You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

When I moved, I created checklists that mirrored each other. The checklist for San Francisco looked like this:

  • Disconnect internet service
  • Disconnect electricity
  • Cancel gym membership

And the list for Asheville looked like this:

  • Connect internet service
  • Connect electricity
  • Find gym
  • etc

One thing that I didn’t even consider was that services might not be equal.

I arrived home on Friday afternoon after being out of town for work all week. I collected my mail and noticed there was a bright blue hang tag on my door, saying my gas service had been cancelled because I hadn’t paid the bill. I was perplexed, because if there’s one thing I’m anal about, it’s paying bills on time. I entered the house and noticed that the gas furnace wasn’t working. I logged onto my computer and checked the most recent online payments for my electricity bill. They had cleared each month, and money had been withdrawn from my bank account. I called the number on the hangtag to understand what had happened. The customer service representative asked for my account number, and when I gave it to her, she told me that wasn’t the correct number, that it should be many more digits. I told her that I was looking at my Duke Energy Progress bill, and that was the number on the statement. She said that was the electricity company. I asked her, “Well, who are you?” She told me she was from the gas company. I continued to be perplexed. In California, we had PG&E, Pacific Gas & Electric. Wasn’t the electricity company the same one that oversaw gas, too? In Asheville, it is not. She asked me if I had a gas tank in my yard. I told her no, but that I did have a gas line that ran from the street to my basement, and asked if they would be the company that serviced that. She said yes. I told her that I’ve had gas since I moved in in September, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. Patiently, she tried to find my account by my name (no luck), my social security number (no luck), then my address. She said that the account was in a company’s name, but they had recently stopped service. Oh, my goodness. The former owners had never shut service, and I assumed that gas was included in the electric bill, and this was a perfect storm of assumptions. She said the first appointment for someone to come out and reconnect service would be Monday. I quickly looked at the weather forecast. Saturday, low of 37 and high of 50. Sunday, low of 46 and high of 60. I wouldn’t freeze and I didn’t think that was “temps low enough to be dangerous” territory. I thanked her and hung up.

As I sit in my parka and scarf, under a blanket and sipping a cup of hot tea, I wonder how many other things that I think are under control that I simply don’t know.

8 thoughts on “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

  1. Hi Lori! I’ve commented before that I am a long time reader, and I live in North Asheville. I’m also a bit shy. When I read your account of being stranded in Charlottesville, I thought, “If we were friends, she could have called me for a ride!” All this to ask, would you like to meet up for coffee sometime? It would be lovely to meet the owner of the first blog I ever read.

  2. Yikes, Lori. That sounds like moving to another country! 🙂
    Stay warm; hope everything works out okay…

    Guess i shouldn’t suggest you watch the Winter Olympics, huh?

    • It was a good weekend for exploring other places around Asheville (including watching the Winter Olympics in a toasty room)! 🙂 Gas company is coming tomorrow morning, and I’m excited to have heat again!

  3. This reminded me of when Meredith and I first moved to Maine and had to learn to keep track of our heating oil supply. We spent a _very very_ cold New Year’s weekend under blankets, around an electric space heater, when we discovered what happens when you forget to call for refills.

  4. Hi, Lori. I’ve just stumbled across your blog at the suggestion of a former neighbor. Up until a year or so ago, I was the owner of your house and have been enjoying your adventures. If you ever have any questions, please be in touch. It’s a great house…you’ll love it and especially love the wonderful front porch. It’s the best one in the neighborhood!

    • It’s so lovely to meet you, Marian! Oh my goodness, I have simply *loved* living here over the past six months. This is my dream house; it’s so warm and welcoming and the front porch is divine! One of my favorite things to do is sit on the porch swing as the sun is setting and read for a while. I hope you are as happy in your new home as I am here. Thank you for reaching out!

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