Bathroom report supplemental…

Two weeks ago, the plumbers that installed the works for my new bathroom were back to correct the mysterious problem of the shower handle that wouldn’t stay attached no matter how much or often the set screw was tightened down. To my mind it still feels flimsy, but to their credit it has stayed attached after their visit. If it breaks again, I’ll surely just call my own choice of plumbers to get after it rather than the guys who are subcontracted to the builder who did the renovation work.

The repair work for the handle involved some disassembly, a lot of fiddling around with the valve and stem, and reassembly to something that gave all appearances of working correctly.

About a day after that work was done, however, I noticed a steady, slow drip from the shower head. I’m not saying the two are necessarily connected, but one started immediately after the other was “fixed,” so I do have my suspicions.

I notified the plumbers that there was an issue a week ago today. So far it’s been radio silence. I just assume that’s going to mean yet another round of getting the prime contractor involved (again) in order to get anything done and the glaciated pace of everything involved in the last half of putting this bathroom together. I suspect the only reason he’s even remotely interested is his tile guy remains on the hook to come in and tweak a little bit of slope around the shower drain… which can’t happen until the steady trickle of water is stopped and they’ve got a nice dry floor to work with.

Truly this is the project without fucking end.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

Things from the Before Time. People are returning to the office. What I’ve noticed, particularly among a certain set of semi-senior or management types, is a quiet, unspoken determination to do things the way they were done in the Before Time. There’s a willful effort at suspending disbelief and denying the reality of the Great Plague. The fact that people aren’t quietly going along with their fervent wish to roll the clock back to February 2020 almost hits them as a surprise… as if they want to wish away the fact that over the last 30 months, the people didn’t find a better way to work and arguably a more rewarding way to live. But here they are, shocked and surprised that most of their colleagues aren’t thrilled and excited to commute, spend eight hours a day siting in florescent hell, or pile into a charter bus packed elbow to asshole with 53 of their new closest friends to take a two-hour ride. The powers at echelons higher than reality can make people return to cubicle land, but their expectation that anyone will do it with a smile in their heart is going to be sorely disappointed. 

Hurricane coverage. I’ve never really understood why networks make their anchors stand in the rain looking like drowned rats for their newscast. I know television is a visual medium, but I think everyone watching has had enough experience with rain to know what it looks like when you get caught in a downpour. Sure, show the aftermath. That’s probably newsworthy at some level. During the storm itself, though, there’s honestly just not that much to see that can’t be caught through a window or from under some minimal level of shelter. Sending grown ass adults to stand outside to demonstrate that it’s raining and windy, doesn’t feel particularly useful to my understanding of the coverage.

Being a dollar short and three months late. The plumbing company I had originally planned to use to install and new and improved water filtration system (more than two months ago) called rather sheepishly on Monday morning. The voicemail went a little something like “Oh, hey Mr. Tharp… We, uh, have a plan here for your filter system… We, uh, must have put it in someone else’s file and, uh, wanted to schedule a time to come out and get started on that work.” I appreciate the level of audacity it must take to make that call, particularly after I spent a month calling weekly to see where the plan was and when they were going to get started, before giving up and handing the project to a company that came out, drafted the plan, and did the work all within a week’s time. Mistakes, I’m told, happen. This, however, is one that could have been avoided at any of five or six points along the way if they had responded to a customer’s efforts to make contact. I encourage this company to go, and I can’t emphasize this enough, fuck themselves. 

What I learned this week…

I can cover some basic home maintenance tasks with a degree of competence. Others – like schlepping up the ladder to clean the gutters – I’m more than happy to pawn off on the professionals. The net result is usually something done faster and with less chance of breaking other things in the process than I would be able to manage myself.

Other times, though, instinct tells me I can do a thing – often because I’ve done that thing previously. Sunday, instinct told me that it might just be better to buy a old fashioned standard toilet at Lowe’s and replace the whole 20-year old contraption instead of fiddling with repairs. Especially because the repairs were going to take proprietary parts and be a pain in the ass to complete myself. A straight up replacement would have been almost plug and play and taken no more than 45 minutes.

I ignored my instincts last weekend, ended up calling in a professional for help, and still finished off by buying and installing a brand new toilet. At least this one has reasonably accessible bits and pieces that I can (probably) deal with when the inevitable time comes.

What I learned this week – or what I re-learned for the 247th time – is that when it comes to home repairs, I should always check my first instinct and then go directly where it points. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred that’s where I’m going to end up anyway.

Size 12…

Strip away the layers of technology, the fancy polo shirts, and khaki pants, and at my heart of hearts you’ll find that I’m actually a remarkably simple man. You’ll find that I’m the kind of guy who does what he says he’s going to do, when he said he’s going to do it, unless there are some truly exceptional circumstances preventing that from happening. The unfortunate side effect of that tendency is that it leads me to have that same expectation for the people and companies I deal with. There are only a handfull of things that make me as absolutely batshit crazy as taking time off, sitting around the house waiting, and then getting a call near the end of the scheduled “service window” letting me know that someone isn’t going to be able to make it out and that the appointment will need to be rescheduled for a more inconvenient time the following week. It’s even better when you call the other company who was supposed to do an estimate and they “can’t find a record of the appointment.” I’m serious. It makes me want to bash my head repeatedly against the nearest cinder block wall – right after I beat someone to a bleeding pulp with their own arms.

To the companies doing business at 866-366-2606 and 877-321-7038, I hope someone here on the interwebs hijacks your phone numbers and ties up your incoming lines for the next week or two. That would save me the trouble and the legal fees resulting from coming over there and driving one of my size 12 Doc Martens directly into your colon.