Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Today I had a plumber come out to my apartment. There was a pool of water forming in my bathroom that I first noticed on Wednesday. At first, I thought that I had been careless with the shower curtain, and mopped up the mess and moved on. But when the pool reappeared without my having been in the shower, I began to suspect a problem.

Now I knew that the water heater, water softener and furnace were on the other side of the wall in the laundry room, so I wandered over there to see what was what. And of course, there was a flood. A pool of water was abutted to the wall of my unit. Where had it come from? I didn’t know, but I suspected the water softener that the management of my apartment had stopped providing salt for a year earlier. (I’ve mentioned previously the rather poor water quality of my unit in comments on this site.)

So I called the property management company and reported the issue. Suspecting that they would do nothing except look at it, I waited for the handy man to show up, and put his nose in it, so to speak. He said he’d take care of it, and I went to work.

I saw that water was still pooling in my bathroom, that evening, the next morning and Friday evening. At first, I allowed that there might be some residual water I the wall that would need to leak out. But after a day of more water, I knew the truth. I double checked and sure enough, there was a pool of water in the laundry room. The handy man had not fixed the problem. Big surprise?

No. Not really.

This is the same man that never repaired the towel rod in my unit (I did), never fixed the broken door knob on the entry to my unit (I did), never repaired my toilet (I did), never repaired the fan in the laundry room (I won’t), never replaced the missing screens on my windows … and so on. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, but if he ever does any repairs, I haven’t seen them.

So, resolving to see the problem fixed before the baseboard in my unit warped any more, I called the off hours emergency repair number on Sunday morning and got someone who promised to send someone out. I went shopping and came back a few hours later.

Let’s see if the problem was fixed…

Um. No. It wasn’t.


I called the number again. “Hi, there’s still water in my unit.”

“Hey, are you in building 38?”

“No, 32.”

“Ah, we’ll send him out again…”


The plumber came out and apologized profusely that he had been given the wrong unit number. When he hadn’t found any water, he’d checked back four times with the off hours guy but the off shift guy was certain: 38.

“I knew I was going to be out here again, even before I left. No-one calls about a pool of water unless it’s serious.”

“Sorry about that.”

“Not your fault. I’d gotten home, mowed my lawn and was about to shower and settle in for the evening when the guy called back.”



We chatted a bit while he checked out the exposed plumbing and then started cutting holes in the wall. I told him about the shoddy maintenance here. He just shook his head.

“When did you first report the leak?”


“Thursday! Wow.”


Soon he found the problem, a leaking fitting in the copper pipe in the wall. I asked him to teach me some of his trade while he worked, and he was more than happy to explain his methods, and he and I had fun.

“Stupid of them,” he said. “On a holiday weekend to have me out twice.”

“I hope you bill them for every minute.”

“I will. And it sounds like they deserve it.”

“Yeah. Definitely.”

When he finished, I helped him carry his equipment to his truck and thanked him for his time. “I don’t know how often you get a thank you. But thanks….”

“Not often in this line of work, and it’s appreciated.”