Monday, August 23, 2010

the time my entire bathroom fell apart

So, about 10 days ago, we had Alberto, a general fix-it guy, in to do a few things around the house--- fix some blinds, hang some shelves, etc. First, he fixes the blinds. We now have working blinds that go all the way up and all the way down. Great success. Then, he moves on to the shelves. This is where everything starts to go to s**t. Before I can explain exactly what went wrong with the shelves, theres one thing you have to know about toilets in Argentina. They aren't like toilets in the states -- here, the tank is built in to the wall. Agostina's room (where the shelves were to be hung) shares a wall with the bathroom. Now, I may not be a licensed plumber, but even I would hazard a guess that it may not be best to hang the shelves directly behind the toilet. Alberto, apparently did not share this same assumption. He drilled away (drill, baby drill???) until....wait for it...... toilet water started gushing out into Agostina's room! Alberto goes "oh shit" and sticks his finger over the stream of water in an effort to plug the leak. As he soon realized that he was literally up shit creek without a paddle (and Agostina was starting to get REALLY pissed off), he told her to turn off all the water in the apartment while he called a plumber.
Cut to 30 minutes later. Plumber friend arrives. Looks at wall. "Yes, this is bad. There is a whole in your wall and toilet water is going to flow out of it every time you flush. That is not ideal." Plumber friend inspected in the toilet, in the wall, etc. and said "Well, you need a new '________' (insert name of part that I don't remember). But the issue is that I can't get it for you or install it until Wednesday. So, I'm gonna put a temporary patch there now, but I have to leave the toilet top open, so you'll have to reach in and pull up the stick to flush until Wednesday ". As this was a Saturday morning, I was not so pleased with the promise of a Wednesday solution. "Ummmm why not today?", I asked. "Well, its that its after 12, so the store is closed now, it wont be open tomorrow or Monday (Monday was a holiday), and Tuesday I'm busy. No worries, Wednesday I'll come."
Can you imagine what someone would say in the States if their plumber told them they were going to have to live with a broken toilet (that possibly could gush water into a room of their house) for 4 days?? No doubt, they'd flip out. Here theres nothing to do but sigh and say ok.
Later that evening, I got another nice little treat, when, after coming home from a run and hopping in the shower, I found that we had no hot water. No matter what I did, I could not get hot water to run in the shower. Sweet, I thought, we get to flush by sticking our hands in the wall cavity and pulling up a little stick, and now we have no hot water... in the middle of winter. Alberto you are a GEM. The next afternoon, things reached a new level of disgusting. I had been trying to flush the toilet, had reached into the wall cavity, lifted up the little stick and flushed. Then I was trying to push it back down into its hole so that water stopped running into the toilet. I was not successful. The stick floated on some water and then fell over sideways into the vast wall cavity. OHHHHH SHITTTTTT I screamed. I quickly rushed to shut off the water and then screamed for my boyfriend to come help me. The two of us stood on chairs in the bathroom, shoving a mangled coat hanger into the wall cavity, unsuccessfully trying to locate that stupid little stick. Eventually, I had to roll my sleeve up to my shoulder, and stick my entire arm in there and feel around. ECH. I managed to locate the stick and put it back in its proper place, and later that night Hugo fixed the hot water, but the toilet situation remains unresolved. Anyone know a good Argentine plumber?


  1. Ohhh funny story, it seems you are having some travel with water ! Now when i look to rent apartments buenos aires the first thing i'll ask for is about the pipes in the building haha.

    Good luck finding a good Argentine plumber !

  2. AHH!!! I love this story!!! We had a great plumber named Washington (yes that was his first name) but he kinda went incognito on us. You could ask Santi if he's still around though. I have also totally had to stick my arm in after that stupid stick...gross!!!!