Saturday, October 12, 2013

Water, water, everywhere (well, not quite)

Someone on a floor above mine left a faucet open after leaving on vacation, at about the time of my last post. When I got home, I noticed a queer smell, and finally I saw streaks on one wall that suggested a strong but brief torrent of dirty water had coursed down it in rivulets at some point earlier in the day. The wall was dry, though, and I saw no obvious damage except for the streaks on the paint.

Then, after some days, I noticed that the door of the apartment was hard to open and close. This got worse over a period of a week or two, and eventually it required a superhuman slam to close or open (which elicited comments from several neighbors). On one occasion I had to spend €140 I couldn't afford on a locksmith just to open the door. 

It finally dawned on me that the leak at the end of July must have somehow caused something to swell, making the door hard to open and close.

As I was trying to figure out what to do about this (I'm not very good at solving household-type problems), another problem arose. Last Friday, I heard a hissing noise just before leaving for work. I looked carefully everywhere and saw no trace of moisture, and supposed it was coming from workers downstairs who had been working on replacing the building furnace for a week or so. But when I returned home in the evening, the building water was turned off and there was a note from my neighbor on the door.

She explained that a "waterfall" of water had been cascading into the disused cinema on the ground floor, and it seemed to be coming from my apartment. I looked inside and there was a little bit of water in the floor of the kitchen, and a wet spot on the carpet near the bathroom door, but nothing else, and no moisture near any pipes.

Today the plumbers came. They turned the water back on, and immediately water started squirting from a wall in my bathroom. The plumbers said there was a break in a pipe that leads to my 70-year-old water heater. So they were able to turn the cold water back on for all if us, but have left me without hot water until Monday, when they will spend the whole day replacing the broken pipes. I'm sure it will be a huge, slimy mess.

Meantime, I smell bad and my hair is matted for lack of a shower, but at least I have water to drink and wash hands.

I can see why insurance policies place so much emphasis on d├ęgats des eaux (water damage). This is at least the fourth time that something like this has happened. And clearly the door has been affected, too. I don't what to do. Just calling the locksmith cost so much money that my parents had to help me out. It's such a pain being poor. Money is everything.

Needless to say, I haven't had much chance to walk around Paris. Just the difficulty in getting the door open and closed discourages me from going out.

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