No Gas Until Christmas

Last week we received a notice there was going to be a house meeting. We never attend knowing we will not understand, but our next door neighbor said we should. He explained based on the square meters of our apartment, we had great influence in the decision making. One agenda item was replacing gas pipes. It seems the BKV building across the street from us, the company responsible for all public transportation in the city, has discovered a gas leak in their basement. These pipes needed to be replaced. They continued under our building so all of us were affected.

What we did not realize was the timing or the impact. On Monday, Ron was up early to shower before his appointment with the anesthesiologist for his Tuesday surgery. When I went to shower, there was no hot water. I immediately blamed some downdraft blowing out the pilot light on the hot water heater, but then I noticed the light was blinking on the heater for the radiators. Bother were avoiding being relight.

No gas! Our neighbor came running over when he saw the whites of my eyes, chattering a mile a minute in Hungarian.  I must have looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights, but it did not stop him from continuing to ramble on. I started calling everyone I knew who could possibly translate. Of course, most people did not answer their phone, but thankfully, our friend András did.

What I learned was that the gas was being turned off that day, Monday. Men from the gas company would be coming to remove the gas meter. There will be no gas until December 23rd. This was not good news under any circumstances, but in December it does send a shiver down one’s spine.

As of Monday, we have no heat, no hot water for showering or washing clothes, and no stove for cooking. Due to my newly renewed culinary interests, we do have an electric crock pot. It will be a savior keeping us from having to eat out. Monday was our first night without heat; it was not too cold. We did fine.

Tuesday, we were up at 5:30am to get Ron to the hospital for his surgery. He was to be there by 7am the latest. Our kitchen sink has an electric water heater, so we were able to get hot water for his sponge bath. I could not go that route, so I took a freezing cold shower. Truly not an experience one wants to repeat.

Tuesday, we were up at 5:30am to get Ron to the hospital for his surgery. He was to be there by 7am the latest. Our kitchen sink has an electric water heater, so we were able to get hot water for his sponge bath. I could not go that route, so I took a freezing cold shower. Truly not an experience one wants to repeat.

After Ron was taken off to surgery at 7:45, I went home again. Our neighbor showed up again chattering like a magpie. Again, I called András. People from the gas company were going to be in and out all day. First two men came to take pictures of our meter and then remove it. A bit later, another man came with a new gas meter that is now sitting on the floor. Because I wanted to be at the hospital when Ron’s surgery was over; I gave our neighbor keys.

Back at home I found that one of the gas pipes had been cut off. Thankfully, it was in a closet where the meter lives, so didn’t matter. A different worker made an appearance to perform the soldering task on a cuff put on the new pipe. He tried to explain it may damage the outer wall. What I thought this meant was that they would have to break through the cabinet. It seemed the original pipe was too close to the side wall. When I yet again returned home, it was apparent it just created small burn marks in the paint, but it is low enough that our shoe stand will cover it.

Ron is various stages of grogginess as I went back and forth to the hospital. His doctor looks like a teenager, but is from Chicago, so English is no problem. His surgery went well, but they were keeping him overnight.

Today, Wednesday he was able to return home leaving a warm hospital for a cold apartment. He is not allowed to shower until the stitches are removed on December 24th. Merry Christmas! In the meantime, he has to administer a shot in the arm each night.

Dinner is in the crock pot cooking. Last night I survived the cold with a couple of extra layers of clothes so it should not be too bad. A hot meal makes all the difference. A second blanket does wonders as well. Friends have offered a shower, so I will take them up on the offer.