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My Apartment is Springing Leaks


First it was the drip drip from the bathtub faucet. No, wait, months ago there was the drip from the kitchen sink, which required a very expensive repair. Then last week, or two weeks ago, there was the bathtub leak. And then an attempted repair, which led to a lake on the kitchen floor (on the opposite side of the wall from the bathroom). At first we thought the kitchen lake was coming from the dishwasher, and called the dishwasher repair guy, but then realized that the leak only happened when we took showers. Oh, and then the toilet started to screech each time it flushed, with the water pipe connected to the wall doing a little drip drip of its own.

I was pretty sure we were going to drown.

puppy in November 005

“Hey! Don’t joke about drowning!”

The leaks also seemed to coincide with the constant rain, which caused the bathroom door to swell and have its own panic attack where it tried to jump out of its skin. Really, we kept having to jiggle the door back into its skin in order to close it. Mom took on the project and took the door off its hinges, glued it back together, and put it back in place. I am not handy in that way. I can put together any kind of IKEA furniture, but the door didn’t come with a handy dandy diagram for me to follow, so I was at a loss.

So, the door was fixed, but not the leaks, which only got worse.

I may have written about this before, but I have a phobia of strange men coming into my apartment. Phobia is too light of a word. I would be hiding under my bed, if there weren’t containers of old clothes stored under there, leaving only enough room for Cricket to squeeze in. So, when the maintenance guys came to check on the leaks, I pulled the dogs into my room and shut the door. I’m supposed to be an adult who can manage basic household responsibilities, but in this case, I can’t. The dogs begged to be let out so that they could bark at the invaders in person and tell them what for. But I just stayed in my room, shaking, and waiting for it to be over.


“Bark! Bark bark bark!!!!”


“Should I be barking?”

But it wasn’t over, and we had to call the plumber, and then the maintenance guys came back. We have two maintenance men at our co-op, one is quiet and unassuming, and the other is very very loud, smokes cigars, and likes to blame everything on anyone else. It was the loud one who came over to argue with the plumber about what needed to be done. I couldn’t quite make out what anyone was saying from my hiding place, but I could hear the shouting, and it made me regress even further. I don’t do well with shouting.

I really should move the plastic containers out from under my bed, in case this comes up again.


“You can’t come in.”

After an hour or two of shouting and futzing around, it was decided that we just had the wrong faucet in the bathtub, and Mom was sent out to get a new one, which, fingers crossed, seems to have solved the problem. For now. The squeaking toilet is going to stay as it is, because the plumber said that repairing it would be prohibitively expensive and we’d be better off waiting for it to die and then replacing it.

The dogs had a great time barking at all of the foot traffic in and out of the apartment, and received an inordinate number of chicken treats in a failed attempt to pacify them. My only consolation is that now I can go back to showering without worrying that I’m creating the next great flood. I was really worried, because I don’t have an ark, and I have no idea how to make one. I’ve never even seen an ark in the IKEA catalog.



So we hired an architect.


About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

70 responses »

  1. My sympathies and empathies…I’m dealing with repairs myself and it’s so stressful!

  2. Plumbing repairs….horrible. Our water heater died. Cold showers for 2 days (I know–tragic, right?). Well, the installer came. And then the city inspector came. We failed the inspection. Husband had to call the installer back. Redo. Pass. So glad I was at work because I would have been the one shouting. My husband remains unruffled…Ellie looks adorable.

  3. I am grieved that it is so difficult to have men in your space, though I understand a little. I hope all is fixed and you can regain some sense of safety at home.

  4. I love the humor in this post. And I also hide, along with my cats, whenever someone comes to my home. LOL Leaks in the home are definitely no fun though.

  5. Thank goodness the leaks are under control. Pity about the screeching toilet.

  6. Oh! Plumbing problems are terrible. So bad and the strangers in and out of the house and bathroom. KMN! PoorCricket at least she was defending her territory.

  7. Such a crazy process, I hate it all too and glad you survived)

  8. The only thing anyone in this house knows about plumbing is how to shut the water off for the whole house.

  9. Very clever, engaging story telling. You kept me moving forward, wanting to know what happened next. And I love your unexpected ark ending! So glad I’m following your blog, Rachel!

  10. I can see the repair bills mounting. Good luck with the squeaky toilet….

  11. Water leaks are the worst. We had a second story tub leak through a downstairs water fixture…still not certain we got that one fully sorted out!

  12. I don’t like strangers entering the place I live either. I live alone in a rented flat, but it’s my personal space and it has my things. I don’t want anyone else to be part of that.

  13. I hope your water woes are soon over. My dog would love to hide under the bed, but she would need to go on a diet first. Instead she hides under the desk or she is on the alert for an open closet door so she can hide out in the closet. Cricket seems like a great pal.

  14. One of my pet hates: leaks! Sorry you’re afflicted by all this stress!

  15. Wow, big problems indeed. I hope they are all doing okay now.

  16. One of the few things we discovered after moving here was a good plumber. A local young man, very respectful, efficient and reliable, and charges a fair price too. He is worth his weight in gold. But your story of having to hide in your room from the men was powerful, and I could sense that somewhat irrational fear. I hope you can overcome that one day.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  17. Ugh! I have two friends dealing with this right now.

