A couple of weeks ago, a few days after we got back from our trip to the coast, the flat above ours had a huge water leak, a flooded apartment, and we had water dripping down onto our heads in the kitchen.
A few weeks before that we had a pipe burst in our bathroom and was dripping water everywhere.
Earlier this week our toilet started making loud gurgling noises and would randomly fill with water (and whatever else) and spill over onto the floor. It was, as my British husband said, ‘a bit grim.’ For my fellow American countrymen, it means that it was pretty disgusting.
Thursday morning we stayed home from work and tried to call the plumber we had come before. Three times over an hour and a half. No answer, so we went upstairs to the man who owns the building. We told him the problem and asked him to call his plumber, a man that on an earlier occasion, we’re pretty sure stole a couple hundred dollars worth of Egyptian pounds from us. Our nice neighbor man said he’d get on it and let us know.
We waited and waited. In the meantime I did my best to clean up the bathroom. I disinfected and mopped the floor. I put on plastic gloves and cleaned out everything I could from our commode with our hands. (Again, some would say, a bit grim.) He called to say he’d be coming. We waited. Then at about 4 he called again to say the man would come the next day at 4.
On Friday (our first day of the weekend and church day for us), I wandered into the kitchen in the morning and into a puddle of water. I mopped it up and did some investigating.
We have two balconies, and on the one side it’s pretty small and none of the other floors above us have a balcony on that side. Two water pipes run down the side of the building and through our balcony. I went outside and looked up and there were spurty leaks running water down the outside of one of the pipes. We do have a little hole in the balcony, so it was puddling, but dripping down through there as well. But it was pooling on one side and leaking into our kitchen. I sighed, and was grateful that the plumber would be coming later that day anyway.
We went to church and came home and I mopped again and scrubbed the toilet again. And we waited. He was supposed to come at 4. While we were waiting someone rang our doorbell three times in succession before we could get to it. It was the lady who lives below us. Our balcony was dripping down and now leaking into our kitchen. And she was (understandably) NOT happy about it.
These are moments that I’m very grateful to have enough language to explain. We told her we’d talked to the man who owns the building, that a plumber was supposed to come, that our kitchen was flooding. She was like “Well do something about it! My kitchen is flooding!” And I was like, “Erm, I talked to the man, the dude should be coming, I’m really sorry but I don’t really know what else I can do.” And she repeated herself and I repeated myself and our neighbor across from us came out and encouraged her to go upstairs and talk to the owner. She let us know she was still upset with us, but toddled off. We profusely thanked our neighbor.
And we waited. 4:00 came and went. Then 5:00. At 5:30 we went to the owner who said the lady came and he talked to the plumber who would come in an hour. At 7:00 the doorbell rang. The owner with the plumber we had used before, a nice man, and not the guy who stole from us! We took him to the balcony and he looked but it was DARK out of course and he said he’d need to come the next day. We said we work but could come back early. He said he’d come at 2:00. A little after 5:00 they got here.
The hubs, the plumber, and the building owner stood on the balcony and one by one the owner called the people in the flats above, telling them to turn their water on and off in various locations in the house until the found which one had a leak.
They figured it out and after a little discussion the owner called and ordered 300m of pipe from someone. Then he fixed the toilet (we are very grateful) and they left. And we were like….wait…are they coming back tonight or tomorrow?
We kept our non-pj clothes on until about 9:00, at which point we gave up and decided they weren’t coming back.
Sunday is our second day of weekend (we have a split weekend: Friday and Sunday. It’s weird.) We had a lazy morning, went out for a coffee and got back home around noon. Shortly after the doorbell rang and to our dismay there was the first plumber, the man we don’t like, who stole from us. The owner wasn’t with him, so the hubs went with him out to the balcony to talk about the problem, and I slipped out upstairs to the owners flat to let him know this guy was there.
The owner wasn’t there but his lovely wife was and we chatted for awhile. She said the other guy was his brother and the owner was out getting pipe and would be back shortly and made me promise to stay for tea next time.
The guy was very jovial and calling the hubs his friend and all that. Really laying it on. And was like, “What, no tea?” and a few minutes later was like, “What, I don’t get tea?” Which is really pretty inappropriate. A worker would never ask an Egyptian whose home he was working in for tea. He said a few other things and was clearly messing with us. Not a good man. I was very unsettled to have him in our house again, even though the hubs stayed with him the whole time (which, unfortunately is very common as most people don’t trust the people who come in to fix things…which we now understand.)
Eventually the owner came and the hubs and the owner stood on the balcony while the plumber shimmied three stories up to break the old pipe and put in a new one. The plumber didn’t make any other weird comments or requests while the owner was there. And the pipe looks a lil’ haphazard and I’m afraid that it’s a bandaid on a bigger problem.
But eventually they left and after 4 days we finally get a little bit of peace about it for now. It’s unfortunate because the problem is not ours (again) and we know it is bound to happen again and are frustrated that we have the flat that needs to be accessed whenever there are water issues on the floors on our side above. It’s exhausting, especially when it is a creepy, mischievous man who keeps coming into our house. The owner knows what happened about the stolen money, we told him. But he just tells us to stay with him whenever he’s working here. It’s such an awkward frustrating situation because I can’t tell the owner who to use to fix a problem that isn’t ours that we’re not paying for.
It’s good that it’s over for now, but it’s unsettling to have stress in the home–the place that I’d like to be the resting place from the stress of the rest of the day and this buzzing city.
Anyway, here’s to hoping that’s the end of the saga! 6 plumber visits in 3 months has been more than enough!
Update: After we went to bed the hubs got up to get water and discovered more water in the kitchen and the source: water leaking out of where the faucet connects to the sink. We were able to get it down to a drip, but are out all day today and hope it doesn’t get worse. 😀