It’s time for some good old-fashioned complaining, which is partially why blogs and the Internet were created.
Lately the kitchen sink has been draining obscenely slowly. This happened several months ago, but then it magically fixed itself. I was hoping the same would happen again, but it was getting to the point where I can’t wash a dinner’s worth of dishes without the sink almost overflowing. I broke down and called our building manager, Ted. I like Ted, he’s a stereotypically cheery old British guy with bad teeth, but we always have a bit of a communication gap, so I dread calling him. After repeating several times that the kitchen sink drain was clogged, he replied “Oh, it’s blocked?” and said he would phone the plumber. This was yesterday afternoon. Sometimes he calls me back to let me know when the plumber will arrive, other times the plumber just shows up. I hate that, because then I’m afraid to leave the flat, knowing very well he will show up then. Sure enough, the plumber just showed up this afternoon. He was a scrawny guy with a gigantic plumber’s crack. I decided to wait outside the kitchen. Finally he came out.
“We have a problem,” he said, which is something you never want to hear from someone who is fixing something in your apartment. I walked into the kitchen and saw smoke coming out of the sink. (How is that even possible?!)
He explained that the pipe was clogged solid with food (whoops…), and he’d have to remove it and replace it. It sounded like what my dad refers to as a “major project.” He explained to me what everything would cost, but I didn’t listen intently — partially because I could barely understand him, but also because I have never had to pay for any services before, the landlord or Ted always handled it. He said he would come back tomorrow morning and fix it.
So I led him to the door, but he hesitated. He said I had to pay for the services first, and then he would give me an invoice that I could give to the landlord to get reimbursed. So I had to fork over £130 and have to hope that he will be able to fix everything for that, and things don’t have to get ugly with Ted and the landlord. He also said our garbage disposal is broken (I can’t remember what he called it, because obviously they don’t say “garbage” here). That’s obviously the fault of the previous tenant since I have never used it (because I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on). That’s probably also the reason the sink is clogged. Hopefully he will be able to fix both problems tomorrow, and then I can start using the disposal so I don’t have to see my plumber’s crack buddy again.