For a while I was living in California in a beautiful old house rented to me and four other teachers by a very very stupid man who hadn’t quite thought through what “five adult renters” was going to mean for his lovingly-restored home. The landlord’s mother had lived in the house, and when she died he restored it, doing much of the work himself to save money.
“Charming!” we thought. “An old restored house! Our landlord knows how to restore houses! That means he will know how to fix anything that goes wrong! Perfect!”
Um, wrong. The handy landlord had decided that one of the best ways to save money on the restoration was to do all the plumbing himself. I’m no expert, but when categorizing do-it-yourself home improvement jobs, I’d place plumbing squarely in the “very advanced” category. Our landlord fell more into the “weekend dabbler” category, and as a result of this inexperience he botched the plumbing. Badly.
So it was that my roommate Heidi moved her bookcase to vacuum one day1 to discover MUSHROOMS growing out of the carpet. Turns out some valve in my shower had been installed backwards, and had released water into the wall in Heidi’s room, which had soaked into the floor, which had caused actual, real live toadstools to grow out of the carpet. Sweet.
We also once got a water bill for $500 because of a toilet that ran constantly that our landlord refused to fix. Let me tell you- THAT was a fun bill to try to divide among the housemates.
So you can imagine that I was kind of relieved to move out of that house and leave all the plumbing disasters behind me. (You can see where this is going, can’t you. I’m no good at suspense. Sigh.)
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Exhibit A: our spare room:
And yes, it is caused by a fucking leak in the fucking plumbing behind the fucking wall. Gross, isn’t it?
It is matched by a lovely slow leak through the bathroom wall and floor, which is forming a slowly-growing puddle on the floor and around the toilet. And I just went to unload the dishwasher and discovered a pool of water under there, too. If I were a fan of horror movies, it would be at around this point that I would become convinced that the water was going to come in at ever-increasing speeds all night, eventually drowning me in my sleep.
Or, you know, the mold may be toxic and I may asphyxiate. Which may actually be a better fate than waiting all day today for the building engineer to come in and (I’m quoting here) “cut that whole chunk of wall out and try to get back there and see what’s up.” AWESOME.
If you don’t hear from me in a few days, you can assume that the apartment got the best of me.
1 (Let’s not even go into the whole “move the bookcase to vacuum behind it” thing. I could write volumes about the cleaning idiosyncrasies of that house. Volumes.)