Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Disaster hits home

So remember the inability to get to the circuit breakers? Our dining room circuit was blown for a few days (this isn't any sort of emergency), but we were to get the key to the basement yesterday. All would've been well. The universe doesn't work like that.

Around 2 p.m., a pipe behind our washing machine bursts and water begins gushing out. The workmen in the basement notice the water cascading down their new drywall, and frantically come knocking on our back door. We try to shut off the water to the stacked washer/dryer, but to no avail. So the workmen, communicating via cell phone, try many of the numerous water shutoff valves in the basement. After a few minutes, success! With one minor hitch: water is shut off to the entire building.

I call two of our landladies, CI and CC. CC is in a meeting, so won't make it over for an hour. CI calls a plumber. Meanwhile our upstairs neighbors notice they have no water, and come down rather upset about it. They are really not happy. :)

So CC shows up at about 4 p.m., and CI calls and says the plumber is on his way. Not quite that easy: he's travelling from Harvey. That's a south suburb, around 150th street or so I'm told. So he'll be here in a little while. We wait for several hours, and we eventually find out there was an emergency of sorts at the plumber's other job site, so he was delayed. CC gets bored, so she goes to the store. When she gets back, CC and I watch the show House at its special time at 7p.m. in its entirety.

At around 8p.m., the plumber shows up. They first go downstairs to see if there is any way to isolate the leak and turn on water to the rest of the building (who are pretty furious now). There is not. The plumber then says we have to move the washer/dryer and he'll come back when we've done that. I start unhooking the washer/dryer from the wall when Q shows up to help. That was no small feat either; I almost lose the tip of an index finger... We succeed with that, but cannot move the washer/dryer.

CC calls the janitor from a nearby building she knows to help. He first sees if he can isolate the leak, but to no avail. Then he moves the washer/dryer out. Now we wait for the plumber to return! Around 10p.m. or so, the plumber magically reappears. He works quickly, removes the busted section of pipe, and turns on water to the whole building. Hoorah!

Of course, our washer/dryer is still in the middle of the kitchen, not hooked up, and there is a hole in the drywall behind where it should sit. The next goal is to have the hole fixed (with some insulation inside), and return our washer/dryer to its rightful place.