It started before Christmas. Actually it started before Thanksgiving but that part was only beginning of the end for my poor aunt. I tried to call her and there was no answer, After a week of this I called the front desk. The young temp at the front desk tried to help but I would up with Nurse Ratched. The antagonist in Ken Kesy’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. I can’t put it better than Wikipedia. A cold, heartless tyrant, Nurse Ratched has become the stereotype of the nurse as a battleaxe. At any rate, according to the battleaxe my name wasn’t on their paperwork so I was getting zip. She was nasty about it, too. Since no one else in the family was responding to my messages and emails until she was at death’s door, I was not particularly happy. I never got to talk to her again. She was bounced like a tennis ball from assisted living to nursing home and back, to hospital and back to assisted living, round again for several trips until she died on Christmas morning. Now the vampires are trying to peddle me overpriced Medicare supplements so I can be treated as poorly as she was. Fill in your favorite unprintable word.
In mid-December I realized the freezer in the refrigerator was slowly defrosting. After a couple of days I knew it was dying and called the landlord. First he couldn’t take my word for it but had to call a repairman. The repairman was fast and professional, a rarity around here. When I told him I thought it was the compressor, he spent about two minutes looking, told me I was right and he would tell the landlord to get a new one. The landlord’s solution was for me to do all the work of getting it, including paying for it and then deducting it from the rent. Swell, except it’s not my job or my property and I only managed to squeek in under his dollar limit due to a sale. On top of that I had year end financial commitments and was reluctant to spend on a refrigerator when I might have to travel because of my aunt. So I decided to wait until my money came in at the first of the month. The whole holiday period went by without a working refrigerator.
The Friday morning before Christmas, with a to do list longer than Santa’s, I went in to take a shower. The hot water tap came out in my hand and water was gushing out of the spigot with no way to shut it off. Somewhat panicked, I ran for the tool box and the rag bag. I threw the rags all over the floor and shoved the screw of the tap into he opening as far as I could. Then I screwed it in as tight as possible, even using pliers to turn it tighter, until I got the water to stop. I gave up on the shower and went out and ran my errands after the cleaner finished. Of course I was not going to reach the landlord on a holiday weekend, so it was not until I dropped of the rent the following week I could report the need for a plumber.
I called the handyman following Friday, having got his number from the landlord. He said he could come Monday. Then I ordered the refrigerator to be delivered. The only way to get it into the kitchen is through the back door, so I took the initiative and moved the old old out of the way. A half a dozen floor tiles lifted off in the process. The surface of the untreated subfloor underneath crumbled like stale cookies. Back to the tool chest for the wood glue. The next day I got an email from Lowe’s saying the refrigerator would be delivered on the 25th! Another two and a half weeks without a refrigerator! They must be unloading it off a boat from China at a west coast port. Haven’t they heard of regional warehouses?
Fortunately, because there are so many things remaining unrepaired after my bringing them to the landlord’s attention, I never reported that the back bedroom has no heat. This is because the floor vent has no hot air coming out of it. So I moved into the living room and put the futon on the old frame to get it up off the ice rink, oops I mean floor.
Still, it’s an ill wind that blows no good. Now it’s the dead of winter the bedroom is like the walk in at the pizzeria where I used to work. So it’s the new refrigerator. I have a small chest freezer because I have to drive three hours to get civilized food like jiaodzi, kimchi, samosas, parathis, mochi and anything not canned or boxed. For some of my holiday food I used the space between the storm door and the inside door to the back porch which worked very well. So freezing is not a problem.
It’s obvious to me the duct work has separated and the air is just blowing into the crawlspace instead of up into the room. Unfortunately, this did not prevent the latest problem. The toilet had been chronically backed up for months. The landlord will not replace it even after RotoRooter told him it was shot and not flushing properly. So when it started backing up again over the weekend I figured if I couldn’t clear it by Monday the handyman would. The latest problem started Sunday night when the toilet had to be bailed into the bathtub to prevent overflow. Most but not quite all, went down the drain. In the morning I got up and called the handyman to ask him to bring equipment to clear the toilet and mentioned I didn’t think he would turn off the water so early. He hadn’t.
He stopped by about an hour and a half later, checked all the taps and announced I was the third house with frozen pipes he had that morning. When he was looking for the shutoff on the hot water heater I pointed out the bad floor tiles. Oh yes, the humidity condenses underneath and does that. Strange it has never happened anywhere else i lived or to anyone else I know. And the solution to the clogged toilet and frozen pipes? Wait for a thaw and call him. Wait for a thaw?! This is January. So I have no toilet and no water and a stinky bathtub until who knows when.
There is still some considerable snow on the ground which will be melted to clean he stinky bathtub. The frigid bedroom is for now keeping the food. The taps are open to prevent damage to the pipes (crossed fingers), Not sure what to do about the toilet. I am glad I bailed it way down so the handyman could work on it, that way I have a few useable inches.