the plumbing clusterfuck continues. i cant go into it too much without raising my blood pressure to alarming heights, but on the upside i did manage to ruin the day of my upstairs neighbors even more than mine, and, of course, misery loves company. all the plumber (thats probably to generous a title) managed to do to them was promise to come around one and not show up til six, then buy the wrong sized toilet, get into a fight about carving out room in the back wall in an attempt to squeeze it in, and then once he put there original one back, set off some serious waterworks in my apartment when they tested it out. meaning he literally made whatever was wrong much much worse.

so just when he thought he was done for the night around 10 he had to come down to my place and he maybe identified the source of the leak in a corroded pipe which he then somehow temporarily patched. that was another four hours which included cleaning and carting away two large bags of rubble necessary to remove from the ceiling to reach the pipe.

and where do we stand? well, my neighbor was fed up and somewhat drunkenly berated him. i wasnt exactly going to tell him to calm down but i dont know how helpful it was. but unlike me he is ready to put his money where his mouth is. he doesnt want the plumber to come back to his apt so hes ready to pay for a plumber. and i believe him but that doesnt solve the hole in my ceiling o nce they are through.

so, stay tuned.

- dave 10-17-2015 4:00 am

- bill 10-25-2015 10:36 am [add a comment]

forgot where i left it. oh yeah. the next day he came by relatively early, just after one. i had thought to text him telling him my neighbors decision to confer with the landlord before preceding careful not to mention the likelihood he would be replaced as a plumber because i still may be forced to have him repair my ceiling when all was said and done, but i didnt want to dissuade him from coming over and removing the toilet he left by my door and whatever other refuse was there. so when he did come i did some damage control while explaining the situation. he quickly connected the dots and was perfectly fine about being replaced if it came to that. he doesnt really like doing the work, as if anybody would, but cant turn down the money. that is part of the problem though. in his mind he is doing my landlord "a favor." i said if you are being paid and he is not your friend then it is not a favor, its a job. but he persists in imagining it is otherwise.

so this conversation is taking place through the doorway. when all is said and done i leave him to putzing around in the hallway somewhat relieved that the conversation went as well as it did and also that i wouldnt have to deal with him again for a few days at least. but before he could leave my neighbor returned from brunch. i could hear them through the door but i didnt linger to listen to what was being said. i just hoped my half truths wouldnt be undone. while it sounded like fences were being mended, i was surprised to learn once my neighbor knocked that he had decided to let the plumber continue on that day. after all that drunk-inspired vitriol, the light of day and some googling had convinced him to allow him to proceed. at that point i just wanted the work to continue, so i shrugged and just hoped he would get started as soon as possible. that "as soon as possible" turned out to be three hours later and then proceeded in fits and starts for the next ten hours. but by the end of the night he had removed and replaced the broken pipe (relatively painlessly), built and replaced the plate the toilet and flange sit on (the most time consuming element), buttressed that all from below somewhat dubiously with 2x4s, and replaced their toilet. turns out in his three hour afternoon hiatus he had returned the toilet and purchased one with a smaller tank which fit easily in the space above. so had he taken note of the space or worked at a reasonable hour all the enmity could easily been avoided the previous day. also, i managed to cut out about 2/3 of the cleanup time on my end by putting down a plastic drop cloth, actually my shower curtain liner that already had a replacement waiting in the wings. might have been something a competent contractor would do without thinking.

im sure im forgetting some minor annoyances but generally speaking he worked hard and everything seemed to be in working order by the end of the long day. and while i was anxious to have my ceiling fixed and to remove the awkwardness of being able to hear my neighbors bathroom habits a little to distinctly, we decided it was best to let the beams dry out before we closed it up. that has taken longer than suspected and the amount of dry rot does not fill me with confidence that the brand new toilet might not one day land on my head, but we are supposed to proceed tomorrow in any event. im still less confident in his hack job plans for my ceiling than i was in his plumbing talents, but at this point i dont care how awful its bound to look. hopefully it will be a two day project with painting included though i havent even broached that subject yet. one annoying day at a time.

