Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Great Flood

 Next on our list of excitement was the leak in our kitchen ceiling. My mother and I both had a friend staying over for Shabbat (not the same one obviously) and both wanted to take a shower Saturday morning. My mother's friend went first (and last for the next week as it turned out). I passed by the bathroom and heard a strange gurgling noise, so I looked down and noticed that a brook had sprung up in the bathroom doorway within the last 5 minutes where none had previously been. I mentioned to my mother that we had a slight problem and she just sighed. A few minutes later I was sitting downstairs with my father, Michael the aforementioned engineer (among many other things), and Michael's son. Suddenly we heard a dripping sound and I cringed. The ceiling in between the kitchen and the living room was dripping. I stuck a rag underneath the drip and ran upstairs to tell my mom's friend that her shower had come to an abrupt end. By the time I came back down, there were two other drip sites. I put down some more rags in the hope that it would stop dripping once the shower was off. About 5 minutes later, we all heard a whoooosh. Whoosh is a nice sound to hear if you're standing next to a waterfall. Whoosh is not a nice sound to hear in your kitchen. Although when I walked into the kitchen, I was in fact standing next to a waterfall. I ran to get a bucket since everyone else was still sitting frozen on the couch. The waterfall had formed in the nice new light fixture we had installed when we redid the kitchen. Even with the buckets (I'd gone for a second one), there was water accumulating all over the floor.
Something had to be done, so Michael and I went out in the hall looking for the water meter closet with the meters for every apartment. We found it on the bottom floor (I would recommend to everyone to figure out where their water meter is in case of an emergency such as this). Michael found the meter that was rapidly spinning and turned it off. Then we followed the pipes and realized that we had turned off the neighbor's water. So we quickly turned it back on and then stole the knob, since for some reason ours doesn't have one. I noticed however that our meter wasn't really spinning all that much, leading us to conclude that there probably wasn't any purpose in turning it off anyway. I returned the neighbor's knob and we went back upstairs. My mother, in the meantime, had turned off the water in the apartment from the box in our kitchen with all the water pipes.
Finally our senses returned and we realized we were expected somewhere for lunch. My father, my friend, and I rowed out ahead to at least let our lunch hosts know that we had not been gored by rabid wildebeest on the way over and that the rest of the crew would arrive after dredging the kitchen.
At some point we realized that we had invited about 8 people for the Purim feast the next day, and that it probably wasn't going to take place in our dining room as planned since we didn't have enough life jackets for everyone.
After shabbat we called the insurance company, or left a message for the insurance company anyway. While we waited for the plumber to come the next day, we decided to take the light fixture off so it could dry off. We hadn't turned on the light since the ceiling flood for fear of short circuiting the whole house. My mother attempted to get the light fixture off but was unsuccessful so she asked me to give it a try. I gave my father the task of holding the light fixture so that it wouldn't fall on the floor when I unscrewed it. I figured that was probably all he was capable of- standing there holding stuff. I was wrong. The phone rang and he thought it might be the insurance company so he ran to get the phone. Without telling me that he was letting go. So the metal side of the light fixture bent and I had to get pliers to bend it back. The plastic had also cracked which I couldn't fix, so I had to fire him and dock his pay. Actually I just yelled at him for 5 minutes for not being able to do the one task I had given him, which had involved not dropping what he was holding. I now know better. Ask my mother to handle these kinds of tasks and leave my dad alone to cook in peace.
The plumber finally came and located the leak. A pipe had burst outside our upstairs bathroom so he had to remove about 8 floor tiles and a small chunk of the bathroom wall. Which is what everyone needs of course, a hole in their bathroom wall and a channel of dirt in their hallway. They had to be left open for a few days to dry. It looked like an archaeological dig, especially with 30 year old rusty pipes lying around. I also found what I thought was a fossil but apparently it was just an old chicken wing. The guy was supposed to come back on Thursday, but didn't. He didn't come back on Sunday or next Thursday either. By the time he did come back I had planted geraniums in the channel of dirt. He put new tiles over the channel (almost matching but not quite). Whatever. My flowers hadn't been getting enough sunlight anyway.

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