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I Wish I Had a River I Could Skate Away On

Summary of my Friday night: Happily snuggled in for the evening. Watching a little TV, sipping some tea, peeking out the window at the snow. Suddenly, the sound of water. Melting snow? Rain? No…I walk back to the bathroom and step…straight into a floor full of water. The toilet is overflowing and water is running everywhere. Aaagh! Happy, snuggly evening over. Just like that.

Panicked phone call to the landlady (she lives upstairs – we’ll call her “Mrs. Madrigal”) who in turn makes a panicked phone call to the plumber and her handyman, Filippe. In the meantime, I frantically mop up water so that it doesn’t seep down the hallway into any other rooms. The water stops running and slowly (very very slowly) drains out of the bathtub while I continue mopping up the excess on the floor.

Long story short, no plumbers call back. Apparently, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers. So I’m stuck until Saturday morning, when Filippe can come over and take a look at things. As for, ahem, “taking care of business” until that time, Mrs. Madrigal has a couple of suggestions for me: 1) I can come upstairs to her place and just walk in and use her bathroom whenever I need to; 2) I can go stay with a friend of hers for the night; or 3) I can use her chamberpot.

Let me say that again. I can use her chamberpot. This marks the first time I have ever been offered the use of a chamberpot. Frankly, this is also the first time I have ever met anyone who keeps a chamberpot at the ready. There are only two scenarios here – either she bought a used chamberpot at an antique show/flea market because she thought it would add that extra je ne sais quoi to her living room, or she actually uses it on occasion. Neither thought is pleasing to me, so I demur. I’ll just come upstairs and use her facilities.

Cut to this morning. Filippe comes over. He brings his cousin. They proceed to wander about, remove the toilet from the wall, and generally make a mess of things. I flee to the supermarket to buy cleaning supplies and stop by Starbucks for a muffin and a chance to use working plumbing (and, as it turns out, chat with Jen for a while).

Back at the ranch. Filippe and his cousin are gone. The toilet is still sitting in the middle of the floor. It’s not a pretty picture. Three hours later, the plumber arrives. He looks a little like this. Five hours later, he’s done. The offending drain clog (tree roots) has been cleared. The bathroom is a wreck. Mrs. Madrigal shows up and tells me that she’s so sorry this happened, what can she do to make it up to me, how can she be so lucky to have such a gracious tenant, and, oh, by the way, she’s drunk. No, really. She said, “I’m drunk.” Then she told my cat, “Georgia, you have a drunk landlady.” And then she staggered back upstairs.

People, I could not make this stuff up.

So, how was *your* weekend?

[Joni Mitchell lyrics=1]

{ 6 } Comments

  1. Rob | November 30, 2003 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    OMG! Sorry to hear about that, ‘specially day after Thanksgiving. At least Mary was honest — with you and Georgia — about her drinking issues.

    My weekend was no where near as eventful, so I’ll spare you — until that is, we provide respite to one another from our respective OGC plights (and other existential matters) by chatting on the phone this week.


  2. M | December 1, 2003 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Robbie, I am about to join Mrs. Madrigal for a drink…

  3. Sedalina | December 3, 2003 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I read this post over the holiday weekend and flinched in horror, but never got the time to leave a cogent comment (I’m very big on cogent comments now, having littered the blogosphere with uncogent ones). Your line about bathroom surprises totally cracked me up. You’re right, I discovered something happier than you did. But I never trust bathroom karma.

  4. M | December 3, 2003 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    After this past weekend’s horrifying spectacle, I should be jake with the bathroom karma for a while. But just in case, I’ve scoped out the neighborhood bathroom situation. There’s a bar around the corner that’s open ’til 4am – and Starbucks opens by 7. Just say no to chamberpots.

  5. Vanessa | December 6, 2003 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Your picture of the plumber is the best. He looks so sort of happy to be spending five hours on his knees in sewage. Yay for the plumber!

  6. Darx | March 10, 2004 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    This was the belly laugh I needed today. Thanks!

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