After taking advantage of Nate and Rebekah's generous hospitality long enough, I realized it was time for Linus and me to find a more permanent temporary home in DC--one where I could have cats and ransom my beloved Pepper from my parents' house. Through my connections with a neighborhood maven, I heard of a beautiful townhouse for rent five blocks from where I was living. I jumped on the opportunity, advertised the other two bedrooms on Craigslist, and after a hectic four-week roommate-hunting period was all set to move in.
Then the day after we all moved in one of my roomies detected a gas leak. We thought it might be in the basement crawl space, so we brought some plumbers out. Three separate plumbers came out over the course of four (heatless and stoveless) days, took a look at the 12" x 18" entrance to the crawl space, and unceremoniously left. A fourth might have been willing to chance it, but discovered that the gas was running through illegal copper pipes and refused to touch the job for fear of liability issues.
Finally Plumber #5, clearly an outside-of-the box kind of guy, conducted a more systematic inquiry and found the leak--right by the gas meter, where anyone could have turned it off.
So now we have heat and--we hope--the problem is fixed. The owner (who didn't know about any of this before Plumber #4 pointed it out) plans to have all the illegal pipes taken out and replaced with...whatever it is you're supposed to run gas through, but obviously none of us is eager to do this in winter as it involved shutting off the heat for several days while contractors rip up the basement and, quite possibly, the kitchen. So we're going to try to get through the winter and hope nothing else happens. Not the ideal solution, but there it is.
Really makes you rethink the joys of home ownership.