Monday, 23 April 2012

My house hates me, part II

Today I saw a red and yellow sunset and I thought, How insignificant I am! 
Of course, I thought that yesterday too, and it rained. 
I was overcome with self-loathing and contemplated suicide 
again — this time by inhaling next to an insurance salesman.
Woody Allen

Today I was staring at the latest leak in my home and I got so depressed I contemplated inhaling next to a property manager. In 6 months, TWENTY differents parts of the house have stopped working, fallen apart or started leaking profusely. Naturally, I have to harass the management company for weeks or even months each time to get them to fix it. And they don't go down without a fight. I have to resort to photographic evidence and lyrically detailed correspondence and a stubborn determination. This morning, my incredibly rude property manager informed me that the landlady has had it with us and would rather see us go than pay for another repair. He was yelling at me because I ring him every week about a new problem in the house.

Wait a minute there. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

You've heard about the quirks of our house before. Indeed every week brings new excitement: the lock in the front door gets permanently stuck; it starts raining heavily in the living room, right under the bathtub; the oven won't work; the window won't close; lately, around the time we found suspicious poo in the garden, the flush started producing scary clanking sounds as if the pipes were about to explode, and a faulty heater flooded my daughter's bed. The management company eventually sent us a plumber.

Like many other things, plumbing in Ireland can be... I'm looking for the right word. Poetic? Inventive? Neurotic? Each repairman we've seen was crazier than the next. Our latest has provided a fair amount of entertainment.

For starters, when he rang me, the first thing he said was a flirtatious "Bonjour". I had no idea who was calling me, so I found it a little scary that a total stranger was addressing me this way. He couldn't possibly have found me out just by the way I say "Hello"! (Apparently, as I discovered later, plumbers gossip among themselves and your man had chatted with a colleague.) Yeah, I'm French. So what? And why do non-French people always imagine it's cute to lavish their two broken words of French on any unsuspecting Gallic creature coming their way? Do they think it makes them irresistible? Help!

When he arrived, he started working on the heater in Little Miss Sunshine's bedroom and... immediately proceeded to flood said bedroom. Oddly enough, he wasn't prepared for that, so he just grabbed an empty Lego box that was lying there and used that to collect the water pouring out of the pipe — and I'm talking black, sticky water here. Then he realized the dratted box has little holes in the bottom. Admittedly toy boxes aren't usually meant to be used as a plumbing device, but your man was shocked nonetheless and complained to my stunned friend G., who was visiting. He used up an entire roll of toilet paper from our bathroom to clean the mess and... blocked the toilet with it. But this didn't deter him from emptying the faulty radiator in there too. Oh no. When I found him staring at the black liquid ominously filling the bowl up to the rim, he shamelessly insisted the toilet must have been blocked before he arrived...

I guess I just don't get the Irish sense of humour.

When he ran out of toilet paper, he just used one of our bath towels as a floorcloth to wipe the remaining black goo. And this bundle of fun went on for two days as he didn't have the part he needed to fix the heater. The next day, your man repaired the flush, and immediately after that the cistern overflowed. Apparently, he had never seen that happen. But he did fix it eventually, leaving in his wake a trail of black fingerprints and wet patches around the house. After this memorable visit, the central heating didn't work anymore. And the toilet cistern was leaking.

Here it might be amusing to note that my new best friend — our property manager — angrily wondered why we still have plumbing problems in the house since he sent us a very competent professional plumber a short time ago. I admit I guffawed a bit at that, yet I didn't have the heart to set him straight. But to our landlady's dismay, we do need another visit from a "competent professional", because we still have leaks here, including an abnormal amount of water pouring out of the side of the house. Admittedly, it's gushing outside, not inside. So why do I complain?

As for my mystery pooper, I haven't identified him yet. I did spot a stray cat in the garden, but it was only... eating the lilies.
I know, it's odd.

Ah, well, it's just one of those weeks. I don't know how much more fighting it will take to get a leak-free house, and a sudden bout of conjunctivitis makes me look like a rabbit with myxomatosis or a severe drug problem. To top it all, my car now keeps stalling every time I slow down, so maybe my next post will be "My car hates me". Told you I need a bike... (and maybe a voodoo doll or something.)

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