Our nonexistent haunted house

For the last week or so I’ve been gradually getting the utilities connected for the new house. It’s been a pain in the ass mostly.

Phone service was the easiest. Verizon’s website lets you set up an account online, and they even give you five phone numbers to choose from. The service was activated an hour after I filled out the form. The other utilities, though, haven’t been so easy. After getting phone service, I tried to order Speakeasy DSL, only to find, to my absolute horror, that we’re 16,000 feet from the CO, which is too far for ADSL. So I’ll have to leave my servers in a closet at Mom’s house, and I’ve ordered Comcast cable internet. We’ll see how that goes.

Electricity was next. Without that, you can’t watch movies. I used PGE’s online new service form to order service, but I never got the confirmation email they promised me. A phone call today revealed that they had received my order just fine and had scheduled service to start on the correct date, but for some reason hadn’t sent the confirmation. No big deal.

Next up was water, which I guess is what people drank before there was Coke. It’s also what you use in showers and toilets, although I think toilets would be a lot cleaner if you used Coke, and a morning Coke shower sure would wake me up right quick. Anyway, the water company doesn’t have an online signup form, although they do say you can email them to start new service. After my experience with PGE, I called them instead, and that was that.

Garbage was a no-go. Apparently they won’t start new garbage pickup unless you give them your landlord’s address in addition to your own, and I didn’t have that on hand. Why the garbage company needs more information than all the other utilities beats me, but they can wait a few days.

Finally, there was natural gas. I had filled out an online order at NW Natural’s website last week, but they hadn’t gotten back to me, so I gave them a call. Turns out they had no record of my order. In fact, on further inspection, it turns out they had no record of my house. They just couldn’t find it. According to them, there’s no natural gas line running to that house.

Coincidentally, it just so happens that I work for the company that provides NW Natural with their address data based on county tax assessor records. I had my boss run a search for my house and, lo and behold, it wasn’t there. Not only was the house not in the list of gas customers, it had never been a gas customer. In fact, it wasn’t even in the list of non-customers. It wasn’t in any list at all. According to the county’s records, the house does not exist. Every other house on the block does (and they’re all gas customers, by the way), but my house is nowhere to be found.

This is highly odd, considering that the house has been there for at least 5 years, and was lived in during that time (and I assume the tenants liked having hot water and heat during the winter, so they must have had gas service). As I walked out of my boss’s office, he quipped, “Maybe the house is haunted.” That was a terrible, terrible thing to say, considering what book I just read.

Now I’m scared. What if the house is 1/4” bigger on the inside than on the outside? What if it starts growing doors and dark hallways into nowhere and deep, neverending staircases? Agh.

Update: Just got a call from NW Natural in response to my original online order. This time they seemed to have no problem finding the house and activating service. What’s up with that?