Multiple Mr. Rooters

Mark the plumber and I have bonded.

The night after it rained in the basement, he showed up with a brand new toilet. It was still pouring. He carried numerous heavy white boxes up the stairs and carefully unpacked them. He removed the old toilet and carried it out to the front doorstep. He installed the new toilet. It was beautiful. I heard him groan.

The new toilet was 1/4 inch too big and the bathroom door wouldn't close. I felt genuine sympathy him. My landlord showed up and made him take it out and put the old one back in until we could get one that fit perfectly.

Yesterday was the day for the new toilet. I called Mark and told him that I had to teach one lesson from 4 - 5 p.m., so if he could show up at 5:30 p.m. that would be best. He said, "No problem." There was a problem.

Yesterday at 2 p.m. a gasoline tanker spilled 6,000 gallons of gasoline on Highway 101, (his route to my new toilet). The gasoline literally ate through the roadway. They were forced to close the road until they could repave it. Being a quick thinker, Mark sent a friend. I was disappointed to find there is more than one Mr. Rooter. (Kind of like mall Santa Clauses.) I had hoped he was the only one: the real, authentic Mr. Rooter.

Mr. Rooter #2 showed up at 4:15 pm. I was in the middle of teaching Chris, a physician who specializes in HIV medicine. He was enjoying his new piece by my friend, Jane Bastien. Thank goodness he was a good sport about the plumbing.

Apparently not as skilled as Mark, Mr. Rooter #2 also brought his friends Mr. Rooter #3 and Mr. Rooter #4 to join in the fun. It was still raining. It felt a lot like Thing 1 and Thing 2 in The Cat in the Hat.

My landlord showed up. Sensing an opportunity for excitement, his mother took off her shoes and let herself in. (The one benefit of her speaking no English is that I could smile and say, "I have no idea why you're here, but come on in!")

Mr. Rooters #2, #3 and #4, my landlord and his mother were in the hallway barely outside my living room while I was trying to teach. They were chatting about toilets and the NFL draft. Yesterday I wasn't so sure I liked football.

Hours later, Chris long gone, Mark showed up. He inspected the work done by the other Mr. Rooters and worked on the kitchen sink. I kept offering him food. He kept turning it down. Finally he said, "With these hands, I don't touch food." He had a point.

He's coming back next week to install two new chrome faucet fixtures in the bathrooms.

I'll feel like a new woman. I'm just hoping there aren't any more gasoline spills.

Raining in the Basement

Meg came over last night for a quick cup of tea.

She came to pick up her daughter, Molly, one of my piano students. She's also one of my daughter, Evie's, favorite playmates.

The girls do not like their playdates to end. As a last ditch effort at getting Molly to stay longer, they went downstairs to the basement to play with the rubber band ball Molly had made.

"Mom, Mom, there's a huge flood downstairs! You have to come RIGHT NOW!"

It had already been a very long day. I didn't want a flood. I didn't want a leak. It was raining hard outside. All things were possible.

It was raining in the basement. There was water everywhere. Books, papers and furniture were soaked. I ran back upstairs to try to figure out where the water was coming from. It was obvious.

There was a half an inch of water covering the guest bathroom floor. The toilet hose was leaking. A lot. I tried to turn it off. It wouldn't budge. Molly tried. Evie tried. Meg tried. Well, maybe she didn't but even if she did it wouldn't have moved.

I called my landlord. He said to try turning off the hose. When I said that I'd already tried that, he said that he would call his father, (conveniently located next door to me) to come and take a look. Ten minutes later his aged father, Paul, showed up, wrench in hand and dutiful wife in tow. She speaks no English and is always worried about something. This was an excellent opportunity for her.

Paul got it to turn a bit but it was still dripping. There was much conversation about whether the previous, "Drip, Drip, Drip..." had now become "Drip......Drip.......Drip....." or whether it was now "Drip...............Drip...............Drip..............."

I'd finally had enough of the Drip Conversation. I phoned my landlord and told him I was calling a plumber. At least I thought I was.

Meg grabbed the phone book. "Look, Di," she said, "Plumbing, 24 Hr Emergency 7 Days - right here on the cover of the phone book!"

"Sounds like just what we need." I dialed the number.

"Hello, I need a plumber right now!" I said.

"I'm sorry, the earliest we could get someone there is 9 a.m. tomorrow morning."

"Excuse me? Your 24 hour service isn't really 24 hour?"

"Yes, I'm sorry for the inconvenience. I can have someone there in the morning."

"I'm sorry, too, but that won't do. Can you recommend someone else?

"No. I guess you could look in the phone book."

Hmm....that what was I just did.

Meg was undaunted. "Here's another one, Di. Mr. Rooter says they will come 24 Hours A Day! 7 Days a Week!"

I called.

"We can have someone there between 9 and 10."


"Of course."


And that is how Mark the plumber came to be at my house for two hours last night. He was kind and patient, both with me and my overly concerned landlord. They had a lovely conversation about the rarity of the toilet in question. He fixed the other toilet while he was here. Why not take care of all of it at once?

When he finally left at almost 11 p.m. I was exhausted. But my toilets both work and it's not raining in the basement.