Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Can You Put a Plumber on Retainer?

Usually, when Tomcat comes home from work, we kissy-face greet each other, he gives the dogs a treat, we ask each other about our day, and so forth. But yesterday, he comes rushing through the door shouting, "Where's the key to the garage apartment?!" Seems the pipe leading to the toilet had somehow come loose and water was gushing down into the workshop below.

And, of all the cheap plumbing connections in this place, the garage apartment bathroom is the only one without a water shutoff valve. He managed to get the pipe propped up to stop the leak, hopefully long enough for the plumber to come out and fix it.

I called the plumber this morning. One of the guys answered instead of Charlotte, who is on vacation this week. I know most of the guys by name, and Charlotte recognizes my voice when I call. That's because we see and talk to each other so often since moving into Maxwell House.

A couple of weeks ago, they were out here because water was pouring through the downstairs bathroom light fixture and part of the ceiling was falling down. That's because Tomcat tried to install the washing machine upstairs where there used to be a small kitchenette. Something that was supposed to be threaded together was actually welded, and when he tried to wrench it apart, the whole thing broke. Then Tomcat jury-rigged the thing together so we could wash a load of clothes, but water was leaking out everywhere. We were just back from vacation, and REALLY needed some clean clothes. We put buckets under the leaks, but the buckets overflowed during the night.

I have to stop telling the plumbing story here to regale you with the dryer story: After we washed that load of clothes, we put them in our new dryer. After a while, we couldn't figure out why the clothes weren't getting dry. It finally dawned on us that we had a gas dryer. Hahahahaaaaa! We FORGOT that it was gas! How does that happen? Jet lag, that's how. See, we used to have an electric dryer. But, in order to use that in this house, we'd have to have the electrician come out and install a 220 outlet.

Regular readers will remember that the last time we had the electrician out, he took pictures of the fuse boxes with his cell phone to show his supervisor. That's because the electric system is original to the house, i.e., it's a hundred years old.

So, we found a gas dryer on sale. Only we forgot that it was gas when it came time to use it.

So, when the plumber came out to hook up the washer, he also had to hook up the gas dryer. That time, when the plumber left, he said, "Don't let your husband do anything else."

Tomcat said if he hadn't known these people for 20 years, he might have taken offense, but as it was, it was more funny than anything else.

Oh - about that leak in the garage apartment last night - the only reason Tomcat discovered the leak in the first place was because he wanted to store some things in the workshop before he came in the house. What was he going to store? Back issues of Handyman magazine.