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In which I muse about the benefits of home ownership...

August 2006 will forever be marked in my mind as the month of plumbing disasters.

Geoff and I bought a condo in April of this year. Itís a little place on the third floor of an old triple-decker in an even older neighborhood. Since April weíve been doing normal new home owner type things e.g. painting, hanging curtains, rearranging the furniture, threatening each other with divorce, replacing ugly light fixtures. You know: the usual. Unfortunately come August, the unusual starting happening.

First the Second Floor People tell us that they have water leaking through their bathroom ceiling light. Okay. We can handle that. We dig around our bathroom and discover that there is a rotting piece of wood molding running the length of the tub, that the previous owner so thoughtfully ďfixedĒ by covering it over with tub tape. Geoff digs it out and discovers that half the blue board on the wall of the tub is wet and warped as well. So he does major demo and fixes the floor and the wall and re-tiles and re-caulks and makes a gazillion trips to Home Depot in the process and acquires more tools than were required to build our entire house to fix our tiny bathroom. But thatís okay, because itís fixed.

Then, a few weeks later, the SFP start ringing our doorbell again, because, wait, it actually isnít fixed. And now the water is leaking from their light and all along their wall. Now the SFP are having none of my husbandís please-donít-call-a-plumber-Ďcause-I-really-want-to-try-to-fix-it-myself-and-why-hire-a-professional-when-I-can-spend-twice-as-much-at-Home-Depot-and-still-have-the-problem method of home repair. They call a plumber. The plumber charges $242 to replace the little toggle switch that turns the bath from tub to shower. But thatís okay, because itís fixed.

Then, last Friday, we come home around midnight to a message on our answering machine from the First Floor People saying that one of the water heaters is leaking in the basement. Geoff checks it out and, of course, itís ours that is leaking. He tries to turn the water off to our heater and the pipe is so corroded that it breaks, sending water flooding everywhere. Now he has to turn off the hot water to the whole building to stop the flood. He finally cleans that up.* Then he spends the whole weekend trying to get a plumber to come to replace the water heater and fix the pipes. He finally got a friend of a friend to do it. The plumber charges $700 to do the work. But thatís okay, because itís fixed.

Only, itís not really okay. My government job certainly doesnít give me so much cash that I have an extra G just lying around to give to plumbers. Seriously, if one more water-related incident happens, youíre going to find me wandering the streets in my bathrobe and holey slippers whimpering softly and clutching my now empty checking account statements to my chest. And with my luck, itíll probably be raining.

*I was fast asleep. Iím useless after 10 pm and he was pushing 2:00 am by this time. If I ever had to do the midnight ride instead of Paul Revere, well, letís just say weíd be snacking on fish and chips right now.