I Could Not Make this S**t Up !

Thursday, March 26th, was a day, like any other.

Or, should I say, like any other stuck-in-the-house, in the middle of a global pandemic, day. I was puttering around the flat when there was knock on the door…

“Odd,” I remember thinking. “…who the hell is knocking on my door? We’re self isolating ”

I reluctantly opened the door and took three steps back. Much to my surprise, it was the lady who lives in the flat downstairs; “Hi, Ummm… I’m so sorry, to bother you, but there seems to be water coming through my kitchen ceiling, I’m so sorry.”

“Oh, Oh my gosh! No, I’m sorry… I’m so sorry… shit!!” (Having lived in the UK for 10 years, I now apologise for everything, regardless of whether it’s my fault or not. This obviously sounded like my fault. I had the washing machine running, so I immediately thought it must be a lose hose, or something similar.

We agreed that I would reset the machine to a shorter, 15 minute wash, and I’d let the cycle finish. After about 20 minutes, the lady downstairs confirmed the dripping had stopped.

Sure enough, upon further inspection, there was a small amount of water, pooled under the washing machine. Okay, no problem… Nick can sort this out when he comes home from work. (Work, by the way, is about 30 feet down the hall, in the spare room/office.)

I went about my business for the rest of the day, not overly concerned with the small insignificant leak.

I mean, “…how bad could it be, right?”

Later in the day, we pulled the washing machine out and took a look. Nope, nothing obvious. No loose hoses. No obvious leaks. It’s a new machine, so it can’t be the drum or whatever. We’d call a plumber in the morning.

I made dinner, and as usual had a dishwasher filled with the day’s dishes. Without a thought, I turned the dishwasher on, and finally, I went to sit and relax… “Ahhhhhhhh”

I was comfortably drinking a cup of tea, and watching Boris tell us that we have to stay home, when there was a knock on the door!

“Seriously, WTF?”

Yup, you guessed it… it was the lady from downstairs.

The “dripping” was now being described as a “steady stream” of water.

*Expletive, expletive, expletive* I stopped the dishwasher and started to do the dishes by hand, no problem.

About 30 minutes later, after hand washing the dishes, I pulled the plug in the kitchen sink (which was filled to the brim with hot, soapy water) and I exhaled. “Okay… now I can relax.”

Before I even got to the couch… *Knock, knock, knock.*

Fuck me. Yes, the water was now pouring through, not one, but two places in her kitchen ceiling.

Obviously, this problem had nothing to do with any of the appliances, and everything to do with a real plumbing problem.

The first plumber came out on Saturday, March 28th. She was a lovely young women, who after about 15 minutes, suggested we contact the building managing agent, because the problem was bigger than a breadbox.

It had now been 2 days since I had been able to do a load of laundry. I was washing dishes in a big spaghetti pot, 3 or 4 times a day and then emptying the water out in the bathtub!

{Just a thought… Is this what it was like for our Grandmothers? My God, what a palaver! It’s amazing our parents were ever born! Who the hell had the time or energy for sex? Spending so much time finding groceries, preparing food, cooking the food, doing the washing up, emptying the bucket, emptying the bucket, emptying the bucket… WTF?}

The second plumber (sent by the management company) came on Monday, the 30th of March. A nice young man, who thought he knew what the problem was, but it might not be pretty! It most likely had to do with where our waste pipe and the building’s main waste pipe, met! That intersection, was somewhere behind god knows how many inches of concrete!

To make a LONG story a bit shorter, he had a second idea… one that would not entail removing the kitchen cabinets, or drilling though the wall! It was in fact, a brilliant solution and he’d come back Friday to do the work. Hooray!!!!

By Friday, April 3rd, I had not done any laundry in a week and a day, and things were getting pretty bad! Sheets needed to be changed. Bath towels needed to be washed. The 10-15 small towels, used to mop up leaking water, desperately needed to be washed! The plumber could not come back soon enough!

*Knock, knock, knock.*

Thank GOD… he was here. I opened the door, but noticed that he just stood there, in the hall, with what I can only describe were sad, regretful eyes… staring at me from behind his black face mask.

It couldn’t be done. There were many bureaucratic reasons why it could not be done, but there would be no fix… not that day anyway.

He’d have to go with the original fix; remove the corner kitchen cabinets, drill a hole in the wallboard, drill into the concrete wall and possibly a layer of brick, and then see exactly what’s on the other side!

I stood there, 6 feet away from him, my eyes welling up with tears.

We were on day 8 of having no washing machine, no dishwasher, doing dishes in a spaghetti pot, and experiencing general kitchen & household bedlam!

I know, I know… this is a “First World Problem” and I should really just shut the fuck up… but I can’t. You cannot imagine how something like this upsets your whole (First World) life!!!

The plan was, he’d come back on the 6th of April (that would be 12 days since that first knock on my door) with a builder; and they would pull out the corner cabinets, the washing machine and whatever else they needed to pull out, and DRIL the shit out of that wall.

They came… they drilled, they hammered. They ultimately discovered the culprit; it was the fixture that connected our waste pipe, to the main building waste pipe, and it had disintegrated.

Easy peasy, right? Wrong.

We are in a PANDEMIC; shops (including plumbing store) are closed! And if they were open, this fixture is ancient… only a small number of shops would even carry it.

The plumber and his two builders (Thank Goodness) came up with a viable workaround… I will spare you the gory details, but it meant that I would again have to wait… I’d have to wait until today when the “goop,” that they had applied to the new pipe would be cured, and he and I would test the fix.

Fingers crossed.

You can’t imagine what this place looks like… We are 13 days into this nightmare. I have 9 loads of laundry, all sorted and scattered around the house. All of my “under the kitchen sink” cleaning products are sitting in the bathtub. The kitchen baseboards, are in the dining room. A mountain of wet, smelly towels sit on the balcony. The spaghetti pot (which I will never use to cook in again!!!) sits in the kitchen sink.

And here I sit waiting, waiting, waiting.

He was due between 8-9.

It is now 10:53…


Again, I know… I KNOW! These are all First World, stupid, insignificant, nothing problems.

Believe me I know how lucky I am. How blessed I am.

I have a roof over my head.

I have food, water, indoor plumbing, TV, Internet, the laptop, I’m typing on!!!!

I have enough clothes, that I can build up 9 loads of laundry, and not smell….

I have a partner who’s dealing really well with my utter craziness.

And I am healthy!

I thank god, the universe, mother nature, karma and the luck of the draw…

I am healthy.


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