Monday, January 2, 2023

The Missed Call

I know you were wondering what's become of our plumbing problems while I'm out walking around London. The answer is -- nothing! The kitchen is still out of service despite my best efforts to get anyone to pay attention.

I called British Gas back yesterday morning and they agreed to send an "engineer" that day. Then, around 12:30 p.m., I missed a call because I accidentally had my phone set on silent mode. This proved to the be CRUCIAL MOMENT upon which the entire day pivoted. When I noticed the missed call about half an hour later, I called back and left a message saying, "If this is the plumber, I'm home!"

I heard nothing all afternoon. Finally, around 5 p.m. -- British Gas promised the engineer would be here by 6 -- I called that mystery number again. "Oh, I tried to call you but no one answered so I didn't come," the engineer said. He said because it's not an emergency we'd have to wait until Wednesday anyway, because today and tomorrow are bank holidays and they're only responding to emergency calls.

Not to sound too entitled, but I wish people would stop telling me my clogged kitchen sink and inability to use our laundry machine or dishwasher is NOT an emergency.

I'm going to call back this morning and see if I can persuade them to come out today. Meanwhile, I'm doing dishes by hand in a basin and pouring the water down the bathroom sink. It's like being in the Peace Corps all over again.

I walked Olga yesterday morning and encountered this Christmas tree, abandoned peculiarly in the middle of the sidewalk. I bet it stays there three weeks, at least.

That was on our morning walk around the neighborhood. I also took her on an afternoon outing to the cemetery. (Which is where I was when I missed the call from the engineer.)

Dave tried to make me feel better last night by cooking up a last-minute trip to Paris, bless him. He figured we could hop on the Eurostar (which is still running despite the train strikes that have screwed up domestic public transport over the holidays, including all this week) and stay a couple of nights. But we have nowhere to leave the dog, and as I told him, I think that's more escape than I need at such short notice. It might actually add to my stress rather than detract from it. I just have to get out and about in London and get my mind off this flat. So that's my goal for at least a few more days this week.

I've also been meaning to clear some ivy in the garden, so maybe I'll get out and do that. Always a fun job. (That's gardening sarcasm.)

Onward and upward, as erstwhile fellow blogger Reya used to say. Onward and upward!


Andrew said...

As the old Aussie saying goes, 'She'll be right', and I am sure it will be.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Just keep telling yourself: The toilet works. The shower works.

That’s what I’d do... and I’d follow it with: I can’t use the f#@$%ªg kitchen sink or do my laundry!

Rachel Phillips said...

Tuesday is not a Bank Holiday in England. It is back to work as normal tomorrow.

Colette said...

Pulling the ivy out of the garden will cheer you up. Gardening is the best kind of meditation.

Boud said...

Plumbing woes are the worst. Particularly when you can't get a plumber to attend. Doing dishes by hand is no big deal, but trying to dispose of the water is a pain. Maybe toss it in the garden.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

It's surprising that you did not give that poor little Christmas tree a new home. As for the plumbing situation, maybe it's time to call "Dyno-Rod" as long as someone else pays the bill - possibly V.Putin, Moscow.

Ms. Moon said...

I wondered, as did YP, about you not taking the tree home. Is it potted in dirt? Poor little thing.
Of course you're stressed out. Everything has been upside down for a month now for you. At least! Planning your trip, having to cancel your trip, being sick, worrying about your health, Christmas...I think everyone is overwhelmed and here you are with a nonfunctioning plumbing system. It was very sweet of Dave to suggest a Paris get-away but I completely understand how that could just completely add to your stress levels.

Bob said...

I think not being able to use a kitchen sink or washing machine counts as an emergency on SOME level.

NewRobin13 said...

I wondered as did YP and Ms Moon about that little tree. It does look like it's in a pot just waiting for you to pick it up and take it home.
I hope the plumber can get there sooner. It's a bummer not being able to use your kitchen sink.

Red said...

In my mind , plugged drains are an emergency. You're at the mercy of the plumbers.

Jeanie said...

what IS it with phones? Mine does that, too. Now, every day, I check to see if my ring is on (despite the fact that the only time it is ever off is if I'm at someplace that requires it.)

As Audrey said, Paris is always a good idea -- but not under stress. I'd want to hunker down, too. At least till the water is fixed. (Though you might get a good shower over there.)

Ellen D. said...

It is frustrating to have to wait for the plumbers. I am glad you have some working drains in the house!
I think you need to walk back out and bring that little tree home. Aren't you thinking about doing that??

Sharon said...

I'm afraid I'd call not using the kitchen sink or the washing machine an emergency. You've had to put up with quite a lot lately. You could use some time to relax and think about more pleasant things.

Allison said...

Clogged drains are the worst. At least you can flush the toilet, so that's good.

Ed said...

Makes me wonder what the Russians are using for a drain since their drain is tied to yours? I would be worried about them flooding your apartment!

