Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another adventure in plumbing

A day for cleaning up. Hope and Marsha are waiting for me and Arcadia arrives later. And then Hugo with his grandson Carlitos on their way to the chuldren’s museum.  There’s much to be done before the big event a week from Monday. I spent Friday night e-mailing everyone I could think of to invite to the gala. And hoping that it’s not too late. 
I’m doing my sweeping. We are carrying things out to the steps. A box of new shoes, including Timberlands (or Tim’s as the young ones say). The stack of plates with newspapers in between. A box of Cup-a- Soups. A box of new pants and shirts. 
A visit to the basement and I hear water in the boiler room. The new boiler is 30-40% installed. But a pipe is dripping. Slowly. But steadily. And a faucet is running. The faucet is easy to turn off. The pipe, not so easy. I call Danielle to see if I can locate a shut off.  Thus begins another adventure in plumbing. 
Theo has stopped in, home from art school in Minneapolis. I ask him for five minutes to try the shut off valves I can’t reach. First I need a flashlight. So over to CVS to get the batteries. Outside, I see two of my Occupiers still haunting the Upper West Side. These two are named Rain and Requiem (Is this  Occupy Wall Street or Occupy WWE?). None of Danielle’s shut off valves work. And Theo has to head for the airport. 
 Jeremy comes in to set up for tomorrow and once again I draw him in. He  goes to the hardware store to get a plug for the leaking pipe. We plug it. And now the water pours out of another pipe further down.  Attempted solutions fail one by one. Including something very creative with a candle and a wooden trough leading to a drain. And repeated trips to the hardware store. But nothing works. 
During one break in the plumbing adventure, Jeremy turns on the sound system and sings a surprise Happy Birthday to Hope. 
Hugo has returned. Jeremy tells him of his uncle John who knew Hugo back in the ’80’s Sandinista days. (And today Arcadia is his dental hygienist.) Hugo uses his muscle  to try the valves. But that doesn’t work either. We trace the pipe back looking for an origin. And track it past old valves that don’t turn into the ground where it disappears. We track down Tony’s number, give him a call. Get his machine. 
Finally everyone has to leave. Danielle has called the boiler company. Someone will be here in 30-60 minutes. Everyone else goes home. I wait.  But soon enough, Teddy the Polish plumber arrives, wife in the seat of his truck. Leak? he says. 
I take him downstairs. Show him the leaks. No problem he says. I try to find out what the problem is. Why this keeps happening.  No problem, he says. There is something about an old system and a new system. Next thing I know he’s got a power hack saw going and cutting out pipes. The hot water heater seems to be involved somehow. I look at the pipes he’s pulled out. Will we have to replace those? I ask.  Boss fix all, he says, this is America. No problem. Monday. And he also asks for Danielle, the church boss, he says. (She likes that.) No more leak. Water turned back on. And the restrooms work. Well all right, then. I see him out, wave good bye. 
On the steps, the clothes, the Cup-a-Soups,the plates,  the shoes, all gone. Not a trace. Even the boxes gone. 
Tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent. 
The installation of the new boiler has begun

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