A couple of nights ago I heard a sound in my ceiling when I was in bed. I'm on the top floor so it wasn't neighbours walking around. It sounded like water dripping. I duly reported to the real estate agent that I could hear water dripping in the ceiling. I heard it again last night.
This morning I happened to be at home when there was a very heavy downpour of rain. I went into the bedroom to see if I could hear the dripping sound and was confronted by water trickling down the wall behind my bed! Well, that confirmed it - I wasn't crazy, I had been hearing dripping.
I immediately called the real estate agent. Mine is pretty good most of the time. She is still afflicted by the property manager's malaise - tenants are the bottom of the pile and nothing is really urgent until it's really urgent. As I was on the phone to her, I heard sizzling and crackling and water started to run from the light fitting in the ceiling. The property manager's first words were something like "well it's raining...no one is going to come out while it's raining."
This is the kind of statement that infuriates me in this kind of situation. Firstly, I was very aware that it was raining. Secondly, the longer it took to get someone to stop more water getting into the ceiling, the more serious the situation would be. Thirdly, it's still urgent and the cumbersome processes when you have to deal with layers of different organisations take a long time to navigate. You have to start right away.
I felt my mind leaping to the worst case scenario, so took a breath and thought about all the ways that this situation wasn't as bad as it might have been. How fortunate that I was at home this morning! How pleasing that I wasn't away somewhere leaving the problem unnoticed for days or maybe weeks. The ceiling hadn't collapsed, so that was something.
I called the electricity supplier about the sizzling electricity and had a conversation that was frightening but later revealed to be hilarious.
At this stage I had a plastic bucket sitting on towels on my bed catching the water from the light fitting and towels on my bed head catching the water trickling down the walls. The man at the electricity company said that I should not touch the bucket or the water in the bucket because it was likely to be electrified. It seemed intense, but I wasn't going to argue and I didn't want to be electrocuted. I asked him what I should do when the bucket needed to be emptied. He said that was my decision. I thought he had misunderstood the question so I clarified that I meant I wanted to know if it was safe just to tip the water out. He said it was my decision. I didn't understand the answer so asked him what he meant. He then said he couldn't say anything because of the legal risk. If I followed his advice and was still electrocuted then I might sue them. Well probably not if I was dead, but I didn't point that out. He then said I should vacate the property until further notice and stay away from the taps if I was going to stay. Since I had to be there to meet plumbers and electricians I decided to stay well back from the killer taps.
Within half an hour two blokes from the electricity company arrived to see what they needed to do about supply to the property. They looked and promptly flicked the mains switch in the switch board. I asked them what I should do with the water in the bucket. They looked at me as though I was a crazy cat lady and said, deadpan, "Empty it." I laughed and explained the conversation with the guy at the electricity company. They guffawed and shook their heads. "Yeah, right. So you've got a bucket of electricity...ooooh!" They left muttering to themselves about idiots.
With that done I went into the village to buy lunch and a plastic drop sheet to cover my bed. The $2 shop had a huge one for $2 so I bought two. When I arrived home to cover my bed with it, a big yellow-brown patch had appeared on my fresh white sheets. I'll bleach it later. Buying the sheet was a good idea.
I then received a succession of phone calls from tradies called Steve and Mike and Josh. The plumbers went on the roof and discovered two broken roof tiles. I scouted around the property and found a couple of others lying around so they were able to stop more water filling the ceiling. They talked nonchalantly about the prospect of ceiling collapse and replacement of the entire ceiling. I started to think about the logistics.
Then the (very handsome) electrician arrived - all tall and broad shoulders and twinkly eyes and nice hands. He was friendly and told stories of strange people he encounters on a regular basis. I hope I'm not one of his stories he'll tell to the next customer. We talked power points and my lack of them. He told me about the power points he has installed in his place - it sounded like heaven, compared to my one power point per room. I had power point envy! I was sorry to see him leave and wished I had the courage to say out loud what was on my mind - it was all about inspecting my fuse box but I'll leave that thought there.
The dripping has finished and I'll be able to sleep in my bed tonight. Hopefully the ceiling won't collapse on me. And even if it does, I'm still pretty well off. Even though I've just seen an enormous spider lazily walking along the water wall.
After everyone had left and the electricity was back on I boiled the kettle. It was one of the best cups of tea I'd had for a while.
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