37paddington said...

Ed above makes a good point. Have you checked in with the Russians about the state of their drains?

Kelly said...

I would be really frustrated with your situation. I sure hope it gets resolved soon!

ellen abbott said...

Plumbing is the pits. I think the worst thing that needs constant attention and repair. Our kitchen sink is nearly stopped up. It drains but very slowly. I've tried to figure out how fast, or rather slow, to run the faucet that it doesn't back up. Called the plumber out a couple of months ago and he use some chemical but it only cleared temporarily. Need to call again and have him use the roto rooter machine and just bite the bullet on the cost.

Janie Junebug said...

I wonder what is considered an emergency.


Fresca said...

Are you on Instagram? I see Reya and other some former bloggers there--maybe you do too?

Plumbing emergencies, per google, involve exploding toilets and broken pipes (of course).

Fresca said...

P.S. Oh--never mind--there you are, following Reya as sreed99342--I didn't search hard enough. Bad librarian (me).

My life so far said...

Tell them you have a sick baby at home😁

Debby said...

Plumbing issues DO make you grumpy! You turn down a trip to Paris and you leave a lonely Christmas to fend for itself... Are the Russians having problems too?

Margaret said...

Your plumbing issue is an emergency in my book! It does remind me of Africa and staying in the Casamance area of Senegal with my daughter. In a hut.

Peace Thyme said...

There was quite a large lake in the small town where I used to live (sniffle, sniffle at the word "used"). At the end of Christmastime, people would bring their trees to the frozen lake and shove them into the ice at odd intervals and it was a pretty sight. Then, in the middle of January, the golfers would hold a game of golf on the icy lake going around the trees. Hilarious! This exercise in frivolity was to raise money for our volunteer fire department, the lifeblood of our little mountain town.

sparklingmerlot said...

I swear these tradies have some mysterious tracking system so they only ring when they know we can't answer them - regardless of the reason. And then we have to wait another eternity until, by the goodness of their hearts, they can squeeze us in.
A blocked kitchen sink might not be considered a dire emergency but what else could it be hiding? And if the water isn't getting down (obviously) is whatever blocking it getting more and more solidified?
I think I am spending way too much time thinking about faulty plumbing half way across the world.
Dave is a sweetheart.

River said...

In my opinion, ANY plumbing problem is an emergency. Water supply and drainage are two of the most important things in any household anywhere.

Steve Reed said...

Andrew: She will be, you're right. I need to stop complaining and be patient.

Mitchell: That's true! We have the essential services!

Rachel: OK, I may call on Tuesday and see what happens. He insisted I couldn't get service until Wednesday. (Almost a week with no kitchen!)

Colette: The exertion would do me good, that's true.

Boud: It's just awkward, but I suppose still better than what my great-grandparents went through to wash dishes!

YP: Well, that's the problem. We could pay Dyno-Rod directly but I want it to go through my landlord's British Gas policy (which covers drain repairs).

Ms Moon: Thanks for putting my current exasperation in context! You're absolutely right. It's just been a lot to deal with at once. I didn't look to see whether the tree was potted in dirt but my understanding is that many times these "potted" trees don't really have very good root systems and aren't designed to survive. And anyway, we don't have anywhere to put it!


Robin: I didn't look closely at the tree. Perhaps I should have! Maybe someone else will rescue it.

Red: I agree!

Jeanie: A shower in Paris -- now that sounds exotic! LOL

Ellen D: I guess I should have looked more closely at it! But I think it needs a home where it can be planted in the ground, and we really don't have that space in the garden.

Sharon: That is my mission for the remainder of this week. I'm going to get out and be productive and get my mind off this problem!

Allison: Yeah, thank god for that.

Ed: They say their drains aren't affected. I've been blaming them but to be honest I have no proof they caused this.

37P: Yeah, Mrs. Russia says their drains are working fine! I should be happy their water hasn't backed up into our apartment, I suppose.

Kelly: Fingers crossed!

Ellen: I'm wondering if your problem is roots. It sounds like a root issue.

Janie: I suppose if we had no toilet that might be an emergency, or water spraying out onto the floor!

Fresca: I don't use Instagram much but I follow Reya on Facebook so we're still in touch. She's a gem!

Life: YES! The sick baby excuse! Why didn't I think of that?!

Debby: Right?! I am not myself! The Russians say their drains are working fine.

Margaret: I suppose it's no worse than anything my great-grandmother had to do to wash dishes. I just need to bite the bullet, really.

Peace Thyme: Wow, that sounds downright surreal! Trees in an iced-over lake and a game of golf?!

Caro: I've had all the same thoughts, believe me! I could have kicked myself for having the phone on silent. I don't know why I did that.

River: I agree wholeheartedly!

Rachel Phillips said...

Well all I can say Steve is if he told you you couldn't get service until Wednesday it isn't because of a bank holiday.