Friday, March 5, 2010

Plumbing Paranoia

Yesterday, our plumber came to tighten a loose spigot on our bathroom sink that's hard to reach, and fix a malfunctioning part on our tub faucet —again. I'd paid to have the same work done almost a year ago, and both items failed over the summer, but I was too lazy to follow through. Since the one-year warranty was almost up, I finally called. The plumber came exactly on schedule. I left him to his work, and he fixed both items quickly and for free, and was perfectly nice. He explained why both parts keep misbehaving: poor design, in a nutshell.

So... why did the flapper on our toilet break tonight? We had a young guest here and heard some loud, metallic commotion in the bathroom, but didn't ask questions. When I inspected it, I couldn't figure out how the chain was ever attached in the first place. There's no loop to hold it; it's gone. Maybe it was flushed away by our guest, who must have removed the top of the tank to lift the flapper, as we are doing now. (Does he think we do that all the time?)

I have to wonder: Was it broken by our guest's excessive use of force, or... sabotage?

I'm not a naturally suspicious person, but life has taught me certain lessons; I'm much less trusting than I once was. And this is a weird coincidence.

I called the plumber and left a message around 10:30 pm, so we'd get onto their schedule in the morning. I was surprised when a sleepy-sounding man returned a few minutes later. They offer 24-hour service, he said, and mentioned that he'd been in bed. I apologized for disturbing him; he tut-tutted. Then he said he'd call me in the morning to set up a time to "make it all better." These guys are so nice— surely they don't need to go around breaking flappers to make a living. How silly of me.

I need to work on being less paranoid. It's a better way to live. This is just one of those odd, expensive coincidences. Yeah.

Update

The plumber called this morning. "I slept very well," he said, in lieu of "hello." He sent over a guy from his team, who temporarily fixed the flapper in less than 10 minutes with a needle. He said it was a time-and-a-half charge on a Saturday, and so the bill would be $195. When I protested — after all he'd used my needle — he asked if his boss had told me that Saturdays were time-and-a-half. I said "no." He agreed that wasn't fair, because not all companies charge extra on Saturdays. But he's not the boss.

He called his boss, talked it over, and told us he'd come back on Monday and replace the flapper. There would be no charge today, but we'd have to pay only today's bill, plus the charge for the part, on Monday. (I'd told his boss twice that we had a Toto "Drake" toilet; he told me twice that he had the flapper. For some reason, it didn't go out with his plumber.) "Okay," I said, "but while you're here, can you change the hoses on our washer from rubber to steel?" He agreed, so at least we won't have to pay for yet another visit.

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