Monday, December 24, 2012

My (Not So) Holly Jolly Christmas Eve

It started Sunday night around 9:30 when I went into my (clean) kitchen and saw that my kitchen sink had a film of grease and black specks in it, as if water had backed up and then drained. I ran a bit of water and it went down at first, then backed up. I tried a plunger (Oh, what an optimist I am!) and at first I thought it worked.

Then when I opened my dishwasher, a cascade of greasy, black flecked water tsunami'd out. What a mess. Water started rising in the sink.

I decided I was not going to screw with a half-hearted fix by the super, and was going to bite the bullet (little did I know how BIG that bullet was going to be) so I googled "emergency plumber new york city" and Rotor Rooter came up. The site said they don't charge extra for weekends and holidays and my reasoning went that Rotor Rooter may have systems in place, more so than Joe the Average Guy Plumber.

I called Rotor Rooter about 9:30 and they were very nice, said they were "operating on a two-hour window" and would have someone there by 11:30. Wow, I am impressed.

But not for long.

Around 10:30, they tell me that they don't have anyone to send after all, but they will reschedule me for today from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. So much for sleeping in and relaxing. I said OK. I never know in these cases whether it's better to cut your losses and find someone else or stick with them. I stuck with them.

I bailed out a bunch of water. Luckily, no other drains/toilets were affected -- just my kitchen sink and dishwasher. So I was bailing this disgusting grease water into a bucket and then dumping the bucket. Oh yes, I definitely started feeling sorry for myself.

I had a fitful night's sleep, afraid that the sink would back up again, and got up around 7:30 because I didn't want to miss the phone call or have them arrived and not be dressed. I went upstairs, feeling the steps for water on my way up, thinking "well, at least it hasn't leaked this far." No water on the living room floor or the kitchen floor and the sink was empty.

So far so good.

I was about to call RR again to make sure I was on the list, when the phone rang. It's RR -- now about 8:15 saying they'd be there in an hour. Fair enough.

About an hour and a half later, the phone rings and Oh whoops, we thought we had dispatched someone but we hadn't. Now you'll get someone in an hour. About an hour later, the phone rings again and I hear a cheery "We're on our way!!"

Ninety minutes later -- and by now, it's 12:40, I call back. I am told about the terrible Manhattan traffic and how the guy is "working his way toward" me -- really utter BS. She told me 30 minutes. Forty minutes later, I was calling when the buzzer sounded.

In comes Danny, who I thought was Russian, but turns out to be from Transylvania and he's Romanian and I learned that Romanian is a language, very similar, he says to Italian. Go figure.

I forgot a detail. When I opened the door for Danny, he indicates to me that he is going to put these blue booties over his shoes. I said, "Are they for you or for me?" He said "for you" and I said they weren't necessary.

He goes to work and work and work and work. He says this is a major clog. Of course it is. It's not my sink (which I knew, or thought I knew) but something called the stackline which goes from the building to the street. I had already been thinking that I was going to present this bill to building management -- the bill?


Before he could start work, however, I had to sign the estimate. Then he noticed I have two cracked ceramic floor tiles and I had to sign a waiver since I guess people blame RR for broken tiles and other damage. That's pretty low (the people who do that).

He really was working hard, and I could tell my his grunts and the sound of the snake it wasn't going well. The snake would make a noise like the largest dentist drill you could imagine, but then there would be these sounds like a gun going off, or a car backfiring. Oh yes, very relaxing.

I later asked him and he said the banging noises were from when the head of the snake hit a clog so solid it couldn't move.

He then gives up on the normal snake and goes and gets the Daddy snake, twice the size. I just didn't want him to leave.

Imagine my white kitchen, with crappy damp paper towels all over the floor from last night, the doors off the cabinet below the sink, all his tools, gunk and gook and everything else. I sat in my chair, determined to read this book and tried to ignore everything. But it was hard.

He comes back with the Daddy snake and kept hearing the banging noises and then finally -- oh, it was like an angelic symphony -- the sound of a whirring snake with no bangs which went on for about five minutes. Then Danny announced it was fixed.

He ran the water in the sink for about 20 minutes and everything was fine. He put some sort of enzyme treatment in the sink and recommended that I buy a container of it (I said yes because I trusted him) to use two weeks from now.

He wrote out the receipt describing the problem in a way that made it clear this was not my personal sink problem -- at one point he said it was grease and pet hair -- so the building management can pay. I will certainly try to have them pay.

As much as I liked Danny, I just wanted him to leave. He was pecking away at this iPad machine one effing letter at a time. Oh, meanwhile my groceries arrived and it was this old man and I felt bad for him. Danny was doing a nice job cleaning up, but then I tipped him $20, and he was so happy -- he God blessed me and everything and ended up leaving my kitchen cleaner (really) than when he arrived. It still needs work, but at least it's not gross looking. The floor is clean.

Um... let's see.... lessons??

I am grateful that whether the building pays or not, I had the money to fix this.
I am grateful that Danny came to fix it on Christmas Eve.
I am grateful that I don't live in this hotel Danny had just come from which is a residence hotel and seven of the rooms had toilet sewage back up and spew up through their kitchen sinks so there is "feces" (Danny's word) all over the walls, and the hotel couldn't get anyone to come clean it.

Really? You don't feel like spending Christmas Eve cleaning ca-ca off a stranger's wall for minimum wage?

I am grateful that it's my sink that was broken and stopped up and not me or my body. Snaking sounds painful.

Of course, Danny is my man right now but I do feel that in the hands of a lesser plumber (or one NOT from Transylvania) my problem might not have been fixed. He worked on it for three hours.

I am not supposed to use my sink or dishwasher tonight because he put this enzyme treatment in it. I was going to cook a nice dinner, but I am either going to order a pizza or make a Honey baked ham sandwich on this sour dough baguette I got today. Either of those is as good as any fancy meal!

Now I'm going to relax and hopefully have a Holly Jolly rest of my Christmas Eve. Hope you have no need for emergency plumbers. Or emergency anything for that matter.


Barbara said...

Sorry about the big bill (I really do feel your pain)- but I'm glad it's fixed - Merry Xmas!

Mary Mc said...

Sounds like when the restaurants dumped grease causing my back up. You migh pay someone to clean/sanitize the floor. My insurance comoany paid for it.

Pat said...

I was thinking about the sanitizing angle. God only knows what was in that water. I'll run the dishwasher a few times -- think I'll put some bleach in it too. I am grateful it's fixed, but I have to say it was really a lousy day.

Melissa said...

Gracious... What a day! But I love that you considered everything you were greatful for instead of staying at he pity party for Chistmas Eve :). And I'm glad 'Danny' was on duty today :). Merry Christmas!