Wednesday, March 01, 2006

rentertainment

We are renting our home. Our house is held together with duct tape. In late December, Ralph was sitting across from me at our table and complained that whenever he sat there, water dripped on him. There was a bubble the ceiling above the table, so I poked it with my finger and water gushed out. We called our landlord after the holidays and he patched up the roof. We suspected it was more a "pipe" issue than a "roof" issue, and we were right because his roof patching didn't change a thing, even after he patched it the 2nd and 3rd time over the month of January. In mid-February, when we told him the latest roof patch hadn't done the trick, he returned a few days later with a funnel, plastic piping, paper clips, and a yogurt container. Items which, in the hands of the incompetent are nearly worthless, but in the hands of a craftsman landlord become tools of mystic wonder:






Here is the complete solution (you may need to tilt your head):




If you can't tell from the picture, now if water drops from the ceiling, it will no longer hit Ralph (or anyone else) because it just goes in the funnel. Where does it go from there? Down the plastic tubing. But then where does the water go, just on the floor? Heavens no. It goes in the yogurt container. But how is the tubing kept on the wall so that it doesn't just flail around the room? That's easy. It is paper clipped to the screw he installed in the wall. At the time of the installation, our landlord had run fresh out of duct tape, other wise he would have duct-taped the tubing to the funnel--and he recommended we did so, admittedly that would have made for an even cleaner solution. But doesn't Olive like to play with the tubing? And doesn't Oscar knock over the yogurt container full of nasty water? Yes, but we just yell at them.

At the installation in mid-February, we were promised the solution was "temporary." If you know a foreign language, or even some pidgin languages, you know that "temporary" can mean lots of things. For example, in Greece, it means "until after the holidays". Our landlord's use of 'temporary' means roughly: "until I get my hands on some more duct-tape". One could recommend that I fix it instead of waiting for the landlord, but remember we're renting, so we can't really be held that responsible.

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:54 PM

    Is this your landlord's final answer? What a beautiful addition to your home!

    robin kendall

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  2. You know, Ben, I have to give your landlord points for a creative solution--temporary, I hope.

    We had a leak from an ancient radiator in our apartment. It ruined the ancient carpet pad underneath the "new" (5 year old, Freight Liquidator) carpet, leaving an enormous rust-colored stain on the "new" carpet. Our living room was torn apart for days while the carpet dried and our landlord bought a small replacement carpet pad. The carpet will stay because it's "new". And the rest of the carpet pad is still good, right?

    We sit and shake our heads. Renting is such a joy. It's amazing the lengths landlords go to so they can avoid actually fixing the problem.

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  3. Sounds like a case for Channel 2 News "Shame on You!". You know, in our last apartment, the wallpaper was so dirty, and yellow, and gross, one day I decided to see how hard it would be to rip it out. Well, no sooner had I torn a tiny, inconspicuous piece than my landlord reported to me that someone had ripped the wallpaper. Well, he fixed that. He glued it back together for me! Oh, thank you, I was hoping it was repairable, that 40 year old, grease stained wallpaper. Later on, while still in that apartment, I had a dream that underneath that wallpaper was just rolls and rolls of Bounty paper towels all lined up, no wall, just Bounty paper towels still in their plastic wrapping. I should have kept tearing through the wallpaper, might have saved me a bundle on paper towels!

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  4. Ben, It must be awesome to have MacGyver for a Landlord. I am just suprised that he didn't use a stick of gum as well. Everyone knows that when you don't have duct tape, you use chewing gum.

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  5. Your landlord must really have been good at the game mousetrap.

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  6. Rachel10:48 AM

    We rented a house with a dishwasher. It stopped washing dishes last August. After endless calls and letters and a yelling match over the phone and washing dishes by hand for 7 months, I called my friend who is a lawyer and asked if he would write a letter to our landlord. He suggested that he just make a phone call. Turns out it was all a waste of time however because when my friend called the landlord explaned that he was bringing me a brand new dishwasher that next week. Amazing! Good luck, I feel your pain.

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  7. We had a landlord attempt to fix a leaky roof on his own. He fell off the ladder and broke his leg. Next thing we knew, rent had gone up.

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  8. For a minute there I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop laughing long enough to respond! Maybe the poor guy has watched Apollo 13 one too many times. I mean, the astronauts did amazing things with a sock, paper clip, duct tape or whatever.

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  9. ben,
    this is my second favorite post of yours. robots post is first.

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  10. Ben, please don't do anything about that leak. I want to see it in person when I come out there in April. Please live with the tube in the middle of your living room for 1 more month. For me. Thanks.

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  11. that is the funniest thing I have ever seen (in the context- I don't want you to think I have that sad of a life)! aren't there stringent New York renting laws that should get you new pipes or something?

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  12. Wow! Just stunned...wow. What a creative solution to an otherwise inconvenient household repair. I am sure there is no need to thank your landlord for service above and beyond the expected creative bounds. Wow! I can't wait to see the results of the permanent repair...perhaps gum still has an outside chance to be used as a building material.

    Rick

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