  18. How annoying. We have an extension roof leaking onto the kitchen table; and a boiler that has leaked onto the carpet beneath it. I have decided that I would rather smell a wet dog than a wet carpet

  19. Nothing worse than a water leak. We had one under the bathroom floor in the cottage. problem was it was quarry tiles so they had to be chipped out. The guy who came left us with a hole in the floor, no solution and said his mate would be back next day! Good job it wasn’t the toilet then! Matey came and sorted the problem……. guy one had gone in the wrong direction anyway. Leak found, new joints put in pipe work, and false board put under the bathroom vanity in case another one happened. What a pain.
    My sister had a major problem with her shower though, and it wasn’t discovered until after her new kitchen had been fitted. Result? That shower was never allowed to be used, though if it had been our house, we would have moved said shower and put the sink in its place diverting the pipework and putting new to the shower unit. That was twenty years ago and Sis has sold her house now, so it’s someone else’s problem.

  20. Your post made me laugh at old houses. They are lovely, but something’s always leaking, collapsing, peeling etc. We see way too many repairman. May you stay dry!! Blessings.

  21. Sure hope that does the trick for you. While I am out of work I have undertaken home repair projects, including recaulking both bathrooms, replacing doorknobs with when-we-get-old-and-can’t-turn-a-round-knob lever handles, and reconnecting the garage door opener signal with the car and both remotes. Currently deciding on my next project. Oh yes, figuring out how to open up the slow-running tub drain that 2 plumbers haven’t been able to fix. I have an idea…

  22. Have you considered searching for a female plumber?

  23. Oh, sometimes it is such a drag not to have a reliable person around who knows things. I would bet that the toilet can be fixed with a new set of “guts”. When one of ours whines or squeaks or seems to never stop flushing, my husband just goes and gets new innards. I don’t know the workings of a toilet, but there is rubber and rubber seals in there and they wear out and start hissing and things. He just replaces them and then our toilets go back to be quiet and they flush. I’m not sure I believe your plumber, but whatch gonna do, right?

  24. What?? No arks in the IKEA catalog!?? I thought they had everything. Ugh. I HATE leaks because in our case a NON-visible leak in a ceiling and wall ended up making our whole family very VERY sick (and even our dog). Not good.
    I think I’d get busy finding ark instructions on the internet 🙂

  25. Today we had people come on our property to trim trees for the electric company. We knew they were going to come, but not when. Your reaction to strangers in your home really hit home with me – I lost my shit when I looked outside and saw strangers cutting pieces off MY TREES!!!!!!! I was so angry I was shaking. I’m not sure if it wouldn’t have been better had I hid in the closet. 😦 THEN, every time I had to go out, which was several times, they were blocking my driveway! I’d like to build a huge fence but apparently they have a right to do this. Made me grumpy for the entire day.

  26. I can remember, growing up, fixing the bathroom toilet in the basement, where we kids had our bedrooms. I used parts from my little brother’s Hydraulic Erector set. Such fun!

    I was single for a lot of years, and I hated having repairmen in the apartment, also. Nobody to run interference for me, and I’d be totally shaking by the time they left. Somehow, it’s easier in the house (26th wedding anniversary, today), even when Al’s gone for a little while, while the repairs are being done. Although he prefers to supervise, which is fine by me. 😀

  27. I don’t do well with shouting either.

  28. I do most work myself. My house was built in 1900. My side was remodeled before my son bought the house. His side had some things done but needs a remodel. We have had a clogged main drain.So I went down to take plug off main drain to snake the clog. Whomever put that plug in put it in backwards, I have been working trying to get off. So I been heating it pounding it counter clockwise to get it off and from the pounding my whole drain from my toilet to main is leaking. Looks like it is as old as the house. So now I am having to replace my whole pipe from toilet to main drain.Can’t try to get plug out until that is done first. I am the same about strange people working in the house so that’s why I do most of work myself. I get anxiety with shouting .

  29. Rachel, you have a fantastic sense of humour and I loved your references to IKEA especially: “I was really worried, because I don’t have an ark, and I have no idea how to make one. I’ve never even seen an ark in the IKEA catalog.”
    We’ve had our own ark issues over here. Although we live on the coast, we’ve also been experiencing the effects of the drought which is affecting much of NSW and farmers are really doing it tough. Well, during the week, the heavens opened and something like our annual rainfall fell in a few days. At times, it felt like our house could metamorphose into Noah’s Ark and float off it’s foundations and out to sea, which isn’t too far away. However, the sun has come out this afternoon. It is such a relief as the heavy rain had almost put me into a coma. I should be making the most of it this afternoon and taking the dogs for a walk and making my physio happy but I’m back into my PJs and thinking about baking some biscuits instead.
    Humph…the stick on my keyboard has now been joined by an intriguing looking tennis ball with a perfect circle scrunched out of it and the remaining fur feels full of broken bones. I think this ball was new this morning. I don’t know why tennis balls made for pets aren’t made Tonka tough.
    Best wishes,

  30. Oh, gee, we’re going through the same thing! After 22 years in the same house, every faucet has started dripping. Hubby went to repair, and the turn-offs under the sink are frozen in place. Time to call the plumber! He told us he had been on the crew when it was a new build. Well, that didn’t instill a lot of confidence! He did say it was because of the cheap stuff the developer and the contractor used, though, and he was surprised we got away with it so many years. What I told my husband was, it’s just a washer, right? Not really LOL after the +$1,000 we’ll be spending.

  31. Oh, bless your heart (and I mean that in the nicest way, not the snarky way). I also have anxiety whenever strangers come into the house. Perhaps not as much as you, but I can relate, on some level. And the amount of stress this was with all the different related plumbing problems! I’m glad you have everything straightened out and I’m glad your dogs were ready to bark and give those peeps what for! What a nightmare!

  32. Through it all, you kept your sense of humor to liven up my day! Thank you, Rachel. 🙂


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