3.31.2009

What Drips (now with Pics!)

But first, a couple items of bidness:

1. Congratulations (I hope) to Mrs. Lemon, Lei, Amanda, and Sara - I'm paying it forward to them. Sometime in the next 360 days. I had in mind one thing I would make for all the "winners" but then decided to do something a little more individual, because all these "girls" are so cool and unique. So I'm thinking and gathering supplies. Thanks for being patient winners!

2. Thank you to all who gave such great suggestions on helping children control their anger. I'm implementing a couple of them and we'll see how it goes. If nothing else, it makes me feel better when I know it's not just me and not just my kids. We all have our heathen moments, eh?

3. I just want to say that Girl Scout Cookies make almost everything better. A lady at the embassy here let us order from her little niece back home and the cookies just arrived this week. Heaven in a little green (or yellow or purple) box. I'm telling ya.

***

And now, for the happenings:

Just this morning I made a comment on my friend's blog that I need to get out more, then I would have more interesting things to blog about. Yeah, don't say things like that to the internets.

I finally went out to the rynok (outdoor market) and to the MegaMarket (grocery store) today for our week's groceries. I'm only a week behind getting there.

Other than the eighty people who told me that my children need to wear hats because it's not summer yet (it's 50 degrees out and sunny!) and the few women who tsk tsked at Henry for jumping in puddles and/or sticking his tongue out at me when I told him to stop, the rynok was uneventful. Except that the vegetables and fruits are beautiful.

Which reminds me that I still need to post about shopping in Ukraine.

Anyhoo...on the way home from the MegaMarket, I got rear-ended. A bus pulled away from a bus stop in front of the car in front of me, which slammed on their brakes, I slammed on mine and turned slightly into the next lane to avoid hitting the car, and then a sedan slammed into the back of our car. We are all OK.

Except that I started shaking uncontrollably, I wasn trying to remember how to talk about police and cars and stopping suddenly in Russian (if I ever knew), and I realized I didn't have my phone in my coat pocket (getting out of the house was the usual circus and I forgot to double check that I had it with me before I left). Then the guy who crashed into me just gave me $200 for the damage to the back bumper and left.

His car was messed up worse than mine, although it was still mobile, but he didn't want to call the police, and I had no way to call even my husband to find out what the protocol is for fender-benders here.

I cried all the way home - Henry was quite concerned, poor little guy - then I called David. He came home to take a closer look at the bumper.

$200 isn't even going to cover the paint on the bumper, and there's damage to the metal underneath.

But this also reminds me that I need to post some about parking and driving in Ukraine. And tattle on David, who messed up the front bumper a couple months ago parking on the sidewalk. Ran over a planter when he went to drive away.

Good thing that one more baby is going to require a different car when we get home anyway, because our car is starting to look like rubble.

I guess I could also look at the bright side: I made $200 just for leaving the house today.

Grrrrr.

***

But there are even more drips at home.

Not long after we moved in, we noticed that the wall by our front door was starting to show some water damage. We let people know, but nothing real was done about it. It has gotten progressively worse until it looks like this:



The neighbors downstairs are having a similar problem in the same place in their apartment. The building facilities guy (not landlord, because each apartment is owned by different people) came and checked it out and determined that the problem was originating with the people who live on the floor above us, who just did a big remodel (or are still in the process of remodeling?).

He has tried to talk with them and be able to check the pipes in their place, but they will not even let him in the door. Even though they know that whatever plumbing they installed in their apartment is causing serious leaks and water damage to at least two apartments below them.

So the facilities guy (with some clever plumbers) decided that they would cut the pipes in the wall in our place and reroute the water from the floor above the one above us. This would mean that the apartment above us would have no water, but who cares? They don't want to cooperate or help with the problem, we'll just fix the problem without them! (This is the plumbing / facility guy's reasoning, not necessarily mine. Just so you know.)

So they turned the water off for most of the day yesterday and came to reroute the pipes. They cut this beauty in our wall. With a jack hammer. During Charlie's naptime. The dust and debris was as awesome as the noise. And as an added bonus, the workers would leave for smoking breaks, at which time Henry taught Charlie to find rocks in the debris bag and chuck them into the hole on top. Like the bean bag toss at the circus, but not.



