You Know You Need a Plumber When.....
The people installing hardwood floors in your library get to the last five feet along the longest uninterrupted wall and move a long and heavy sofa to pull up the last of the carpet underneath and find that it is.....wet. The carpet is wet, the pad is wet, and the concrete underneath this room, added on twenty years ago, is wet. The tack strip is black but, curiously, there is no smell whatsoever in the carpet or pad. This room is four steps down from the rest of the first floor, and adjacent to it is ....a bathroom. Luckily, someone has left an access door in the library closet (code requirement, but we're out here in the building equivalent of the Wild West so you can't really count on things like codes) and all the plumbing is clearly visible.
That makes no difference to Floor Guy, of course, who stops working and says sternly that he will be back when the problem has been sorted and the slab is at the proper moisture percentage differential than the wood for this time of year. When will that be, I wonder, as he gathers his tools and frightening looking helper (always wondered about prison tattoos and now I believe I have a few to google). It is Thursday. I was expecting new floors and everything back in place on Monday. Instead I have boxed decorative accessories in the dining room and library furniture stashed, literally, all over the house. Yes, literally, Weird Al.
Call to plumbers Friday at 7am, if I have to leave a message what tone should I adopt? Friendly but with a slight edge of distress, or casual, as though I don't really care if they come or not (this sometimes works on dogs and husbands, rarely on children and service people). When The Plumber answers the phone I am so relieved I launch into full desperation mode...I am tripping over myself explaining the urgency of the situation... No, we don't have water spewing out .... right now, I add darkly, trying to inject a feel of emergency without lying through my teeth. Yes, they will come, just have to install a water heater at another house and they will be over. I am babbling my thanks, perhaps I'm too grateful.....I did not say blessings on your tents, camels, and childrens' children out loud, did I?
Plumbers show up a mere eight hours later. I have been steadfast in my belief that they would come, but for the last few hours have considered Plan B, consisting of putting out a bounty notice for whoever can deliver them to my front door unharmed, but the only person I can think of who would do it is the floor helper and I can't risk annoying his boss upon whose goodwill and finishing of this job rests my now precarious mental health.
They inspect, they confer, there is a certain amount of flashlight waving and they deliver the news: they Know What Happened. It seems the Previous Owners had desired new tile in that bathroom, but did not want to go to the expense of removing the existing tile, so they simply tiled over what was there. I learn that, with a toilet there is the pipe that comes up from the floor, a flange (sort of a collar thingie) that fits around it, and the actual fixture, which is seated (sorry) on this flange with a wax ring between the flange and toilet. The additional layer of tile has caused the floor to be a little too high for the pipe and flange, which were now somewhat recessed and the toilet would not seat properly. To fix this-- or rather, to not fix it and cause a perfectly innocent Future Owner unnecessary grief, the PO's had a second flange placed right over the first one, to raise that bit up enough for the toilet to be seated and work. And it did, for nine years, until the flange underneath cracked, and after each flush a little of the water filling the bowl flowed downward along a floor joist and dripped at the edge of a wall, where it spread out into the concrete, pad and carpet in the library.
The plumbers took up the fixture and flanges and dug around and used mortar and fixed the problem with the proper ONE flange, cleaned everything up and for an hour and a half of thinking (the most important part of any job, I see yet again) and plumbing charged me $185. I am so grateful I am almost weeping with happiness as I write the check. They thank me for playing Frisbee with their dog while they were working and keeping her happy and I say, earnestly and honestly, if you are happy I am happy and am just glad they don't know what I was prepared to do to keep them there---literally, anything, yes, Weird Al----and they drive off.
It is now Monday. I have called, left messages and texted Floor Guy, telling him excitedly that our little problem has been solved, the water is drying up and I am checking the moisture content of the concrete slab hourly.....he does not respond, and someone in the big city who knows says he started a huge commercial job today that will keep him busy for weeks....i leave another message and mention casually that if he wants the balance of the fee in cash I need to know when he is coming so I can get to the bank.....no bites.......and now I am thinking about a new Plan B involving the BIL of a painter I know who was jailed for bank robbery and who fled successfully on a bicycle but was recovered camping out in woods a few weeks later but is now reportedly out and looking for work.....
This post was edited by kswl on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 9:02