Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Argument For Apartment Living

Sometimes I really miss living in an apartment building.  Homeownership is wonderful, but house maintenance is such an annoying, full-time job.

At least at our house.

Over the last six months, in addition to our Big Garden Project, we have been dealing with a temperamental furnace, a strangely leaking clothes dryer vent and an exploding rain gutter downspout.   More than once, I've caught myself reaching for the phone to get testy with the landlord and demand that the Super get involved.

Sadly, that Landlord is actually me and I guess that means that I'm the Super, too.

I'm not that happy about my new job as Project Manager, but I like my showers hot, my house heated, my clothes dry and my drains functional, and there's no one else in our house with the time to schedule repairs and the ability to be home to let the technician in to make them happen.

When the furnace stops working and inspections reveal the following soot-covered wall, it's my job to call the heating company and beg them to come over as fast as they can.

And when that repairman says that we need to build a chimney to capture and remove toxic vapors from our basement, it's my job to call the chimney company - over and over again - and nag them to come out and give me an estimate / schedule the job.  

I'm still waiting for that estimate, sadly.

And when I'm up in my storage attic one afternoon, while my clothes dryer is on, and I notice that the metal vent which is removing hot air from my dryer is dripping water all over my attic floor, there's no one but me to sort out the issue, call the appropriate person and wait for them to arrive.

This is what the poor man found, by the way:

It ends up that the dryer vent installer forgot to remove a metal grate at end of the chute and for three years, it's been acting like a lint tray that I never knew to clean.

At least that was an easily fixed issue.  

I'm becoming quite the house-maintenance troubleshooter and my list of reliable repair companies is starting to rival Angie's.  I may not be handy enough to fix broken household items myself,  but I am becoming a fully-qualified repair diagnostician and I'm no longer hesitant to call seasoned service people and tell them exactly what is going on.

The clogged drainpipe continues to stump me, however.  It seems like such an easily solved problem.  The drain-spout is clogged with seedpods and leaves?  Call the gutter cleaners!  Problem Solved!

But this is no simple clog.  This is more of a grand-mal seizure of the gutter.

I think the problem started long ago - back when the house stood empty for two years.  I'd wager to guess that the builder did not pay to the have the gutters cleaned and the leaves and debris were compacted deep into the drain... and since the gutter goes underground, it's impossible to tell how far the leaves lie.

I can see a few of them, poking out of the hole where the gutter heater leaves the spout.

My usual gutter cleaners won't touch the job - and the company who installed the gutters refuses to answer my phone calls (which seems to be a trend in home repair these days.  I have been doing more than my fair share of begging for help and it's terrifically annoying).

The good news is that  new company answered their own phone this morning and had an actual Estimator drive out to my house an hour later and it looks like by next week, I may have a working downspout once again.

If it actually happens, I will add Outdoor Plumbing to my list Project Management Resume.  

And by the time Gordy and I sell this house and move into a nice retirement apartment, I'll be able to save us money on our rent by offering to take on the role of building Super myself.

I'll certainly have the skills!


Elizabeth Hoffnung said...

It can really be frustrating when problems such as these pile up on you, but at least you’re doing a wonderful job on finding out their cause and seeking professional help. Hey, at least no one’s nagging you for rent every month if you have your own home. :)

Martha said...

Elizabeth -I'm so sorry I missed your comment and it's taken me so long to respond! You are right about that rent check... it can be depressing thing to write! And landlords aren't always the best. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment.

Tom Willi said...

Ugh, 3 years worth of lint.

Oh wow. That gutter is gushing everywhere. Were they able to clear the blockage out? I guess if there’s another blockage in the near future, you’ll be well-equipped to deal with it yourself. Pays to learn a bit of the trade, especially when it comes to maintaining your home. Cheers!

Martha said...

Yes - it was gross, Tom! Good advice.

Joann Winton said...

Leaking rain gutters is already a concern in itself. What more if it's gushing so hard like this? And though it's bad to hear about the company who installed the gutters not picking up your calls, at least you finally found someone who would take the job for you. How is it now? Everything fixed and patched up? I sure hope so.
Joann Winton @ AJCRoofing

Martha said...

Yes, thank you, Joanne - my clogged downspot was a real problem but it's all fixed perfectly now. I appreciate your concern.

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