Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Rain in My Apartment Falls Mainly in the Bathroom

Vintage Ad #895: Look at all the fun you can have a New York State vacation
Photo credit: Jamie
Today's prompt is to introduce the state that I'm from. It's New York. Most of my readers are from New York. What is there to say, really?

New York City is not our state capital, but is full of slow moving tourists. (We're not rude, we're just in a hurry. And chances are that if someone has just been rude to you, you were in their way.)

If you go upstate, we have cows and corn. Our politicians get caught in weird sex scandals and then run for office again, leaving us to wonder if their political platform is anything besides, "Hey, I have a lot of nerve."

We have great income inequality in NYS, and to help that, we have rent controlled apartment buildings, where the rent is crazy cheap, and the rent stabilized buildings (like the one where I live), where the rent increases are determined by a board so they don't get too out of hand. NYS fun fact: In a rent stabilized building, the tenants aren't required to give the landlord or super a copy of their keys. It's a legal thing to protect us from freaky landlords letting themselves into our apartments for weird reasons that end up on the local news. But when something goes wrong, it means that you have to rely on your neighbors being home. 

And then this happens:

Tuesday Night: His Awesomeness returns from brushing his teeth before bed to inform me that water is dripping from the bathroom ceiling. I clean up the mess and place buckets while he tries to find the super or porter. Finding neither, he leaves a note for the super including my availability for the next 2 days and my cell phone number.

Wednesday Evening: The super calls, verifies that the toilet isn't overflowing so it isn't an emergency. (Like I couldn't fix an overflowing toilet my myself--sheesh.) He says he'll check the apartment upstairs tomorrow, as the people who live are not home at the moment. (Longtime readers will recall how noisy my upstairs neighbor is, and therefore I hate him with a fiery passion.)

Thursday: I try to find the porter every time I leave the apartment, but fail. The people upstairs are still away. By this point, the water is dripping right next to the toilet (among other places) so that when you're sitting on the bowl, you get splashed with rusty water every time a drop hits the water in the bucket. Good times.

Thursday Evening: I get home from a doctor's appointment/client meeting to discover that my husband has found the porter and brought him up to our apartment to look at the situation. But...and these are the scenarios that end marriages...did not have the porter do anything to redirect the drips away from the toilet, as I'd been discussing for at least 24 hours by this point. 

First, I come up with (but do not say) a string of expletives that shocked and impressed even me. Then, I thought of saying, "For the good of our marriage, I'm not speaking to you." That passed quickly and I let him have it in a more restrained manner. After which he promised to get the porter after dinner.

The porter screwed a board to the ceiling to hold a tarp in place, redirecting the water to the tub. And there was much rejoicing.

Friday Morning: His Awesomeness wakes up to discover that the bathroom ceiling has collapsed in the night. He clears away 4 bags of debris and gets the porter. While I was at my meeting on Thursday, I remembered that we have an umbrella that clamps to the arm of lawn chairs, etc. When I woke up, HA had clamped it to the hutch over the toilet. This was inadequate to the task, and I peed while holding an umbrella. 

I quickly showered and dressed for my day of client meetings. The porter returned to rehang the tarp. HA worked from home so he could be there to deal with things. The people upstairs were still not back, but the management company was finally trying to get a hold of them to get permission to get a locksmith to break in. 

Friday Afternoon: The porter and plumber climb up the fire escape to try to break into the apartment upstairs and discover that their bathroom ceiling has collapsed as well. The water was coming from the floor above them!  I imagine that their floor is destroyed as well since the water had to pass through it on its way down to us. They found the source of the leak and fixed it.

Friday Evening: There is still water dripping on the tarp where our bathroom ceiling used to be because the remaining water has to work its way down. Sometime next week, once everything has dried out, the porter will replace the ceiling for the second time in a year. 

Saturday: We clean the floors, which are covered in plaster or whatever. We don't clean them too thoroughly since they'll get messed up again when the porter fixes the ceiling. HA does the laundry, including the soaked bathmats and towels so that our bathmat no longer reeks of mildew. We get used to being able to stand in front of the sink without getting dripped on.

So on the one hand, our rent is not obscenely high (just too damn high). On the other hand, peeing while holding an umbrella. Please consider this before moving to our fair state.

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  1. Pretty brilliant piece! It made me smile but I am sorry for you going through all that. I'd have a breakdown. Before "Eleanor Rigby" lived above me with her cat, I had a psycho who played music loud at 3am and got into fights where his lover tried to kill him but the best was when he let the bathroom and apartment flood. He sat in two inches of water for two days. They thought he was dead, and the super had to go through my apartment up the fir e escape to see if he was alive. he was sitting in there like nothing happened. It caused water damage all the way down to the basement. The super told me I was lucky because the water erodes and damages more the lower the floor so I got off easy.

  2. oh lawd! again I am so incredibly happy to not be living in an apartment anymore! As I was reading this I thought to myself, she's going to have to sit on the toilet with an umbrella!

  3. We have more than cows and corn upstate! So I've heard!

    1. There's a big river that they call a canal to give kids something else to memorize in school.
    2. The Baseball Hall of Fame is tucked away in some remote small town that almost died when attendance to the induction ceremony was below average this year. The Soccer Hall of Fame is around here, too, but no one even know about it.
    3. There's a waterfall where they have very specific rules about not bringing barrels, like what's that all about?
    4. We have more Canadians than downstate, so most highway trips are always an impromptu lesson in French (sometimes not limited to "Je me souviens").
    5. We have big holes in the ground that have slower transportation and cost more per visit than the NYC Subway. We call them 'caverns' and force tourists to get married in them.

    I'm sure there are literally single-digits more things I could tell you about Upstate New York.

  4. My father turned our ranch into a cape, starting in 1988. That whole summer was a mixture of rain and mosquitos (I'm in Maine) with the biggest leak being about a two inch thick spout in especially heavy rain.
    I feel your pain...


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