April 18, 2006

The saga of the bathroom ceiling

Some of you may know the story of my leaky tub fixtures.  Some of you have even seen for yourself the story that I am about to tell.  I promise, the end is worth it....

It all started in the master bath.  Which is nice enough as bathrooms go.  Except for two things.  First, the incredible geometry of shutting the bathroom door if one is already seated upon the throne (don't try it unless you're a contortionist.  Good thing DH and I are not in the least squeamish about calls of nature in front of each other).  Second, you could not get the water to run completely from the tub faucet.  Despite all the leverage you could put on the diverter, half the water always fell from the showerhead.  This was a unique problem to say the least.  But, as it is not our shower, and therefore not advisable to undertake major plumbing repairs, even though we pretty much know what  we're doing, we just dealt with it.

For several months.  As it turns out, it has been a problem for years.

So one day recently I was cleaning up the house before some guests were to arrive.  I took a shower, and then went downstairs to make sure there were hand towels and enough TP in the downstairs bath.  And I stepped into a puddle.  I looked up, and sure enough, a long crack in the ceiling, water still dripping from the plaster.

First thought:  OH SHIT!!!.  Second thought: Wait.  This isn't enough water to be from the drain.  And it doesn't smell like my shampoo either.... Hmmm.

So we call the landlords.  And so begins the process of finding the cheapest competent plumber.  A parade of the ass-crack brigade passes in and out of my house.  In the door, up the stairs, and into my bedroom.  Which means I have to clean.  Every day.  For a week.  Finally, they decided to go with one guy, and he came back later that afternoon and solved my problem.  Yay!

Turns out that the diverter was jacked up and the connections from the fixtures to the main water pipe were corroded.  Yes, they did put in cheap pipe.  I suspect my house was built by illegal day laborers too, but what the hell.

Anyway, the water was coming from the pressure surge when the faucet was turned off and the water fell back through the corroded connections on its way from the showerhead down.  Or so he tells me.  New fixtures, no more leak.  Yay!

So now it was time to fix the ceiling downstairs...

It's worth clicking the extended... really.

As you may know, the shower was fixed several weeks ago, and it ha taken all this time to get to the ceiling.  Why you ask?  Well, it was monsoon season here in LA for the last 3-4 weeks, and the guy didn't want to paint with the increased humidity.

Excuse me while I laugh my ass off.  I painted in the summer in NC.  You want to talk about humidity? The walls dried just fine.  It's called a FAN.

So then it stops raining, and the guy is supposed to come Thursday at 9:30.  He shows up at a quarter to11, after my DH has called our landlord to find out what the deal is with this guy.

And he smells of purple smoke, if you know what I mean....

He tapes up the crack and does a wee bit o'plastering. (I could so have done this one, I am damn near a hole patch expert with drywall).  Then he primes the ceiling.  Before he leaves, the landlord shows up to see what he's done.  but of course he wanted to check the job AFTER the dude had already left so he wouldn't know he was being checked up on, right?  oops.

So they both leave, and dude says he'll be back around 10 on Friday, even though it's supposed to rain to do the painting.  Hmm.  You couldn't paint in the rain before....

Flash forward to 10 am Friday, no dude.  10:30, no dude.  11am, no dude.  We call the landlady and she calls him.  He gives her some whiny bullshite about well, since it's raining.... but I can go over there now.  She cuts him off, as I had some errands to run, and she knew it.  She tells him to come by on Saturday.  He says he'll be there Saturday at 10.

Tell me you ALREADY know what's coming...

Saturday morning, we're up by 9.  Sitting up in our bedroom with the dog, balcony door open so we'll hear him coming, even before he rings the bell, right?  About 10am the pooch decides it's potty time, and hubby takes her to the front of the house to do her thing in the parking strip.  They're standing right in front of the house for at least 5 minutes.  Keep that in mind.

When she's finished they come in.  About 20 minutes later we think we hear someone outside, and hubby goes downstairs to let the dude in.  Wrong.  When he opens the door, the knock was on the neighbors' door, not ours.

We sat there until 11.  Called the landlady again about 11:30.  She calls him.  Then she calls us back. "He says he was there at 10 and he rang the bell, and he heard it ring and no one answered the door"

"That's funny." I tell her.  "I was here the whole time, waiting for him.  Hubby was out front with the dog then, and he didn't see anyone at all.  We did think we heard someone, but it was the neighbors' guests..."

Let me ask you this.  Put yourself in his shoes.  You have an appointment with a client which you have blown off twice and you would like to get paid.  You arrive at the house, and no one answers your ring.  What do you do?

Would you try knocking?  Ringing again?  Knocking and ringing again?  Perhaps calling the contact number you have?  Would you maybe leave a note and then try again in a few minutes if nothing else works?

Not this dude.  One (supposed) bell ring and he booked.  I call BS.  The son of a bitch never showed and then tried to cover his ass.  My husband, who is more pissed than I am, was standing in front of the house at the time dude says he was there.

Anyway, landlady sets up for him to come on Monday afternoon.  At 4.  The landlord will be there at 4:30 as he is finishing up to inspect and pay him.

4 o'clock yesterday:  No dude.

4:20: Ding-Dong.  It's him.  I tell him to wait while I put the dog upstairs.  By the time I come back, landlord is also there, and I was gone maybe 2 minutes.

Anyway, after much hoo-hah he gets his check and then finishes the painting (I assume, the transaction was done outside my presence).  He walks in and out a few times.  Presumably to clean the oil-based (foul smelling) paint from his brushes.  Then he turns on the vent fan in the bathroom ceiling, shuts the door and simply walks out.  Half an hour later, I realize that he's done and isn't coming back.

Ass munch.

But here's the kicker:  we're not through with him.  Oh no.  See the roof has a tiny leak, and the homeowners' association was supposed to fix it last fall.  That's right.  Never got done.  Why you ask?  Well, evidently the job is "too small" for anyone to take on.  Economy must be damn good when a roofer is turning down any amount of $$, huh?

Turns out dude (or perhaps someone he knows) will be fixing the roof, and then dude will be painting the ceiling of my bedroom.


Posted by caltechgirl at April 18, 2006 01:12 PM | TrackBack

Why won't the landlord get a different painter?

Posted by: AW Cunningham 3 at April 18, 2006 02:04 PM

weird, you had a flood and i've never even been to your house. usually homes don't flood until i've been there. i have a special way with water.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at April 18, 2006 04:30 PM

Are you sure the painter isn't the owner's cousin? sigh... I'm sorry to hear abou tthis. I know it sucks.

Posted by: vw bug at April 19, 2006 04:27 AM

no, definitely not. I think this guy has done a lot of work for them in the past, perhaps when he wasn't as stoned...

Posted by: caltechgirl at April 19, 2006 10:12 AM

Oh boy. That's so frustrating.... Have you asked the landlord if you could paint it your self? Mybe pay less rent for a month?

Posted by: Richmond at April 19, 2006 11:22 AM

Oh, man. Oh, oh, oh, man.

The top of my head just blew off reading it.

Honey, you have major restraint.

Just damn.

Posted by: Christina at April 20, 2006 08:01 AM

He must be dirt cheap... or he must have something on them. That sucks!

Posted by: Marie at April 21, 2006 04:00 PM