Plumbin'February 15, 2007
It's very, very weird to be sitting in my condo which is rented out to someone else.
It's been a bad week, condo-wise. Granted, it could be worse, but this last week required a major transfusion of money, into the new deck and into some work on pipes. Now that the pipes have been worked on in one part of the house, though, my unit has stopped giving hot water to my tenant, and the plumber who WAS working here is done with his part of his work and doesn't want to be bothered.
As my unit is the only one affected now, it's on me to get another plumber in, which is a pain. The pain is a bit lessened because my super-nice tenant is out of town and I can take care of this without inconveniencing her any further than she's already been.
But that means I'm sitting in my old home surrounded by things that aren't mine. And I have to say, she's done a stunning job of decorating. I loved how it looked when I lived here, and this is just as nice and comfy. I don't know if she gussied it up because I was coming (I would have, but I hope she didn't feel she had to), but it looks so great. Makes me proud of the place. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, so her decorating style is a high-budget, pared-down Cost Plus aesthetic. It's spare, and interesting, and there's so much more ROOM here than when I lived here and all the yarn got in the way.
The sound is the same, though, that constant whooosh of the freeway outside, and interestingly, the smell is the same. It's the smell I smelled when I first opened the door, the moment I knew I would live here, and it's a mix of old wood and paint and fabric that's been stored for a long time. My gaze falls on the walls the same way -- the spatial relations make sense to me, but where I'm sitting at her table is where I had a bookcase before, so I've never sat in EXACTLY this place before.
Okay, the plumber just called and said he was on his way over. My biggest fear is that the problem is too big, that it won't get solved before my tenant comes home on Monday, and that she'll have to be inconvenienced some more. Last week there were two days when she had no water at all, and she had the flu, and her mom had a heart attack. And her power was briefly out, and I still don't know how that happened, but thank god it came back on. That's too much for anyone to bear, and she has been really good about it. (I did take two days off her rent. While that helped, it doesn't take the sting out of showering at the Y, does it?)
So. Here I am. Waiting. More to follow. (No internets here, so I'll post this later.)
Later - Okay, now I'm home - and I'm SO HAPPY. He totally fixed the problem, and I got to call my tenant and tell her that it's all fixed, and she was so happy, and I'm so happy and I want to spread the love so not only am I writing this little blog, but I'm writing a post (the one below this) that will be of no use yet, but someday might be where some people find good people to work in their houses.
Because it's hard! I don't know what the hell pipes are doing under my house, and whatever someone tells me, I'll believe. I don't know how to DO things around my house -- I'll give it a good shot, and I'll get out the home repair book (thanks, Becca!), but in the end, I'm a knitter, people. Not a painter/plumber/spackler. Although I can spackle with the best of 'em sometimes.
So when I find someone I want to recommend, I want EVERYONE to use that person. My new plumber, Abraham Tingey, of Mr. Rooter in Berkeley, is the BEST. He was on time, he gave me the best and worst case scenarios right up front, outlined the cost before he started doing any of it, and then he TOOK THE TIME to explain everything he was doing as he was doing it. Seriously, I dogged his heels in the house and under it, and he pointed things out to me, explained what had happened in the past, speculated on what could be done in the future, and when I got a blank look on my face, he slowed down and explained the words to me. And brass nipple is always going to be funny to me, because I'm 12 years old that way. I don't think he saw me giggle, though.
And he was so sweet! And nice, and smart, and he'd lived in New Zealand for a year, and he put booties on every time he entered the house, and he charged me for fixing the garbage disposal (a separate problem) but he explained that he was actually charging me for the lesson, because then he showed me what to do next time.
So. I trust the guy. And he fixed a problem that I wasn't sure was fixable (only triaged, actually, will need new pipes, but they live to serve another day). So I'm posting the post below, which will eventually, as it is found on teh intarwebs, bring a bunch of comments together in one place on good service techs and how to find them.
That was so long! If you made it here, you deserve a cute animal picture or two!