Monday, September 28, 2015

Water Problemas, Part III

Part III. Still going? Yeah.
Part I, Part II links for those just joining us.
You’re still here? Alright, you glutton for punishment.
Day #ILostCount: All the neighbors decided that enough was enough on a Saturday morning and pitched in to get a water truck. Psst… the water is still leaking out the wall in my kitchen, drop, drip, drip, drop.
Truck arrived, filled the cistern. The water came. Glorious water came rushing in, our toilets filling, our washer filling (Clean underwear!), the shower now more than a place to store buckets—its reborn potential begging that I wash away my likeness to PigPen.
And the kitchen began to baptize itself in a magical kind of way. Every seven minutes. The drip, drop now a whoosh, pouring down the wall, filling the kitchen, to be mopped up, swept out into the hallway or to flood the rest of the apartment. Your choice. Every seven minutes. (Yes, the wall. It gushed down the wall to the floor. Can’t put a bucket under it. Down. The. Wall.) I abandoned the mopping option rather quickly—it being the politest to others but by far the most exhausting and time consuming to me.
Josh was out with the kids. I let MaintenanceMan know about the situation and kept sweeping. I calculated all the things I could do outside the kitchen in 6 ½ minutes and then set about enjoying them. MaintenanceMan came up and helped sweep some of the water out through the hallway, down the stairs and into the parking lot. This was our lot as we waited for Plumber. MaintenanceMan tired after fourteen minutes and headed to tend to other things. #dominoes
Assuming the abundant water situation was ephemeral, I decided to wash all the things. Laundry, dishes, laundry, dishes, floors, me, floors. Two hours of every seven minutes and still no Plumber. My hands were red, raw. The cheap yellow paint from the broom handle had slowly flecked off, exposing the splintering wood.

I took all the clean laundry up to the roof to dry. That took more than seven minutes. Twenty-one minutes meant that kitchen, dining room, living room, laundry room and storage room were flooded. The hallway was under attack when I arrived. Once I’d swept it all out and cleaned up all the things ruined by my gallivanting on the roof, I was officially exhausted. Sometime in here MaintenanceMan quietly left for the weekend. And Josh came home.
Josh sweeps water out the back of the apartment while I make coffee on our stove that has been pushed into the dining room for better water-sweeping access.

By 6:30, we understood that Plumber was not coming. Times for action are clearly set and somewhere between nothing and very little happens Monday-Friday from 12-2 pm and 5:45pm-8am, Saturday any time after noonish and all of Sunday. It has both its upsides and downsides, being generally something we enjoy under normal circumstances.
Josh went to the roof to see if he could figure out himself where the water was coming from, children were put to sweeping/pushing water out and I cooked everyone a meal. #teamwork
Some tinacos, rooftop water tanks, have shut-off valves (where water is blocked from entering apartments), but not all. In the last week, one had been installed on our tinaco as part of all the experimental plumbing that had gone on. Having shut off, one by one, each tinaco that could be shut off, waited an appropriate amount of time and noted zero effect on the kitchen’s wall-fountain, we ate dinner and gathered our wits. Sleepy-time was fast approaching.
Josh took the kids to the roof for more investigation. While they were trying to identify which of the tinacos without shut-off valves could be pouring into our kitchen (nope, it wasn’t our own), I fell apart. I phoned my people for some problem-solving and/or perspective—the ones who know me personally, where I come from and where I live. That list is quite short. Nobody answered.
So I called my mom and cried a bit. She is a great problem solver as a general rule, but it is difficult—oft times impossible—to apply logical solutions to chaos in a place with few systems/laws/structure. Think for just a moment the tv coverage you saw of the earthquake in Haiti versus the tv coverage of the earthquake in Japan. Those are two extreme opposites, but it gives an idea of the spectrum that exists for those who haven’t lived outside their own country for long enough to get a job, bank account, use government offices, sign a contract, get sick, learn/use another language or any of the other things that happen when you’re truly living elsewhere.
I hung up the phone to sweep more out the door. In that frazzled, frustrated moment, having swept water out for five hours straight—every seven minutes—the LandLady came tiptoeing through the water, up the stairs to her apartment, “What’s going on here?!”
“Complete carelessness for people!” I cried. LandLady looked shocked. And I just got angry. She’d known about the leak all week. To be fair, since we didn’t know where the water was coming from, we also hadn’t thought that it would turn this ugly this fast when the water truck came. #optimistictoafault
“Nobody told me!” she said, pointing to the water.
“Yeah, well, here we are just the same. Have a nice night,” and I kept sweeping water out.
LandLady was on the phone in the hallway immediately telling the Plumber that he better get down here because this was an emergency! Dripping all week into the walls and our apartment wasn’t, but now we had her attention with the river in the common area. “This woman is hysterical,” I heard her say, “Listen!” and she held the phone out toward my face. I kept sweeping. I wasn’t crying at this point, but I was silent-gritted-teeth-angry for sure—and mostly at Plumber who had broken the pipe in the first and second place and was now going to come back a third time to attempt to patch it.
Even though trilogies are quite popular, I’ve never been with the in-crowd per se, so it’s time to take it easy (you know, its almost lunch time!). The night gets worse and then better. I’ll explain soon.

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