The Joys of Being the Janitor

I’ve complained earlier of having been unanimously by one out of one vote appointed the concierge. I’m still hating it, faithful to my principle of hating everything and everyone.

A more appropriate word for concierge is the janitor, which is an all-in-one function, rolling into a single person an administrator, an electrician, a plumber and a cleaner, among other things. No qualifications are required because other people don’t know what they’re doing either anyway.

On a Friday morning, I woke up to the sound of water gurgling more angrily than usual in the radiators. That means one thing. I gotta go down to the boiler room and pressurise the boiler. I duly did. The water stopped splashing and I was pleased with myself, thinking how nicely I fixed it.

An hour later I noticed the radiators stopped heating altogether. Also, there was no hot water. Oops. So back to the cellar I descend to examine. The meter shows the whopping pressure of zero. Hmm. I move a few handles tentatively, waiting for something to magically happen. After another hour I break and call the actual plumber.

He’s pretty displeased because it’s Friday and people don’t expect to work on a Friday, unless they’re freelancers, like me, who work 24/7 and rest only when they’re interned in the psych ward with acute overwork. The plumber came and scolded me for clearly not knowing how to pressurise the boiler properly. Dear plumber, I’m a fucking doctor of literature, of course I don’t know how to treat a boiler, but I did exactly what you showed me to do to it, okay?

IMG_20180101_192653-01
An irrelevant image enhancing the horror mood of the post

The plumber started repressurising. It was taking forever and the pressure refused to climb. I guess it was feeling lazy. See above for nobody works on a Friday. The plumber says, That’s weird, it’s like the water is disappearing. I scream internally. I don’t believe in magic disappearances. I say, What do you mean, disappearing, like leaking? The plumber confirms. I’m trying to wrap my mind around it as the plumber sends me out to check all the flats  in the building for radiator leaks.

I don’t get too far. There’s the sound of a waterfall in the cellar next to the boiler room. Properly freaked out, I throw the door open and step in a pool of water as I’m reaching for the light switch. There’s a hole in the ceiling and a thick stream is pouring down from it. I scream literally. The plumber rushes to see if I saw a ghost or what and whistles appreciatively, as he observes the make-shift waterfall. The building has just upgraded to a swimming pool.

What’s above here, the plumber gestures up, clearly delighted to have a little excitement to spice up his dull shift. That would be my flat, I say. Alright, let’s see your flat then, the plumber suggests. My flat is all clear, which is good news, the plumber offers, as he notices my white face. There’s no fucking good news when there’s a fucking hole in the fucking cellar ceiling!! It’s like comforting a dying guy with telling him that at least, when he’s dead, he won’t have to pay health insurance.

What’s next to you, the plumber inquires. An empty bar, I say. We pay a visit there and the plumber is insensitively cheerful to see it flooded. Here you go, he shouts enthusiastically, that’s your leak! I remain quiet and catatonic. The plumber sends me back to my flat to take a Lexaurin and sets off to fetch his mates, so they could have some fun too.

The leak turned out to have been caused by an exploded radiator, which some dumbass didn’t shut down properly and which burst with excitement when the outside temperature dropped too low. I was relieved that I didn’t break the boiler but spent the rest of the day trying to sweep the water from the flooded areas. It was like, uh, sweeping water. Being a janitor is a great job. Not.

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Author: Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

15 thoughts

  1. That sounds very stressful. I’m glad your home was not damaged but I’m sorry you had to deal with the whole saga.

    Last winter, the pipes for the sprinkler system at work froze and cracked. Suddenly a deluge of water flowed down from the roof. The whole building was a mess and it took months to finish repairing all the damage. We’ve been waiting all winter for the problem to recur. Meanwhile, at home, we have a pipe in the garage that loses its cap when the temperature gets too low. Water gushed everywhere but thankfully it’s location means it doesn’t do too much damage. It’s just annoying.

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    1. Oh dear, your flooding story certainly trumps mine! Not that it’s a very enviable victory.

      I’ve seen worse flooding before, but this was in a house where there were men who knew what to do. They spent the night pumping water out of the flooded cellar (it was about a meter deep) and then got some drying devices to dry the walls. That didn’t terrify me much, but now, I was on my own to deal with the situation, and I don’t like dealing with crises.

      Fortunately, there was no real damage and everything was fixed in a matter of hours. Phew.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My comment was just deleted. It had good synthesis with your problem but I am not a robot so the robots send me repetition. In any case: water, problems, janitors. I’m in medicine. Did you drown in the steam? Thanks. Thanks. Thanks. Maybe the pressure boiler will know what to do next time it sees a hole in itself.

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    1. Oh what did you do to your comment that it got deleted? A shame!

      I didn’t drown, apparently, since I’m sitting here replying to you, but I nearly had a stroke.

      The boiler is a dumb device, yet it still tries what it can to outsmart me. The bastard.

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  3. Despite your reticence I think all other residents will see you as a hero, you saved the situation, acted properly, recognised your limitations and called the plumber, that’s hero status in my eyes.
    Trouble is I would expect now that they will expect you to done your hero cape and deal with the next crisis.

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    1. Haha, thank you for recognising my heroism! I must admit I did congratulate myself on calling the plumber in time rather than trying to wait it out. Sadly, I’m an unknown hero, as the whole situation was solved within a few hours, the tenants probably never noticed a thing. I do hope the next crisis will wait for a bit. I’m still recovering from this one.

      Liked by 1 person

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