- dave 10-25-2015 12:02 pm [add a comment]

another day, another load of crap, literally and figuratively. i spied the plumber out the window around noon hauling a bunch of boxes onto a pushcart. theyve been cleaning out the corner storefront over the past few weeks to prep it for a new occupant including three large trailer-sized dumpsters filled with dirt. apparently the lowered the floor a foot in the basement. so i assume that has his attention for the afternoon and his promise will go unfulfilled. im sure to him it was no promise just a guideline that he could follow or not.

as i come back from lunch i flag him down to recalibrate the timeline. no point in getting especially frustrated as there is no way i could not expect it to happen. as excuese go this was reasonably good. the landlord had thrown his crap out on the sidewalk (he had a pop up store probably rent free for his fabric business for much of the end of the summer) and he had to haul it to his storage facility. no doubt he had promised to remove what was left for weeks and the landlord had had enough. (the landlord, the one across the street, actually called me the other day for a progress report on the plumber. to be honest i was too generous as it was just after his one good day of work and i decided not to shit on him to his benefactor. i regretted it almost instantly but i doubt it would have made much of difference to what i need done.)

so he says he wont be available til about six and that i should call him. i didnt want to have to call him or text but that has generally gotten the best results so i waited til about 630 and hit him up with a text. still moving boxes is the reply. all the boxes are removed from the street but ill give him the benefit of the doubt that he is shuffling them around somewhere. i dont want to start again at 9pm so i ask if i put it off til tomorrow will he promise to get an early start. he thanked me and assented. i give it a zero percent chance it wont be dark and ill just have wasted another day.

meanwhile, he tells me earlier that he really wants to finish so he can get paid because he has bills piling up, as if he isnt the impediment to getting it done. i would roll my eyes but any further north and im likely to have an aneurysm. essentially ive become chief inspector dreyfus and this fool is my clouseau. i even have the twitching to prove it.
- dave 10-26-2015 7:07 pm [add a comment]

pre 3pm start. im calling that a win.
- dave 10-27-2015 2:56 pm [add a comment]

he asked me what he thinks he should charge. i begged off. i have no idea what a fair rate would be. im sure my number would be low. if he had done it right from the beginning, its no more than a three day job. it took him four plus. someone that was on it gets it done in two. he wasted at minimum 10 hrs. whatever the case i dont envy his efforts to haggle with my landlord.
- dave 10-27-2015 5:32 pm [add a comment]

  • guess i wouldnt want to pay more than $600 but were i to tell him id say $750.
    - dave 10-27-2015 5:42 pm [add a comment]

  • time and materials. how much of each?
    - bill 10-27-2015 8:29 pm [add a comment]

  • i was just figuring labor. the materials he can verify. and its hard to get specific on time because he would disappear for long stretches and attend to non-job related tasks.

    day one maybe three hrs prepping and putting up sheetrock.
    day two maybe seven hrs removing then putting back toilet further
    rupturing previously unfound leaky pipe and then temporarily repairing pipe.
    day three maybe eight hours removing & replacing pipe, rebuilding floor under toilet
    day four three hours prepping, sheetrocking and plastering.
    day five (yet to come) sanding and painting. two hours rounding up.

    so three days, two days of contracting, one of plumbing, and most of the first two days were avoidable had it been someone more competent. also, had the second days repairs been done during the day when parts could have been purchased the need for a one day patch which wasted 3 plus hours could have been bypassed.

    so at least some of that has to be on him i would think, but its 23 hours.
    - dave 10-27-2015 9:01 pm [add a comment]

  • materials he will provide receipts for and be reimbursed by the owner. you get to bill mistakes if you can cover them with them with plausible excuses. when you start scratching the surface no telling what you are going to find, but the longer you work in a building the better idea you have. for instance the water damage to the beam support under the toilet is predictable but dreaded and one would rather not know but is probably the source of the problem (sinking toilet) and must be addressed. I know someone who paid for it themselves, but their rent is at least half yours and they have been on 6th st over 30-40 years now. $20-$25 cash an hour is not terrible pay, sounds like he is doing a little better than that.

    - bill 10-28-2015 8:42 am [add a comment]

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