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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.

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“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.

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“Bark! Bark bark bark!!!!”

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“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.

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“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.

 

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So we hired an architect.

 

The House of the White Dogs

In January my little building of four apartments became the house of the white dogs. Our neighbors across the hall were dog sitting for two little white fluff balls. They were both smaller than Cricket, about the same size as Butterfly, and pure white rather than apricot laced. I first saw them out the window on a walk and my heart felt them right away. Two little white dogs! Two happy, skippy, barky dogs tangling their leashes and going in opposite directions. I felt like I knew them already.

Cricket hears something in the hall and must investigate.

Cricket hears something in the hall and must investigate.

We didn’t know their names at first, but we knew they were boys, because their pee was more decorative and higher up on the snow. Cricket and Butterfly would butt heads trying to be closest to the pee, to sniff deeply of their new friends.

Cricket takes a deep sniff of the new pee.

Cricket examines the new pee.

Dual sniffing

Dual sniffing

            The girls finally got to meet the boys in person after a few weeks. Their names were Abu and Fritz, and once they could see each other it was a sniff fest with no barking. When I’d met them the day before, Abu had bared his teeth at me and did not want to be friends, but when it was dog to dog, they were fine.

This guy looks a bit like Abu. (not my picture)

This guy looks a bit like Abu. (not my picture)

This one could be Fritz. (not my picture)

This one could be Fritz. (not my picture)

            The boys barked almost as much as Cricket, which was an incredible relief. From downstairs, it was hard to tell which apartment was full of barking. I liked feeling welcomed each time we came and went from the apartment, as if the boys were saying that they wished they could go with us, and visit with Cricket and Butterfly, and enjoy our company. It was really just nice to know someone was there. Dogs are generous about noticing people, and making sure you don’t feel invisible or alone.

            There are other dogs in our complex. There’s Maxine, the pug, who is very busy taking care of her new human brother. There’s Delilah, the beagle, who likes to hike up the hill but hates the snow. There are Chihuahuas and Cocker Spaniels, and other smallish dogs. I don’t know if there’s an official ban on bigger dogs, but I think it would be hard for a Great Dane to manage all of the stairs and small spaces.

            I feel such a pull to see the other dogs who live here, especially when I can hear them barking from inside of their apartments when I take the girls out during the day. I dream of running around and opening all of the doors so we can have a puppy party in the backyard. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

            I think the boys have gone now, because there is no more barking across the hall. I listen closely for a stray bark or growl, but I can’t hear anything.