Monday, March 25, 2013

And Then The Walls Started Bleeding

Just in time for Passover. How festive.

The truly miraculous part of all this is that it's not the fault of the guy directly upstairs from me. The last leak in the bathroom was them, well the last 2 leaks come to think of it. But this? Started on the 5th floor.

Four floors above me. From what the building's porter told us, the bathtub on the 5th floor overflowed at 2am, and the water made it all the way down to the lobby. What the hell they were doing that caused their tub to overflow at 2am is anybody's guess. I can only imagine how bad it was on the floors above me - the porter said that people were knocking on his door at 2am when it happened. We slept through it all.

We had more than just bleeding walls, though. There's a little hallway just outside the bathroom and when I turned on the light in the little hall, I heard water trickling and the light didn't go on.

Now, I don't have electrical know how, by any means, but even I knew that wasn't a good thing. So I called the management company to tell them that the light guy needed to come by and replace it. 

(Side note: what is UP with all these closed light fixtures that only take fluorescent bulbs marked "do not used in a closed fixture"? The kind that have four prongs instead of a screw thing, so that is definitely the only kind of lightbulb that will fit in that fixture. Either someone is insane, or is determined to make fluorescent lightbulbs last much less than the promised seven years.)

So the lady at the management company spoke to the owner of the building and he said that the porter was fixing all the damage from The Incident. This was before I'd spoken to the porter, so I had no idea what The Incident could entail. For all I knew the guy upstairs had gone all Jack Nicholson in The Shining on his family and it really was blood trickling down the bathroom walls. Well, except that I heard him talking to the porter at some point--I can hear this guy's cell phone vibrate, but right by the bathroom door, where the heating pipe goes through their floor/my ceiling, I can hear everything. Well, not bathroom noises, but the songs they sing the baby in the bathtub, the guy talking on the phone (while in the bathroom), etc.

Anyway, so the porter stopped by to check out the light fixture. I'm not sure if he has more electrical experience than I do, or less, because he was pretty sure that it would be fine if he just dried it out. When he took the cover off the light fixture, it was full of water and had been for forty hours or so. But yeah, OK, if you want to dry it off and try a new lightbulb, you go right ahead and have fun with that.

I have two uncles who are electricians, so I guess I could've called one of them to see if I should've been poised to dial 911 during all this, but that would've been rude. He dried off the light fixture with a towel, put in a new lightbulb and flicked the light switch.

Nothing.

He unscrewed the fixture from the ceiling and dried it off some more. He blew on the lightbulb connecter thing like it was a Nintendo cartridge. And he tried again.

Nothing.

Then and only then did he declare the light fixture broken and in need of replacement.

Now, I'm all in favor of trying everything before giving up, and it bugs the hell out of me that the entire light fixture is going to be replaced even though the dome and the other non-electrical parts are fine. It's wasteful, but they just don't sell them that way.

But (and my knowledge here is limited) I would think that electricity + water = bad.

Any bets on the next thing that's going to go wrong in my apartment? I swear, if it's locusts, they damn well better eat the roaches.

ETA: I checked with one of my uncles and as long as it wasn't salt water (and therefore corrosive), the light could've worked once it dried out and we replaced the bulb. It might still work now that it's had some more time to dry. But motors + water? That's a disaster. And now we know.

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