A Fine Mess

Maybe it was a good thing that I worked from home last Friday. The changeover for Daylight Savings Time had messed me up that I woke up late and missed my morning commute. Working from home is usually a peaceful time to get housework done and run errands between help desk tickets. Unless the maintenance crew was working in a nearby apartment, which sometimes sounds like a persistent woodpecker pecking away at something or somebody screams bloody murder in a screeching voice.

This past Friday was different.

The predominant sound was a dental drill from upstairs, and later, after I signed off from work on the computer, running water from my kitchen. A fountain of water squirted out of the kitchen sink drain. I had enough time to lay down bath towels to contain the two-inch deep water that flooded my kitchen floor in five minutes. If I had gone into work and came home as I normally do, the carpets in the entryway would be ruined.

I called the office to tell them that my kitchen got flooded. By the time a maintenance guy showed up with a shop vac, the water had drained underneath the cabinets. Half the floor got vacuumed up before the plumber came by to say that she needed the shop vac in upstairs apartment. That’s the last time I saw either of them. I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the sewer sludge that covered my dirty dishes in the sink, the counter top, a dozen kitchen towels in a drawer, and the towels on the floor. I wasn’t too happy that my apartment smelled like an open sewer for the weekend.

With my allergies declaring war on me and the problems with the apartment, I didn’t go into work on Monday. I wrote a detailed letter explaining the situation to the leasing manager and included three pictures. The first picture showed my kitchen floor being flooded, the second showed the boards underneath the kitchen sink warping from the water damage, and the third picture was taken less than six months ago when the painters upstairs spilled¬†a bucket of white paint on my patio chair and balcony. Since I lived on the second floor of a three-story building, most of my problems come up from below or down from above. I got a phone call from the leasing manager that everything will get fixed.

The carpet cleaner came by to inspect the damage before scheduling a cleaning. There wasn’t much damage to the carpets since my bath towels stopped the water. The carpet cleaner did a general cleaning and deodorizing of the entryway the next day.

The maintenance supervisor came over to do the work underneath the kitchen sink.

“So I heard you had a leak,” he said.

“Oh, no,” I replied. “I had a flood.”

He didn’t believe me until he looked underneath the kitchen sink. The waterlogged board was four times the normal thickness and the drywall where the board met was wet. He removed the damaged board and support beam to let the drywall dry out overnight. I came home from work the next day to find the board and support beam replaced and painted. So instead of my apartment smelling ever so slightly like an open sewer, it now smells ever so slightly of drying paint and damp carpets.