Friday, 4 July 2014

Elevator Woes

The elevator in my building is acting up, again. This infernal old machine and I share a common fate; we are both dying slowly, taking a couple of years to go from fully functional to being on our last legs. It is dying one piece at a time. The significant difference is that the elevator can be repaired; it is a machine.

It's latest performance has been a repeat of past performances, where it stops about a foot higher than the floor for which it is intended, making a rather large step to get into and out of the elevator. The elevator, in short, transmogrifies itself into one big stair. For most people this is but a mere inconvenience; for me it is a matter of life and living. I am trapped in my home in this situation, not for the first time.

At least I was able to get into my apartment yesterday, thanks to help from the fire department and some quick workarounds by the elevator company. At least I was not trapped in the elevator, or worse yet, did not fall from the step as did an elderly man across the hall. His incident ended up with him getting seven stitches to repair the cut in his arm from where it hit the edge of the elevator carriage. At least I am home and safe.

The real issue is the age of the elevator. It is about 40 years old and, while well maintained, it is time for a replacement. Our condo board has been working on this for about year now. The first step was to get a new elevator service contract in place, the old on having expired and the previously service provided having provided large bills with small service. This took several months to get in place.

The next step was to get an assessment of the elevators in our complex. There are three buildings, each with its own elevator, each elevator being in varying degrees of distress and age. This process took a couple of months and produced a report with which we were able to negotiate a replacement contract with our service provider. These negotiations took a few months as well.

The final step is now scheduled; replacements of all the elevator parts except the carriage itself will start in "A Building" in October, then "C Building" in November, and finally "B Building" in January. I live in "B Building". This means the elevator will be forced to limp along with constant attention for a while yet. It sounds familiar to me. It is another thing we have in common.

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