Monday, July 07, 2008

Bathroom Woes

This post pretty much has nothing to do with anything, other than a little slice of typical Chilean coastal living (and me venting).

If you have looked at my photos, you know I live in a lovely, brand new condominium. Of course, as we all know, brand-new condos tend to be made, shall we say, hastily? The phrase "they don't make them like they used to" certainly applies.

So, sometime during the first or second week of May in my lovely, brand new condo, what sounded like a river woke me up at 8 a.m. It ended up being more like a waterfall gushing from one of my recessed light fixtures in the bathroom. I immediately called consierge and eventually went back to bed once the water stopped and no one from the building showed up. This happened every day - at 8 a.m. - for a week, and then several more times after that, just for good measure I suppose. Sopping up what was questionably clean water was not my idea of a good time.

After the fourth day I managed to get a building plumber to begrudgingly look at it, who basically pulled the light from the ceiling, said the equivalent of "you have problems" and left, fixture dangling and all, mumbling something that I assumed had to do with when he would return but I couldn't be sure since Chileans often sound they talk with rocks in their mouth. I went to the building manager's office several times, but she was never there (every time having "just stepped out") and then she went on vacation and didn't leave anyone else in charge.

Eventually June 1 came and I had to pay rent, so I decided to employ a force stronger than myself - my dictatorship-hardened landlady, Maria. Of course she was appalled and swept me at once to consierge where she put up an impressive stink. This earned us not one but TWO plumbers, both of whom assured us they had been solving the problem "from the top down" as it was a multi-floor issue, and wouldn't you know it, I'm as bottom as it goes. When might they get to my level? Next week, for sure. That was June 2. Starting on June 19, I heard suspicious construction noises coming from the apartment above me. It lasted for a week, which was also concerning since they assured me it would take "no more than a day" when they finally did get around to me. Right... one day to rip out my entire bathroom, fix the plumbing, re-plaster and paint. At this point I sort of hoped they didn't get around to fixing it until I had already left, and was at least happy that they had re-installed the lighting fixture.

Of course, time went on and, after a few very infrequent plumber inspections to reassure me that "I had problems" plus a few more random water dumpings, mold started to appear, and get worse, and worse, and worse. There's no use "cleaning" it since it just spreads it around and doesn't kill it, so I learned to live in harmony with my new roommate: toxic black mold. I keep the door shut and am thankful I am an infrequent showerer.

On June 20, I noticed the bathroom had given me a little Solstice present: a flower! (I know it's really a mold mushroom, but it looks like a flower). I actually laughed when I saw it. It's hard to tell in the picture, but there is a little spider above and to the right that inhabits it:

Here is another picture, taken about a week later:

And, finally, this one was taken last night:

It's hard to tell, but my ceiling is actually COLLAPSING. Every day, pieces of plaster fall into my shower. I tried to get someone to at least remove the falling part so the whole ceiling doesn't cave in, but wouldn't you know it? Both the building repairmen are on vacation until Monday, July 14. I leave on the 13th. Here is the most visible crack:

Normally something like this wouldn't bother me too much - like when it took them 3 months to fix one of my sliding doors, since hey, I have two - but I pay a lot of money for this condo. My landlady was at first vague about whether or not I'd get my security deposit back since I am breaking my lease. I figured having 1) given her plenty of notice and 2) lived with a defective bathroom for going on 2 months was a pretty good argument for why I deserved every last cent back. She seemed to disagree, and reluctantly agreed to return half of my deposit. I was inclined to accept this deal, until the day when I removed my suitcase from the closet, only to find my roommate was extending his territory:

I wanted to cry. Luckily - ahem - my suitcase had stopped the spread of mold to my clothes:

Of course, I am now short my one and only clothes closet and my suitcase - despite what so far seem to be positive results after brushing/scrubbing off the mold as one Web site advised me to do - may have some hidden residents yet.

So, that is my bathroom saga. I plan on confronting my sweet, old yet peso-grubbing landlady with this new evidence of my reduced quality of condo-living. Wish me (and my respiratory system) luck... if the ceiling does collapse before Sunday, I promise to document and post pictures. Speaking of which, there are finally some new pictures posted to Flickr!


Momma Archer said...

Half way through your posting, I had the sudden urge to put on a mask. Seriously...YUK!
Get out of that place ASAP. As far as your damage deposit? She should give you back some of your rent too!
Looking forward to healthier pictures from your vacation:)

Sarah P said...

I hate mold! I'm sorry you have to deal with that in your condo. When I lived in Bellingham we had to bleach our walls because we got mold so badly. Only works for so long, until it grows back. aaccckk! I hate mold!

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