Previously in The Outsider: our intrepid immigrant had fallen foul of a leak in his bathroom, and, after exhausting all other options, been forced to rip out the bath (a moulded fibreglass bath of Canadian manufacture with no removable front panel, I should add), along with one corner of the house to find the source of the problem.
After a day’s hard labour, and much to his relief, the bath was extricated.
“Best check on that leak now,” said the father-in-law.
And so it was to the leak. But this was no ordinary leak. Yes, it went drip, drip, drip but no, it wasn’t emanating from the waste pipe under the bath and neither was it coming from the water pipes connecting to the taps, at least not from where I could see.
The leak was in the void between the two floors. I grimaced. Maybe I should have tackled the problem from below and taken the washroom ceiling out, as advised. Maybe I should have cut a hole in the stairway wall; taken a side-on approach, again as prompted. Damn it. Instead, I had ransacked the bathroom. Taken power tools to the tub no less, and there was simply no going back now.
Casting off the gathering fug of gloom, I reached for the jig saw once again and began to slice a large chunk out of the floor.
GrrrrrrrRRRRAAARRR! The blade hit something hard.
Now, those of you of a wicked disposition will be wishing a deluge upon me at this moment. You predict me cutting right through the water pipe, getting partially drowned and then listening helplessly as the ceiling below (the one I didn’t take down) collapses. That’s the comedic route to go with this column, I guess. But I’m much more pompous than that. No, the thing that I hit was a large ceiling joist: a joist that would have made it impossible to go in through the side, as had been suggested. “HA!”
I reassessed my option, and, cutting a smaller hole, gained somewhat awkward entry into the floor void. My first glance at the leak; drip, drip, drip, it went.
“HA HA!” I cackled. “We’d never have been able to get at it from below, look at all those other pipes blocking the way!” My way had been the right way all along. I beamed with pride.
“We still need to mend the leak, though,” said the father-in-law, “and it’s in a bugger of a spot.”
Bump. I crashed back to earth from the small cloud of self righteousness I’d been riding.
Six hours, four skinned knuckles, three trips to the hardware store and two achy backs later and the leak was fixed. We hadn’t installed the new bath (that’s a whole other story). We still had no water in the house. Little Z would not be bathing tonight but we had fixed the leak.
Jumping forward in time a week or so and the parents-in-law have departed. I hope their stint without washing didn’t offend fellow passengers on the flight back to the UK.
We now have a new bath but it also has a moulded front, so, if the pipe bursts again I’ll be ranting about idiotic Canadian bath design again, while ripping apart the bathroom again. Or will I?
You see, currently our bathroom is in a state of flux, so to speak. Said bath is installed and working well (Little Z is back to his old colour: only after some serious scrubbing, I might add) but the redecoration process has stalled. The walls are a jumble of badly fitting drywall, timber studs and bulges of insulation from where we extricated the original bath module, accented by strips of different coloured paint from behind the timber beading that was ripped down in the process.
I like this state of semi-redecoration. I call it a ‘deconstructivist ambiance’ and see the charm of this leftfield outpost of interior design. My wife, on the other hand, doesn’t concur. She rants incessantly that it’s “a blinkin’ mess that needs sorting out, sharpish!”
But two rants in one column (even a two-part column) is one too many, so I’ll leave that story for another time.