the front yard, where Darling erased the tree).
I turned off the automatic watering and we kept an eye on our water usage. The toilets were fixed (we still need to jiggle the little handles – I really miss the toilets from the other house). Our next water bill was still over $150.
“Absolutely no way.” I was annoyed. I did some calculations and figured we were using an average of 4.65 gallons of water per minute, every minute, every hour, every day for thirty-six days. “Just not possible.” Irate would be a mild term for what I was feeling.
We called the city and they explained that they were right and we were just consuming too much water. After much discussion they sent a guy out who essentially looked at the meter and told us the same thing.
I worked in the chemical industry for seventeen years, in the actual processing plant for over half that time, and I can tell you that meters do fail. The city guy was nice enough, and it didn’t seem worth discussing with him. “Well,” he said, “you’ll have to pay to have the meter calibrated. Or I can just track your usage and get back to you in about a month.” He paused and shuffled his feet. “I can’t do anything about the water you already used, though.” We agreed that I would pay the bill and that he would track the water usage.
The next month our bill was just a bit over a hundred dollars and we looked over the data. It all seemed pretty clear cut. We’re obviously water pigs, even though there are only two of us here and we were specifically watching our water usage.
In order to track the water usage the city guy either installed a meter or updated the one that is there. He showed me the little digital readout device in the water line right under this little black cover. It is a really nice device and very clear. I can use it to calibrate my water meter (and I’ll do it soon).
Here’s why I’m that guy. In the past number of weeks I’ve been checking the meter occasionally, checking the water flow, mostly just keeping an eye on it. I have noticed that the water meter cover is open quite often and that has baffled me. Today I caught the little culprit.
I noticed the cover was off the meter this morning and put it back firmly in place, shaking my head. As I was putting some mulch around the trees I noticed a little guy with the meter cover off in front of my neighbor’s house.
I stood up. “Hey!” I yelled. “What are you doing?”
That kid jumped about twelve feet into the air. I think he muttered “nothing.”
“Stay out of the meter. And don’t ever get into my meter cover. You hear me?”
The little guy just said something I guessed was an affirmative and grabbed his scooter, disappearing around the other side of a truck parked in the street. He didn’t go pedal up the street or down the street, but just stayed out of my line of sight. I went back to putting mulch around the tree. When I straightened up I saw the little guy moving at a fast clip around the corner at the far end of the block.
So now I’m that guy, the old man on the corner who yells at kids to stay off his property.
I feel really good about that.
The only problem is that the cover on the water meter is still lifted off every time I go check the mail. What's with that?