Thursday, June 02, 2005
This post is open to responses to my question, "What would you have done?"
Last Friday started off as a challenging day, as it was my job to tear out the old tile & supporting wall surrounding our bathtub. (Paul & I had decided that our first home improvement project would be to replace our tub surround tile.) After Paul set off to work at 6 am, I started in on the wall in order to have the shower/faucet pipes exposed by the time the plumber was to arrive at 9:00. We hired Casey's Plumbing to change out the connections for our new fixtures - it involved a blowtorch and other tools that we don't own. So 9:00 rolls around and the plumber (his name isn't Casey) shows up. He's young, muscular, blonde, and confident (replace with the word Cocky in 3 paragrahs). I suddenly felt like I was a character in one of the movies my brother keeps in the "Over 18 Room" at the Family Video store he manages. But that's another non-story. Let's call him Dirk.
So Dirk gives me a quote to replace our bathroom pipes: $380. I suggested that we though it would cost around $200, so he gave me a Sr. Citizen discount ($30 off!) and offered me his leftover pipe tape & sealant. Dirk gets to work replacing our galvanized pipes that happen to have a nasty case of Rusterosclerosic. It looked as though our plumbing was about to have a major coronary event.
After he finished that job, Dirk threw some rags & a bottle of cleaning solution into the bathroom sink & moved to the basement to replace a leaky pipe joint next to the washer/dryer/water heater. The home inspector pointed this out when we were preparing to buy the house, but we didn't ask the former owners to take care of it - didn't want to nickel & dime them.
So apparently after you turn the water mains off & on again, lots of rust comes out. To alleviate this, Dirk also threw on the bathroom faucet before moving downstairs to turn the water main on & work on that leaky pipe. Well, if you guessed that the rags he intentionally left in the sink plugged the sink drains, you guesses right! When I came inside from watering a couple plants, there was about 1/4" of water on the bathroom floor, and tons more in the drawers below the sink, ruining more than $10 worth of super-absobent TP & other products. Aaaaaaaaaaa!
I shut the faucet off, threw several bath towels onto the floor, and dumped out the drawers. Fuming, I went downstairs to tell Dirk. "The bathroom sink overflowed a little (because you left rags in it, you idiot!)," I said casually. (I'm such a pussy.) HE says, "Uh, I've got some bad news." I'm thinking, "yeah, I just told you!" Guess I was wrong. Apparently while Dirk was in the basement replacing the leaky pipe, he noticed that the drain valve on the water heater was dripping a little. He reached over to tighten the exit pipe, and the piece snapped off in his hand. Oops. Hot water glugged out onto the cement floor and into the (thankfully) floor drain. At this point, I ran back upstairs to make sure the water mess in the bathroom was contained, and then back downstairs to look for signs of water on the basement ceiling.
Meanwhile, Dirk was blow-torching, hammering, & wrenching away at the water heater. Three smoke alarms went off. Fifteen minutes later, he told me that he couldn't get that thing out (whatever it was), so we had to turn the breaker off & get a new water heater. "Sorry. It would have broken soon anyway, and then you would have had water all over your nice finished basement."
F**KER! Pardon me.
He offered to come install the new water heater for us (NOT for free) - even gave me his cell phone #. (Hmmmmm.) Then he charged me full price (minus Sr. Citizen discount), and left.
So today, on our seventh day of frigid dish, hand, & face washing, our new water heater is being delivered. Luckily, in April, our real estate agent suggested that we ask the former owners to sign us up for a 1-year Home Warranty, thus covering the any major plumbing, electrical, or structural failures for the next 12 months. We get a free water heater (Thank you Earline!).
But wait! We still have to pay $45 for them to pump the water out, $75 for them to remove the old tank, and $75 for them to install earthquake straps. Arrrrrrgh!
So if you're still reading, what would you have done in this situation? Again, keep in mind that I am a mature non-confrontational whimp, so putting a flaming bag of poop on his doorstep, prank calling his cell phone, or demanding $ from him aren't viable suggestions.