When It Rains, It Pours

And I’m not talking about the weather.

I guess it all started Friday night, when we had a storm and the power went out. Oh sure, it came back on… and off again. Five times. During lessons with my Japanese students. It cost me $20.

I really can’t complain about the weekend, but Glenn and I could barely move after we hit the gym on Saturday and the one trainer put us through a ridiculous workout (it was a fitness assessment that came “free” when we paid for a membership). My trainer had me do ONLY leg exercises, and I always do my absolute best, so I was totally exhausted after the first couple of exercises. But I finished the session and left there barely able to walk. Glenn’s guy is a master trainer (one of six on the entire island) and put him through quite the workout. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that he ended by flipping a truck tire over several times, for 5 sets (I don’t know how many reps). Anyway, we couldn’t move without hurting for the rest of the weekend, and it rained a lot, anyway, so we spent most of the time indoors.

Monday: I got the first month’s water and electric bills, and they weren’t pretty. We have a serious leak in the shower – straight out of the showerhead – which is why our water bill was so outrageously high. The landlord knew about the leak, so I called him Monday morning to have him arrange for a handyman to come take a look at it (thinking he would be happy that I was being proactive about taking care of the leak). Instead, he was annoyed that I called him to “complain” and told me to call a plumber myself. So, I did. The plumber said that it requires removing the tile and cutting the wall to get to the pipes in order to solve the problem, and for that, we need the landlord’s permission since we are renters and do not own the property. This plumber couldn’t do anything for us, so he left after about 5 minutes… but not before I had to pay him $80.

Instead of calling the landlord again, I emailed him to let him know that the problem was more serious than just replacing the shower knobs. He replied saying that he had arranged for a plumber to come deal with it on Thursday afternoon. Great.

I paid the bills online and almost cried when I checked my bank account afterwards.

Also, our internet still wasn’t working properly. It would cut in and out but luckily, it held up for the class I taught. It made doing work for my online class rather difficult and by evening, I had given up and left the work for another day. Big mistake.

Tuesday: I woke up around 7:30 am, went into the bathroom, and saw dozens of water bugs all over our floor and black, smelly muck coating our shower floor. I cleaned it all up, just to find dozens more bugs (including roaches this time) the next time I went in to use the bathroom, and more smelly muck had shot up out of the shower drain. I cleaned it up again, then went out to Home Depot and bought Draino. I used the entire bottle on the shower drain. Somehow, for reasons unknown, it got worse… there must have been a serious clog down there. Glenn dealt with it for the rest of the day since I was supposed to teach. I say “supposed,” because the internet wasn’t working – again – and it cost me a lesson. I also couldn’t do any schoolwork – again. Meanwhile, Glenn spent 2 hours plunging the shower drain and toilet, and not only was the water brown throughout our apartment, all the drains in the bathroom and kitchen were clogged up despite all the plunging. Glenn called our landlord (because I was put off at how rude he had been to me the previous day) and he yelled at Glenn. Glenn actually hung up on him and had to calm down before he could call him back. I’ll spare you the details. He called back and had to beg the landlord to help us, and finally, in the end, he understood the gravity of the situation and said that we should call an emergency plumber.

Guess what? This is Puerto Rico… nobody likes to work more than they have to. Even the people at numbers listed as “emergency plumbing” didn’t want to come take a look at our apartment seeing as it was 9pm at that point. The one guy told me to call him tomorrow morning and he would look at it then. Great, but we couldn’t use the water until then! No showers, no washing hands, and no using the bathroom. No deal. We went to a hotel. Tack on another $75. (We also had to eat out since we couldn’t cook. We couldn’t cook because we couldn’t wash dishes. If we leave out dirty dishes, we might find more bugs in the morning. Welcome to the tropics!)

Today, Wednesday morning, 7:40am: The “emergency” plumber called me (and woke me up) to ask if the problem had solved itself. I told him that I didn’t know because we were forced to stay at a hotel, and that I would have to go home and call him back later. No need. The landlord, who had finally realized the urgency of our situation, had already arranged for a plumber to come take care of the clog. He would come at 10am. I had to teach at 11am, 12pm, and at 1:30pm.

Sure enough, everything was still clogged when we came back to the apartment, and we were grateful that a plumber was on his way. When he arrived, he and his team got started right away. They went downstairs to the restaurant that is directly below us, and sure enough, they had experienced clogging, too, and all of their carpeting in the dining room was soaking wet due to flooding. We had also found out that last week, our one neighbor experienced a clog (his went away with Drano, though) and our other neighbor has leaks, too. For some reason, we experienced the worst of it. Oh, but I didn’t tell you the worst part yet.

The plumbers were here all day: from 10am to 4:30pm, and they didn’t take a break. It was that bad. Luckily, they didn’t need me for anything during the first two hours that I had to teach (11am – 1pm) and the internet held up during the day… FINALLY. However, my laptop – which is 4 years old now – decided to turn off and not turn back on again right at 1:30pm, the exact time that I was supposed to start my final lesson for the day. Thank goodness Glenn’s laptop was on and ready to go, and I was able to switch over to it and only delayed the lesson by 3 minutes. While I was teaching, Glenn messed with my laptop and got it to turn back on, but I don’t trust it now. I already have to keep it plugged in all the time because the battery is totally fried.

Right after I finished teaching, I got an email from Alamo Rental Cars. They finally finished assessing the damage on the rental car, and of the $900 I paid them (including the $500 deductible for the damage), I only get $125 back. Now that I have their claim form and evaluation, I can submit it to my insurance company, but the way my luck has gone, I’m not going to count on them covering it.

As if that wasn’t enough, right after that, water started flowing out of the bottom of the sink and flooded into the bedroom. We don’t have a bed frame yet and the box spring is directly on the floor. For some miraculous reason, I had decided to keep the plastic wrap on the box spring, and so only a small part of the mattress got soaked in smelly poo water. I was grateful for that, but I still didn’t enjoy having to pick up the mattress and box spring later to clean underneath and try to get the smell out of the box spring.

Our landlord had somehow decided to stop by and see how everything was going this afternoon. This was our first time meeting him; I had always just spoken to him over the phone and it was his wife who first showed us the apartment, had us sign the lease, and brought out the handyman to fix our windows (they wouldn’t close when we first moved in) and bring the new refrigerator (the old one broke only a few days after moving in). As you can see, it’s been one thing after another here.

After the team of plumbers and our landlord left, I had to clean the mess that they left and didn’t even attempt to clean up. It took me two hours to clean the bathroom, plus another hour to clean the bedroom (box spring and floor) and the closet, where the plumbers had gone in to look at the faucet in there and tracked in smelly poo water. While I was cleaning, Glenn brought our laundry over to Dave and Sunna’s since we both are out of underclothes and didn’t get a chance to do laundry earlier this week, for obvious reasons.

At least our apartment no longer smells like excrement. (Either that, or I’ve just gotten used to it.)

Tonight is the first night that our internet is working properly (knock on wood), but I felt the need to blog and am putting off my schoolwork once again. I’m praying that nothing goes wrong tomorrow so that I can focus on getting my assignments done. At this point in the week, I am usually done with 50-75% of my work. I will also have three lessons tomorrow, if the internet allows it.

I am begging the Higher Powers to grant us a little relief from the misfortunes and stress we’ve dealt with this week. I know that things could always be worse……….but they could also be a lot better!

As Glenn said, it’s been a “crappy” week. (Pun intended.)

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