Tuesday, April 4

Yet another domestic update, now with more disgusting photos

So Phil brings me home tonight after hanging out with Jamie (we spent the evening watching "Deal or No Deal," this game show that's sweeping the nation but that I'd never heard of), and he comes in with me, and the first thing we do is go into the bathroom to see if my prediction (the floor will be entirely covered in water) was right.

And you know it was.

The two towels I'd been using to stanch the flow had to be taken outside and draped on my balcony to dry; they were completely saturated and water had begun breeching the towel's borders and seeping out past them.

Looks like the plumber didn't show again. I talked to my maintenance guy earlier today, I guess for the fourth or fifth time, and he said, "As frustrated as you are, I'm even more frustrated because I can't seem to find a plumber who'll actually come out and do the work." And while I'm sure that's plenty frustrated, I have this hunch that I may have the anxiety edge on him.

I mean, I've slept sporadically for the past week and a half, my sleep littered with weird water-related dreams. I've been spending much of my free time in bed, dozing and basically not doing much else than lying there in sunlight where it's warm and clean and I can smell my sheets (possibly the most comforting smell ever). It finally dawned on me that I'm spending so much time in there lately because the bedroom is the furthest room from the bathroom and I can't smell the nastiness or feel the thick dampness of the air when I'm far away from the bathroom. And I might just get out of the apartment for a while, I guess, but it's hard to get up the huevos to go in there and take a shower. I don't go out without showers. Sort of a personal rule of mine.

So, back to tonight, Phil braves the muck to kneel down and take a look at the underside of the sink. And right away, he sees the problem and fixes it. The hose leading from the main pipe to where it comes out for the cold water (yeah, I can't explain it; I don't know how that shit works) had a tiny pin-sized hole through which a constant spray of water was teeming. And it's really strange that he could look under there and see that, because I have looked under there before and have failed to find any water source. Ditto for my maintenance man, or so he says.

So Phil shuts off the water supply to that side of the faucet. And the leak is fixed, though I can't use my cold water and I still have a major pool of water left to soak up. And all the woodwork of the cabinet is soaked. And sprouting some righteous green mold that nearly made me cry when I saw it. It's new. I'm talking past two days new.

I've been taking pictures of this whole ordeal, including, thankfully, a shot of the cabinet before this mess even started.

This photo was taken March 10. I was peeling up the non-slip mesh material already under the cabinet because it had a dead roach on it that had been there since I moved in, and I figured it was high time I stopped ignoring it and took care of the underside of the counter so I could finally store all my bathroom junk down there. And when I peeled back the paper, I saw all this black powder stuff, ran to the computer to Google "black mold," read just enough to be completely unsure if the black powder was deadly black mold, grabbed my camera, snapped a photo, and then stupidly but necessarily started scooping up the powder with a handful of bleach wipes.

I'm not sure exactly when the leak started, but I know it had gotten bad by the time Phil and Amber's birthday rolled around because I remember having to explain the mess to Craig and Amber when they visited. And I posted this. For some reason, I didn't take any photos until March 30, by which time I'd already contacted the maintenance guy twice, I think.

March 30, here's what we were looking at:

And this is some time after I'd mopped up quite a bit. The Swiffer pad was completely soaked; I've gone through an entire box of them in a week, alternating them with paper towels (which are practically useless) and towels that I will never use (except as leakwater rags) again.

March 30 also looked like this. It's at this point that the maintenance man has come into the apartment (while I was at work) and declared that he can't find the source of the leak. (I know for sure he did actually come into my apartment because something that had been under my sink had been moved to sit on the toilet cover.)

Two calls to the maintenance man later, I still have not had a plumber come out to look at the problem. Tonight this is what it looked like when I came home after being away for about five hours:

And Phil opened up the cabinets to take a look, and we saw this:

(Please note that where the wood looks darker, it's completely soaked.)

And this:

And this:

And, because I can't get to the space between the radiator and the cabinet (which is dusty and nasty to begin with) to clean it, this:

I can't stand to brush my teeth in there anymore; the smell makes me sick. I don't dare blowdry my hair in there either; it would be a real risk to do so standing in water.

I love this apartment, but shit like this is a dealbreaker.

Now that the leak is fixed (well, stopped, not fixed), that's a great burden off my shoulders. But the mold problem and the smell aren't just going to go away. Like Phil said, that bathroom is badly ventilated and it's naturally sort of damp, especially after showers and such. It is never going to dry out and the wood is just going to sit there and soak and rot and mold is going to grow and spores are going to spread and continue to aggravate my allergies and make me surly and prone to fits of photographically illustrated whining.

The shit needs to be ripped out and replaced. That's all there is to it.

So should I print these pictures and take them to the maintenance man? Should I try to find out who the property owner is and call him/her? Should I hire my own plumber and carpenter and bill the maintenance man? Should I talk to an attorney? Should I get my dad to call up here and yell at someone? Seriously? Four phone calls, all pretty annoyed and urgent, and nothing. Am I shit out of luck here? Is every apartment I live in going to be prone to such outrageous bullshit?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can recommend is that you buy a cheap, big fan from someplace and plug it in. Aim it at the wettest part of the room, and just leave it there. Sadly, that's how we dry up leaks at the gym when the racquetball court gets flooded.

That's a Band-Aid. Beyond that, I would bleach the shit out of the floor. That won't help with the mold problem. I don't know anything besides ripping out walls that gets rid of mold.

You should carefully look over your lease and figure out what your options are. I certainly wouldn't get your own work done and bill the landlord because obviously they've no compunction about leaving you stuck with a rotting bathroom, so they'd have no problem sticking you with the friggin' bill, either.

If I were you, I would tell them that I'm not paying rent until they fix it. Period. And that's most likely the worst way to handle it, but it might spur some action on their part. That action might be the eviction process, but at least then you could hire a lawyer.

Tue Apr 04, 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and in keeping with my blog post for today, "GET ON WITH IT!!!"

Tue Apr 04, 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Brandonian said...

Start a cheese factory. You'll get the money to fix the bathroom in no time.

Then again, you'd lose your sense of income. Quite the Catch-22...

Wed Apr 05, 01:23:00 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

PT, now that the problem has mostly been fixed, I'm curious to see if that smell will ever go away. I'll definitely bleach the floor. And I definitely need to point a fan in there to at least circulate the air. I can do that with confidence now that I know I won't be stirring up mold spores. Well, lots of visible ones, anyway.

Brandon, egads, man! Please don't taint my fondness for cheese by associating it in any way with this or any mold debacle! Glarghk. I just threw up in my mouth...

Wed Apr 05, 02:25:00 AM  

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