The Sick Pet vs. the Extremely Secure Home

One of the main reasons Mr. NYer and I decided to buy this house here in Montgomery was that it was new construction.  Well, to be more precise, it’s that it wasn’t old.

As loyal readers will remember, we’ve already done the older house thing.  Our Staten Island house turned 90 last year, and getting it to that blessed age took continuous infusions of care and cash.   I was explaining this to a colleague here and he knew exactly what I was talking about.  “Yeah,” he said.  “Living in an old house is like having a sick pet.”

I immediately flashed on the long illness of our most-recently departed cat, Spalding, who, over the last 18 months of her life cost us more than I spent on my first new car.  Perhaps even more than we spent on our second new car.

RIP Spalding.  I hope the new owners don’t stumble across your remains in the back of the garden.

A new house, we figured, wouldn’t need a new roof, furnace, floors, windows, kitchen, bath, deck or water main for awhile.  We wouldn’t be struggling to control an over-planted garden, or worry about having a plumber on speed dial.

Instead, we’ve landed in the Invisible Zone.  Not only is our house new, but so is our street.  And so is our community, Lockwood.  It’s easy enough to help people find Lockwood — we just mention that it’s the old Standard Country Club, which was Montgomery’s Jewish country club.

The problem surfaced almost as soon as we took possession.  We had no TV (nor telephone or broadband), and hulu is fine if you don’t … mind … long … pauses … and … stops.  So we were eager to re-establish our Netflix account and start catching up on our backlog of fine flicks.  Except when Mr. NYer sat down at the laptop to reawaken the dormant account, the computerized address system told him ours didn’t exist.

Having worked in direct mail, I knew immediately what was going on.  The Post Office has, in fact, acknowledged the street, but businesses that take addresses online don’t trust the consumer to accurately enter his own address.  And for good reason — it’s amazing how many people can’t render their zip code properly.  So they practice what’s sometimes called “address hygiene” and employ address verification systems.  But–and here’s the rub–they don’t update them on a real-time basis.  I knew we were in for more of this.

And more of it we got.  UPS denied the address, and it took two phone calls, precise directions, and three delivery attempts before THAT package arrived.  We haven’t tried FedEx yet.

Turns out the cable company — the one that has the monopoly at Lockwood — hasn’t laid cable at this end yet, so we still don’t have TV.  Instead, we turned to AT&T for phone and DSL.  They had laid cable — fiber optic, as it turns out — but there were problems with the microchip cards in the hubs.  Or some such thing.  It only took two days to work that out.

We’ve still not convinced the New York Times that our address exists.  It’s been 10 days now that they’ve been “checking with the local distributor.”  We haven’t heard back.  But Charlie, one of two Barney Fifes who work our gate (we live in a gated community), did offer that one other resident got the Times — only the Sunday Times, mind you — and the delivery arrived around 9 pm on Saturday night.

So Charlie talked to the Times courier, who helpfully gave him a phone number for us to call.  Yep. 1-800-NYTIMES.  Mr. NYer thinks he’ll have to lie in wait this weekend for the courier and demand the name and number of his supervisor.

In the “making lemonade” mode, I try pointing out to an increasingly annoyed Mr. NYer that at least we’re secure.  After all, if no one can find us …

It turns out that we’re safe from “walk-in” miscreants, too.  I arrived home from work one day — a process that involved pulling out of the garage at work, driving about 12 minutes, picking up the black remote tag and waving it at the gate nearest our house, then hitting the button on the garage door opener just as  I turn the corner to our little street so that the garage is waiting open for me to pull in without hesitation.  Such a civilized thing!  Anyhow, I walked into the kitchen from the garage to encounter Mr. NYer, who informed me just how secure we were.

“Do you realize you can’t walk out of this place?”

I asked him what he meant, and he explained, “There is no pedestrian gate –the only way to leave is to drive out.”

As if there were sidewalks once you got outside.  Yup, it’s a whole new world.

BTW, folks, you can now follow me on Twitter.  If I figure out how to Tweet, that is.  I’m lifelongnyer there.  I’d be happy to have you follow me.

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One Response

  1. It was interesting to find out that we were on no emergency list of existing houses (fire, ambulance, police,etc.) until we were issued a house number. Unfortuantely, we had the house for at least three years and everything was sent to Lot 1. I was really impressed when the town clerk let us pick out our own house number!

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