It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
Alan Cohen
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Saga of the Plumbers

I keep hoping this Saga will end soon. It seems to have been going on since the day I moved in.
Well, in a way, it has. We had all the plumbing redone when we had the apartment renovated. The electricity too.
So far , the lights continue to work, with the new fuse box, I am able to blow my hair dry and have light in the bathroom at the same time.. modern miracles do happen.
But that seems to be the last miracle we have been granted... because every week I find a new wet spot, a bit of mold, discover a new scent that should belong in a damp basement but no ! it is in my newly rebuilt and doomed, Linen closet.

It all started about a month after we moved in. This apartment is old. The building is 100 years old. There are many aspects of the apartment that we love and have kept, the really high ceilings and the ancient wood floors and all of those miles of molding.
But the kitchen and the bath had to be changed, I needed my modern conveniences , like being able to plug two things in at once, having a sink that could hold my monster sized American pots and pans and I needed to take those institutional looking tiles off the walls and have a nice color and some new floors.
Now is that asking too much? The bathroom got new fixtures, new lights, the things one needs in a bathroom but brand new and beautiful and dry.



So imagine my surprise , coming into the newly finished kitchen one day and finding a waterfall where there were no waterfalls installed. Panicked calls to plumbers... investigations ... verdict : the lady upstairs, she is leaking.
It was fixed, then we waited weeks for the plaster to dry then the painter came and it looks like new again.
Imagine the thrills I got when I started noticing that my linen closet had the slight odor of an old basement .. damp. It is even easier to imagine the reaction I had when discovering mold growing on the wall in the linen closet.

Have we angered the Gods of Plumbing?

We have a safe in a wall. I removed the things from the safe and discovered that my passports and things smell slightly of damp .. they no longer have that Official scent to them, now they just smell Old and Damp.
How can I hand one to an official at the airport ? I can see it now, he will wrinkle his nose, hold it at arms length with a scowl, look at the photo, look at me and send me to the Matron with the rubber gloves.

I need a tiny clothesline, with tiny clothes pins, to hang our passports out to dry. I am afraid to put them in the dryer, imagine they might shrink.
The Official at the airport will smirk, ask me if I just returned from Lilliput, then send me to the Matron with the rubber gloves.

My husband remains calm about it , Pup is just happy to see someone new at the door. This dog has more plumber friends than most dogs have bones.
I have gone from irritated, to raging, to long -suffering. Next I will just slap something smelly on the wall and call an estate agent, I have had it.

But then I think, what if this is the way ALL the buildings are built ?

I should just get into the swing of things, I will change the decorating them, Moldy Venetian Villa is now the idea.
If the paint starts to peel, let it. I will add some frescoes to the ceilings, a few more candelabra and no one will see anything unusual. Yes, I can see it now.

Oh, there is the doorbell.
It is the plumber, we have a new leak in the wall.


  1. Oh Candice, I'm afraid that yes, that's the way all buildings are. Musty smell is characteristic of BA. First thing we all notice when we have friends coming to our home for a visit is the smell coming from their suitcases. And the mold? yes, all the old building have it also. Your Husband has the right attitude: stay calm, chances are that you will not get rid of it. Plumbers will fix the leak, but don't spend $$$ trying to get rid of the smell, trust me on this one. One good thing: none of the argentinians you invite to your home will notice the smell or the humidity on the walls, don't worry. In a much positive note: the bathroom looks FAB!!! What a transformation!! Did you get rid of the bidet or did you just move it?

  2. Oh I can smell the passports. I hope they can be restored to their proper official smell.

    Good luck with it all.


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