Sorted (I Think)

Well, I’m glad to say that after a weekend of stress and even a certain amount of impotent rage, things seem to be sorted. The whole mess could have been avoided if the guys on Friday hadn’t been utter dolts, but at least someone higher up intervened and rendered their dolthood less than all-powerful today.

Sunday night, I hauled in the old dresser from the lounge on my floor into our living room — just in time, as a massive cleanup ended up having tons of furniture being hauled away today — and I hung as many of my clothes up in it as could fit. Then I carried the clothing drawers into the living room and set them on the couch, and took everything else that had been in my closet from my office and into the living room, which is extremely crammed now: flutes, saxophones, music gear, drawers, an extra dresser, and more have been added to the usual clutter.

Because of the petty larceny they tried last week in the apartment upstairs, and the general disrespect for others’ property evident in their behaviour, Lime and I agreed we didn’t feel comfortable with university employees entering our apartment when we’re not home. I asked our office assistant to inform them of this, and that I’d be home by 10:30am and expected to see them at that time and get an update on what was going on. Indeed, I ran into the maintenance guys — if they can be called that — on the stairs and told them as much.

For the third time, they said, essentially, “Yup!” and then didn’t follow through. When I got back, the apartment was deserted, nothing seemed to have been done, and nobody was reachable by phone. It took until 12:00pm for them to answer the phone in their office, at which point their secretary said, “They can’t come now, it’s lunch time!” When my department’s office assistant called them to ask what the hell they thought they were doing, not coming and talking to me at 10:30, for the third time they said, “We can’t speak English.” Which is pretty goddamned rich when all my conversations with them over the last two and a half years have all been in Korean.

Anyway, as a commenter noted, if you shout and scream until people cannot ignore you, things sometimes get done. These maintenance guys confessed that it didn’t make sense for water still to be dripping in my apartment, since the water was completely shut off upstairs, and not actually pooled up there, like they thought it was. So they called someone, and he called someone else, and after a little berating — “Well, open up the damned ceiling and let’s see what’s going on up there! What the hell, can’t you figure this out yourselves, guys?” is something roughly like what their boss said to them — they discovered a horrendous amount of water had pooled on the wooden ceiling above my closet. But it wasn’t from the bathroom pipes, nor was it from the upstairs bathroom.

The source? You’re gonna love this: it’s the roof. The roof of the building has a drainage pipe indoors, and the drainage pipe, when it gets blocked, empties into the empty space above my closet. Why the outdoor water drainage runs through the inside of the building is beyond me, though I’ve seen it in other older (ie. even built in the 1990s) buildings, too. Anyway, the pipe had burst, at some point, and was, they say, unrepairable. The patch-it-together solution someone applied years ago (never bothering to apply a proper solution later on, which is why this patch-it solution failed) was to install a plastic tube through which the roof drainage can run onto the floor of my bathroom. Complete with bird poo and the rest, friends! Yes!

So anyway, whatever. We’ll be here another six months, and it’s not worth moving. And at least the higher-up guys seemed to be on the ball enough to promise that tomorrow, the ceiling would be dried out and the closet interior redone, and that the next day, it would all be wallpapered… while we’re home. That’s going to make for a couple of really hairy days of work for me, here — I have a lot of editing to do, and I’m sure I need to clear more stuff out of the room — but at least the room should be back to normal by mid-week.

The nice thing is, Lime and I finally decided we would haul the crappy, uncomfortable couch out of our living room and up into the attic, if we can find nice big bean bag chairs to replace it. And as for me, it’s a good opportunity to go through all the clothes in my closet and get rid of the stuff I haven’t worn in a year or two.

Last thing: the higher-ups promised they would talk to the Housing Office workers and warn them to be more respectful of people’s homes. I don’t think that’ll lead to any major change in attitude: these are the same people one of whom who urinated into a toilet in an apartment where the water was turned off because it was believed to be draining into my closet, the idiot! But at least these guys’ bosses know that there is a problem, and that it’s not just a couple of people in the building who think so.

I still plan on being home whenever they do the anti-bug spraying, though. The fact they went so far as to unwrap a present in an apartment where it was obvious someone hadn’t yet finished moving out speaks volumes for their lack of professionalism.

The thing that pissed me off most? That after wanting to punch someone in the face all weekend, I ended up being cautious, polite, and though I was short with the guys who’d behaved so poorly, I didn’t push things too far. There was a sense of, “Well, now they’re finally doing something, so I better just shut up or they’ll stop work and wander off again.” (Indeed, even so, one of the workers began to wander off and the same manager who berated them for being so useless, as I mentioned above, said, “What? You can wander off now! We’re right in the middle of this work!”) I have to say I felt really, really small finding myself shutting up, quietly getting out of the way, and not telling anyone off, but instead just complaining to their bosses.

It certainly didn’t feel very manly. But I guess that’s the cost of being civilized. Or should I have shouted and screamed once they finally — three days late — bothered to try figure out what the problem actually was?

Also weird — I don’t get why the leakage got so bad this weekend. It’s not like it rained. So what the hell… maybe the explanation we got is also wrong? Well, at least they’ll be installing a trapdoor in the closet ceiling this time, so they can get at this problem better next time.

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