Friday, March 13, 2009

The Price You Pay for a Cheap Apartment in a Nice Part of Town

It's 8:15 on a Friday night. Our kitchen is dismantled with the sink and counter top clean and the under-sink cupboard cleared out. Our kitchen faucet runs like a circulating water fountain.

We have been waiting for nearly two hours for our landlord's repairman to show up and stop the dribbling. But I guess the fact that he is late should come as no surprise.

Our first encounter with repairman George* was shortly after we moved in. The toilet was continually running and the shower faucet was dripping. Thinking ourselves good tenants, we called up the landlord and told him of the water going down the drain. He sent out George.

He entered our apartment on a Saturday morning with the stench of cigarette smoke and an unending stream of words ("Urgh" "Uh-huh" "Okay" "There's that" "Now" and on and on...). After assessing the problems, Brian accompanied him to the basement to find the building's water shut off. He came up a few minutes later with wide eyes and a frightened look on his face. "I don't think he has a clue what he's doing down there," he told me. "He's just turning any knob he finds." However, a few minutes later, George returned, saying he'd found it, and proceeded to attack our plumbing problems. Every few minutes, he would call us in to show us the cracked washer or the flushing mechanism. Or to ask "You gotta rag? I need a rag!" Uh, we just moved 3,200 miles. We didn't bring our rags with us.

Not about to spend my whole Saturday looking over this guy's shoulder, I decided to take some laundry down to the washroom. I walked down with my heaping basket and groaned. The floor was covered in 1/2 an inch of water.

I ran upstairs and yelled "George, we've got a problem. The basement is flooded."

He looked up and said "Urgh - I must have turned the wrong knob."

Ya think? He accompanied me back downstairs.

"We gotta get this water outta here. You gotta broom?" he asked, looking at me. (Didn't bring my broom with me either.) But no problem. Other residents were wandering in to do their Saturday laundry, so George turned to them. "You gotta broom?" he asked each person who walked in until he found someone willing to sacrifice their broom to the cellar floor. So nice to meet you, neighbors! I was thinking.

He found the source of the water and turned it off (the steam boiler was leaking from being overfilled with water.)

Ready by this time to get him out of our building as soon as possible, I offered to work downstairs pushing the water over to the sump pump. He went back upstairs to finish the job he had begun.

Needless to say, we were not eager to have him back. However, a year later, when the ceiling fan chain broke and the bathroom sink would no longer drain, we decided to call him in again. We could never have imagined the result.

By the time he had finished, not only was our bathroom sink not draining, but also our bathroom sink faucet was steadily dripping. Long before the time the hardware store opened in the morning, the basin would fill with the water and run over onto our floor. To buy ourselves some time, Brian and I rigged up a device with a plastic bag, a rubber band, and a stick to divert the flowing water over to the bathtub. We finished up that job ourselves the following weekend. To his credit, George did fix the ceiling fan chain.


Well, George has come and gone, and it appears that he managed to fix our flowing kitchen faucet as well as a leak in the drain. As he walked out, we breathed a sigh of relief, and Brian said "That was remarkably uneventful."

Amen and thanks be to God!

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of those being insulted.


Trespasser said...

"Sump Pump" sounds like a magical animal that lives in basements and swallows excess water. Please tell me it's true.

Marianne Elixir said...

This is hilarious (as an outsider). Glad to hear your last encounter was uneventful!

Aly sun said...

Wow. As property managers, I can't imagine having someone that incompetent working for us. My personal hubby/handyman does all the repairs himself and I make sure he doesn't wreak like cigaret smoke before he enters people's homes (plus I provide him with lots of clean rags). Sorry no vacancies at this time. ;)

meg said...

"name have been changed to protect those being insulted" haha. hilarious, not the mishaps just your storytelling skillz

Sarah said...

What a nightmare! Glad it worked out this time!