A Week That Will Live in Infamy
Closing ThoughtsOpinion

A Week That Will Live in Infamy

Chana Shapiro shares her string of bad luck, which left her scratching her head wondering who is out to get her.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

It all started around 4 a.m. Sunday night when our alarm’s beeper went off. We got out of bed but found nothing amiss with doors and windows. My husband Zvi disabled the network, and then we got back to sleep. Zvi reset the alarm Monday, and everything seemed to be working fine until 2:30 a.m., when the beeping woke us up. Zvi disabled it again.

We keep our alarm on every night, which obviously we couldn’t do under the circumstances. Instead, to protect ourselves, Zvi placed a heavy wrench under his pillow and I decided that a blast of spray paint would be an effective intruder deterrent. I put a can of high gloss black on my night table. We still haven’t heard back from the fellow who monitors our security system, so we keep our weapons handy. In the meantime, let me ask, how would you feel if you depended on a big wrench and spray paint to get some sleep?

Monday, I opened my email to find an e-invoice for our new roof. We had made some changes to the installation, rendering the bill incorrect. I called the roofer, who told me to change the amount on the e-bill and pay with our credit card as planned. When I clicked on the space where I was instructed to make the change, the original charge went through, meaning I paid the wrong amount.

The transaction was immediate. A call to the credit card company informed us of a fee to stop the payment, and the cancellation charge was substantial. That’s how I learned that if an online bill is incorrect, don’t try to fix it yourself unless you have a tech degree.

Tuesday, I drove to Goodwill. The night before, I had crammed boxes and bags into my wagon’s “wayback.” At the Goodwill drop off, the rear door wouldn’t open, and I couldn’t unlock it with my car key or the driver side master lock. While the Goodwill worker and a few amused bystanders watched, I climbed over the back seat and dragged everything out, only to discover that the overload had pushed against the inside door lock lever so that it couldn’t move. I released the lever, emptied the contents and climbed out. The worker gave me a receipt and left with a full cart. The next day, I realized that I had also given Goodwill a bag of my dry cleaning.

Wednesday, our oven broke. To be more precise, we have a double oven, and the pair are connected to a single master board. Consequently, both ovens broke. The repairman explained that they couldn’t be fixed because the parts are no longer available. Apparently, appliances become obsolete when they reach the ripe old age of 12. He then assessed our frequently malfunctioning 12-year-old cooktop, which must also be replaced. It’ll be a while until the new appliances arrive, giving us ample time to test the capabilities of our George Foreman grill. Did I hear you ask how much this is going to cost? Plenty.

Thursday, Zvi and I realized that it was cold in our house, and our thermostats agreed. At the end of the day a heating pro came and declared that our furnace was fine, but our gas line had been shut off and was locked.

Friday, I spent several hours doing detective work with the gas company, which finally concluded that there had been quite a mess-up, and they’d immediately have the gas line opened. Half the investigation time was spent getting the $300 gas line reconnection fee removed. Five days later (another way of looking at “immediately”) the gas was restored. You might think that living without hot water or heat can be a grand adventure in flexibility and fortitude, but that’s what the Polar Bear Club people who go swimming in frigid water and Colorado winter campers believe. As for us, we learned that one can never have too many space heaters.

There is a possibility that these incidents were random and they happen to everybody, but it’s also possible that we’re victims of malevolence, suffering from someone zapping us with the evil eye. If you’re mad at me for any reason, I apologize. Just let it go already. OK? Enough is enough.

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