Out of the Well: A Frogs-Eye-View of China and the World

Random Jottings on China, History, Culture, and Life as seen by an American student in Beijing.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Pipe Story: Why I would rather be a fireman than a landlord

This entry was going to be about my lovely weekend on Cape Cod. It was truly gorgeous down there, and I had a lovely evening with some good friends, but alas, I have other news to bring you. Sarah and I came home from the cape and decided to head over to her apartment in the great city of Somerville. She has had the apartment for about a month, but we have been moving her in slowly. To tell you the truth, I have not been eager to see her go. Well, this Sunday night was going to be the last day of moving in. We were going to set up the TV, computer, and hand a couple of pictures, and then congratulate ourselves on a job well done.

The TV and computer went up without a hitch, as did a couple of small things she wanted to hang on the wall. The big project was going to be hanging a large framed Jackson Pollock reproduction, measuring about one foot high by three and a half feet long. The wall I wanted to hang it on seemed to be made of concrete, so we decided it would look lovely over the newly set up TV.

This is where the disaster began…

Maybe disaster is the wrong word, perhaps fiasco is better.

How were we to know that the mark we made on the wall for the nail was dead center on a one inch copper pipe that carried to forced hot water for the apartments heating system? It only took three good hits on the hammer for a stream of water to appear down the wall, like a strange undulating crack. Like an idiot I pulled the nail out and a spout of water immediately erupted at a forty-five degree angle spraying the room with water.

After frantic calls to the landlord (who didn’t answer is phone), and several plumbers (who didn’t seem interested in helping us out), Sarah called 911. In the meantime I was holding my hands against the hole in the wall like the Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke. Running the water down my arms and into a series of buckets, with the hope of keeping some of the water out of the wall and off of the floor.

The firemen finally saved me, although one just watched me struggle with my hole in the wall while his brethren worked to find the valve that would stem the flow. Eventually they had to turn the water off in the whole building, which roused whatever neighbors in the building had not come down to see what the fire trucks were up to.

Well… a couple of days have gone by. The landlord has come and mumbled his piece, the plumber has left a lovely hole in the wall with a beautiful new patch. Today Sarah is meeting with some rug cleaners who will save us from the specter of mildew. The lovely living room we set up is now in piles in the bedroom.

Ah well my friends… it could all be worse I guess. Hope you are all happy, healthy and dry.