They brought in a huge length of PVC to route from the apartment two floors above us.



Then they realized that they couldn't thread the PVC through the way they had "planned." So the thwarting of the upstairs neighbor wasn't going to work after all, and they were back to square one, water pouring down the inside walls all the way from the floor above us.

And they were now left to weld the pipes that they had cut back together, so we would at least have some water. An hour or so of blue sparks and smoke-filled house later, the pipes were back in place. Then we had to run water for several minutes from every faucet to get it not to be a dark rusty river color. You've got to admire not only the welding job (done by a "plumber"), but also the sheer artistry of the groutness holding the bricks of the wall together. Honestly. Nothing like it.



The hole will get filled in on Thursday. They say. Which means we will probably have another magic door in the wall (again, right above one of the others we already have).

And the water damage isn't going to be remedied any time soon unless the "neighbors" upstairs decide to let us fix the actual problem. Frankly, we have a better chance that Henry won't jump in any more puddles this spring.

The poor facilities guy was apologizing all over the place yesterday afternoon, so frustrated. And I tried to tell him it was OK. He said, "How is it OK? It's rotten! Unfortunately, we have many of these kind of people here. And there's nothing to be done."

Sad, but true. I know it with my head, but am surprised every time I have a personal experience with it.

But since my house was without water and a veritable construction zone all day yesterday, and I spent most of today on an "outing," I think I'm going to go bust open a box of Thin Mints, meet Calvin at the bus, and then get ready for a date with my hubs.

It's all good.

7 comments:

MommyJ said...

i hate how car accidents make you a panicky awful mess even when no one is hurt. it's still scary.

and grr to the guy now wanting to call the police...

i'm glad all is good. and your patience and optimism in the presence of dripping walls is all kinds of amazing...

Nobody said...

I can't believe you ended with your last line. This post had me ALL OVER THE PLACE. :) I laughed out loud 4 times though. Tattling on David, I just made $200 for leaving the house...

I am so sorry about the accident. I am seriously impressed by your attitude too. Geez! I get the uncontrollably shaking too---it would be interesting to research, what exactly makes us lose control like that? I'm so glad everyone except The Rubbler is okay.

And I am SO bummed the cutting off of water is not an option anymore. What about if they use the THREAT of that? It's so annoying. I want them to be without water.

I hope you have (had?) a great date. And that you wore a hat.

Shannon said...

What a great story! And ironic too--my laundry-room wall is also leaking with bad pipes that belong to my upstairs neighbors! Part of me wants the entire building to collapse just to teach shoddy builders a lesson that you've got to do things right the first time. . . . But if it could collapse after we move, all the better.

Andrew and Linda said...

hey - I'd send you an e-mail, but this is easier. Bread: go to http://madamsloopysnicklebutt.blogspot.com. There's a FABULOUS bread recipe there. It's mine, and I think you can find all of the ingredients fairly easily in the rynok there... It doesn't get crumbly, it stays fresh for at least a week (I know, since I just barely finished off a loaf of honey wheat yesterday that had had been on the counter in a plastic bag for a week...), and the family LOVES it. Best of all, it's little work, and you can't mess it up... unless you get your water too hot...

Love the update - looking forward to more on your bravery behind a wheel in a car in UKRAINE... what are you, CRAZY?????!!!!!

Sir Nottaguy-Imadad said...

What an amazing post. After all that, you find healing in a box of girl scout cookies. You go girl!!!

Lei said...

Wow. Adventure upon adventure, eh? I got rear ended during my first pregnancy. My first though of course was for the baby. I am so glad you are all okay!

I spent 4 days in the Ukraine on tour once. Not long enough! I want to hear more about what it is like to live there... I am fascinated by your stories even with just little tidbits of cultural info. :) Of course you've probably written tons of posts already... I'll need to break open my own box of cookies sometime, and just sit and read...

Linda said...

Get enough doors in your walls, and soon you'll have a proper Lego house!!!

Still need your address... to linda(dot)r(dot)stahr(at)gmail(dot)com... hope to hear from you soon...