Ah, the joys of apartment living. It all began with a guest, a real live guest, for dinner. I think it’s our second since we arrived in Chicago.
Anyway, while our guest played with Seth and Lael following dinner, my wife, Anne, calls me to the kitchen. The conversation went something like this”
“Um, our sink isn’t draining.”
I look under the sink. “Um, actually it is draining. Onto the floor.”
I take the garbage can and soaked box of dishwashing pellets out of the cabinet under the sink and sop up copious amounts of water. I place some Tupperware underneath the dripping drain before going downstairs to talk to the night building manager.
The maintenance guy is at another building emergency, she tells me. He can’t come until 10 p.m., which would probably result in waking our kids.
So I trudge back upstairs to help Anne bail out the rest of our sink. After our guest leaves – I’m not sure if he ever was aware of our little crisis – I talk to the night building manager again to ask if the repair guy can come in the morning.
Everyone heads off to bed, but not before a new disaster: Seth hugs mommy. What’s wrong with that?
Well, our little boy forgot he had a steel, toy ambulance in his hand. It whacks mommy in the mouth, literally chipping enamel from her front tooth. So Anne is in pain for the rest of the night.
At 3:30 a.m., little Lael raises her tiny yet amazingly hard feet as high into the air as possible. She kicks down as hard as she can. In her sleep.
Her heels slam into my chest. Three or four times before I can move her. Somehow, I manage to doze off for another 30 minutes or so, but one throbbing rib yells to me “Wake up. Wake! UP!”
Not knowing what time it is because Lael broke our new clock radio, I shamble into the kitchen. The microwave mocks me, with its blue 4 a.m. glowing in the semi-dark room.
Crud. And what was that chlorine smell? I look into the sink – it had miraculously refilled with water. Dishwasher water. But we didn’t turn on our dishwasher and we don’t use chlorine-based dishwasher liquid.
Double crud. That means the blockage is not IN our apartment, but below it. The water in our sink must be from one of the five apartments above us.
Triple crud. The Tupperware under the sink overflowed. So at 4 a.m., I am bailing out the sink again and wiping a couple gallons of water off the mushy cabinet floor. Glad I don’t own this place, but why doesn’t someone ever get smart and install waterproof, rubber floors under sinks?
I finally finish, but now my hands now have chlorine swimming pool smell. Yuck.
At least we know that the bathroom and kitchen drains are NOT linked. How do we know? Because just two weeks ago we were asked to not use the kitchen plumbing for 12 hours. We were told if we used our dishwasher or kitchen sink, the lower floors would be flooded. (Hey, suppress that evil snicker; we are upstanding citizens here.)
And while the leak in our apartment is under control for the moment, it better get fixed before anyone else above us uses their dishwasher again. Fortunately, most of these college kids order out every day, and they certainly don’t cook much in the morning. But you never know.
Apartment life is awesome.