Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Welcome, Christmas, Bring Your Cheer
pounding on our door, with excited voices punctuating the bouts of pounding. It was the tenants of a unit down the hall. The owner of the unit was there, and I think they were trying to replace the faucet in the bathroom sink, without realizing you have to turn off the water first. Their bathroom faucet had blown off and there was a huge and powerful geyser of water shooting up from it, hitting the ceiling, soaking everything. It had already flooded their unit and water was now flowing into the hallway in waves.
After a quick look I rushed back, grabbed all my big ugly towels and threw them into the rapidly spreading flood in the hallway. I tried to tell them how to turn the water off but none of them speaks English very well, plus they were all panicked, soaking wet and shivering with cold. None of them understood. They are very nice but strictly observant Muslims and they didn't want me to come inside their unit and show them where the turn off was. I was beginning to panic at the volume of water gushing into the hallway when a neighbour who speaks Arabic came out and told them how to turn the water off.
Once the water was off I came home and called our management company, and got an answering service. They offered to call the building's contract plumber, whose regular call-out fee is $300, and on Christmas Eve turned out the be $500, plus time spent and supplies. I asked the unit's owner if he had insurance and he said no, and neither did his tenants. The owner of the unit wanted to see if he could find a less expensive plumber, and while he was doing that I ran around the building trying to find another condo board member who might help me decide what to do, but no one was home.
The immediate issue was picking up the water so a neighbour brought out more towels. She and I started sopping up water with the towels and wringing the water into a bucket she'd brought out. The three men in the unit were no help at all. I asked them to help by by wringing out some of the towels into the tub and bring them back to pick up more water, but they had not a clue what I meant. They would take the towels, put them in the tub and bring them back out as wet as they were to start with. Finally, though her husband told her to stay inside, the young wife came out to help wring towels.
A trip to the first floor showed me that the water had reached there, there was a large puddle growing in front of the corresponding unit. I knocked and the owner came to the door, letting all three of his dogs into the hallway. He checked, and thankfully there was no water inside. But we had to chase the dogs down.
I called the answering service again and told them we needed the restoration crew to take care of the water issue, because if the carpets, underlay and baseboards are left wet they quickly develop black mold. We have had this happen in the last three or four months, and it's while it's relatively inexpensive to prevent a mold problem it's very expensive to fix it once it develops.
The owner of the unit then lit into me, saying we should have a building manager here 24/7, since I know nothing and am useless. And he said the condo board should go to everyone's unit and show them where the water shut off is. He felt it was not necessary to dry the carpet and he insisted if I had it done the condo corporation would have to pay for it, because the hall was common property, and what does he pay condo fees for anyway? I told him that was not how it works. He got the carpet wet, he pays to have it dried.
When the restoration company arrived I absented myself from the scene. By that point I was so tuckered by all the walking and towel wringing and his griping I'd had enough. I saw this morning that the Restoration company had torn off the baseboards and set up a high velocity fan adjacent to his door to dry the carpet. I don't know what they did downstairs, I haven't had the energy to go look.
I woke up with every bone in a different spot than it should have been, and I have been in pain all day. But after dinner tonight Ian did a great job readjusting my ribs and neck and I'm loaded with pain pills and muscle relaxants. I should probably just take up boozing.
However, despite being a bunch of semi-cripples we had a wonderful Christmas afternoon. Ian showed up with a bad cough and a fever, and Tony bent over to pick something this morning and fell flat on his face, so we were a matched set of three cripples. (grin) Nonetheless we made a big dent in the delicious dinner Ian and I made, and we gobbled fancy cheeses and chocolates like a bunch of the wild boar we spent part of the time talking about. We had a great visit, and in the middle young Zak called on FaceTime and we all enjoyed a good hour's conversation with him.
"Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand."