Weep for Seeps

It rained last night. Today, when I got to the town house, I found small puddles of water in the middle of the kitchen floor. Worrying that we had a leak, I checked the ceiling, the windows, the doors, and both the dishwasher and refrigerator. All were bone dry (even upstairs). In fact, the biggest puddle was under a dry plastic trash can I used for the scraps from lining the kitchen cabinets yesterday. weird.

So, I did the logical thing: I messaged Emil and mopped it up. I did a few other things around the place…

One of the things I did was scrape the living room windows with a razor blade. They needed a good cleaning. I was outside when the HOA President/nazi came by on her morning walk and said hello. This wasn’t my first sighting of her. The day before I watched her peer over a fence into our neighbor’s patio. Um, if you can’t see it from the common area, it’s not worth being nosy over!
She tried to act sweet with “I’m just over there if you need anything,” but I think it was her second or third sentence when she said we’d need permission to do anything exterior. I was quick to inform her that I was scraping the paint from when the exterior was painted. She defended her remark with some “years ago” bullshit. Yes, it was years ago when they did it wrong. And no, the place does not yet need new exterior paint, but I’m still going to take care of their lack of maintenance issue from the way-back time. We liked the place in part because of that big window. I’ll be damned if I’m going to look through paint flecks to see outside.
I also told her we’d be making a request soon to have our front door repainted since bare wood was showing.
She was not once forthcoming with any contact information like her exact unit or a phone number or email address. (If I were an HOA President, I’d have some little business cards. For cryin’ out loud, they are free from some online services and a whopping $10 with others.)

….and after that, the puddles were back. great. A least this time, I can determine their origins and verify it’s not from the dishwasher or refrigerator.

We have had possession of the space for such a short time (6 days), that the paperwork has not yet been processed for the home warranty. So, Emil texted/emailed/called to get all that info.

I wandered the property for our handy man, Mario. I found his smoking-on-the-job assistant, Jason, but not him.

I went two doors down to Annie. Turns out she’s only lived there six months and doesn’t know much, yet. She gave me two numbers. One (for the HOA Management) was disconnected.

I tried to reach the HOA President. Guess who wasn’t answering her phone? Guess who has her phone set to NOT receive voice mails?

I drove back to our apartment to get the HOA book. I waited for return calls and other info and loaded the car with a few things. I was just about to give up when we got some news. By this time, I was “hangry” and had to stop worrying about others to take care of my own needs. I was in a hurry at the sub shop and as I was getting back into the car, I cracked my forehead on the visor. I was still shaking off the “stars” when the phone rang. Our painter wanted to come over for the walk through and to settle up. sure.

I had given the short version of our story to the painter. So, when Emil called with some bad news (warranty covers only $1000 and won’t replace any flooring they have to destroy to get to the problem), our painter watched me shed tears of frustration. He then gave me a total that was more than the bid/expectation. So, I gave him the cash (cash!) for the bid we’d received and we made arrangements to deal with the other money next week. He was kind enough to look at the floor and our outside overflow pipes and render a professional opinion. Meanwhile, we are still missing two ~expensive screw drivers. While the painters had no reason to use (or accidentally pick up) screw drivers, no one else has been in the space. sigh.

In the midst of all this “how to fix what’s broken” stuff we are also learning our domain from that of the HOA. Turns out, plumbing, even that within the foundation, is ours. yippie. Now, I still need the HOA/similar to tell me how to turn off our water supply.

So, I head outside to find a cutoff. I find four. Sweet. Four units; four valves. I try the one that “must” be ours and have no luck getting it to turn. At that moment a neighbor’s friend pulls up, asks me how I’m doing, and offers to help. Our neighbor joins us. We try both valves and neither seem to work. I thank the gentlemen for their help and time. I wander around and find no discernible pattern to the cutoff valves for our new neighborhood.

Next, I try the numbers in our fancy HOA notebook. They are all landlines of people who have day jobs, disconnected numbers, and services that no longer apply to our area. What I wouldn’t give for an up-to-date mobile-friendly website!

It’s around this point that I can be found wandering aimlessly through our freshly-painted unfurnished home sobbing in frustration.

Emil calls State Farm. They will cover any flooring replacements that the home warranty won’t. yay!

Finally, Tracy, our neighbor who bought the home across the street, arrives. She’s already proved to be in the know with the ‘hood, so I head over. She knows Bill down-the-street, and expects that her neighbor will know how to help. Eventually, we find the valve. It took four neighbors, one friend-of-a-neighbor, and two handymen, but we got the water turned off….or so we thought. After this, I heard from the home warranty company and they said the plumber would be out this evening. Tracy comes over to see the paint job and notices a “remote possibility” that the puddles could be from the dishwasher. I don’t agree based on what I’ve seen, but I’ll keep an eye on the spot in case she’s right.

By this time, I’ve spent all afternoon on the damn water cutoff and need to go get Emil from work. On my way out, our neighbor Annie stops me; she’d been cooking all day and wanted to make sure I had lunch. sweetness.

I pick Emil up with an “I have no opinions on dinner but I want beer” attitude. We were driving to the new neighborhood bar we’ve wanted to try when we got the call that the warranty company wanted to send the plumbers tomorrow morning, instead of tonight. I got loud so she could hear me through Emil’s phone and said that while I didn’t care, it was shitty of them to lie to me and make me wait all afternoon. Anyway, we went for beer–where we sat next to two plumbers with lots of stories, advice, and opinions–then tacos, and then to the townhouse. Even with the water cut off, there is moisture in the kitchen. I mop, again…and we quickly realize that we can not completely bleed the pipes dry. The water is cut off as much as it can be, but that’s not 100%. At least it will be easy to show Affordable Plumbing where the leaks are.

It’s been the longest and hardest day of home re-ownership so far. This kind of shit is exactly the reason we wanted to rent for the next forever. Calgon, take me away!

2013-02-06 10.45.59

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