Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Don’t you just hate it when you’ve given yourself permission to take a little well-deserved nap in the middle of the day (even though you hadn’t done anything all that tiring) and you’re 30 seconds into that deep, luscious daytime dreamland when the screeching fire alarm starts ceaselessly jack-hammering in one of your ears and out the other?

On April 15, I was just about to take a little Saturday snooze, when HONK, HONK!  HONK!  Since we had had our annual Fire Alarm testing just the day before, I assumed it was a false alarm.  Nevertheless, I scrambled downstairs to head off the Fire Department (who come automatically).
In the lobby I read the Fire Alarm Panel, (which I had just been taught how to read) assuming it would say “low battery” or something, but NO, it said the dreaded words “Boiler Room.”  Then I instantly remembered our shower was not that hot that AM.  OMG, I thought, “Did 2 and 2 make fire?”

Heart pounding, I grabbed my keys and ran toward the Boiler Room, smelling burning metal.  Hearing a roar and feeling the heat, I threw open the doors and saw actual flames coming out of the boiler.  I could already hear the fire trucks approaching, but in my panic, I called 911 anyway.  No law against making sure, just in case that siren I heard wasn’t headed elsewhere.  My next panic call was to John McLean, our former trusty Building Manager who is my constant mentor and moral support.  Like ex-presidents, only John knows the tremendous responsibility of running this building and he remains a loyal friend to Pac Tower.

While everyone milled about on the sidewalk, the Fire Department examined the building from head to toe, making sure we were out of danger.  An energetic female fire fighter didn’t hesitate to scale 12 flights of stairs (two stairs at a time, no less). It made me feel proud and old at the same time.
The plumbers came quickly, accessed the damage and by evening, had disassembled and hauled off chunks of the charred metal thing affectionately known as “our boiler.”  It served us many years but now it was time for new.

So now the heat was on to get a new boiler (because cold showers are considered a torture by the Geneva Convention).  We needed a new boiler STAT!  No surprise, you can’t get a giant, room-sized industrial-strength boiler at Home Depot.  No!  It’s a SPECIALTY!  It has to be ORDERED and ASSEMBLED and TRUCKED to San Diego from the exotic location of OXNARD!  A FORKLIFT is going to be involved!  AFTER that, the entire operation is going to have to be piped and connected and heated up.  

As we patiently waited for the undertaking to be over, all of us became more and more demoralized and disgusted with ourselves, as we smelled more and more like Mount Everest hikers.  Finally the day came when we could all enjoy (although separately!) the luxury of a soothing hot shower.  It was a good thing!  Yes the showers were imperfect, but a part was ordered and tweaking will have taken place by the time you read this – so SHOWER ON!
Karyl Miller,  Building Manager