Really Old Building...but Not My Building
Really Old Building...but Not My Building.

I live in an old building. Old being built in 1922 for apartments, converted and sold as “new and improved” condominiums in 1976. It is now 2012. The only date My Reader needs to remember is: OLD.  Nine floors of oldness: old wiring, old plumbing, old elevators, old toilets, old creaks and groans and every now and then…old gripes retold with renewed but loud spirit.

One does not live in this building unless one really, really, really loves all things OLD…

Which brings me to yesterday, Sunday. Typically a day of rest with or without religious content.  Typically.

[Now is a good time to insert primary vital information: the building manager is out of town. We are, all nine floors of us…on our own if something breaks in our very old building.]

I’m going to keep this simple and to the point.

All hell breaks.

The elevator won’t move past the first floor. Or anywhere. It just sits. Still. In place.

Water Water Everywhere

The toilet in the “guest room” springs a leak. No flushing. Please.

The steam radiator on the 8th floor is leaking and water has soaked the       8th floor lobby carpet and is now a problem on top of another problem.

There’s a security issue: an unknown woman wants in our old building. Voluntarily wants IN and not OUT?

That was yesterday. Sunday.

Today is Today: Monday

Building Manager remains in that foreign country, Dallas, Texas. I applaud her travel sense and wish I were there, too. Texas? Maybe not.

Telephone calls to repair peeps have been made.

Plumber Dispatcher Peep-Guy calls.  Wants information on leaky toilet and I explain in factual plumbing language:

The water hose that comes out of the wall and connects to the main shiny part just below the horizontal flusher that sticks out on the left side is squirting water out of the end of the hose that goes into the main shiny part.

Long pause.

Is this a one or two piece toilet?
One piece…you know…like a prison toilet but probably older. The toilet. Not the prison

Make of toilet?
Crane. Sante Vitroware. Old Italian toilet. Like in an Italian prison…a really old prison. It’s white. The toilet. Not the prison.


(To myself….Shite what’s with the pauses?  Is he writing this down or what?)

He’s back

Is there a water shut off on the wall?
No. There is no as in none water shut off coming from the wall.
Another pause. Longer one.  Then…
You realize we may have to shut off the entire building water supply in order to fix this toilet?

[Now is a good time to insert secondary vital information: The visual and audible memories of our recent non-scheduled all building water shut-off…are at best…ugly. Really ugly. It is a true-story bad (did I mention ugly?) event and to do a rerun…so soon…is unthinkable.]

[Insert: words that came out of my mouth and into the earpiece of the Plumber Dispatcher Guy’s telephone.]

Oh, no. And, then…
Oh, damn.
Thinking that I may have overstepped my vocabulary bounds with this peep-stranger on the phone trying to help us…I pulled in the expletive reins and said,
Oh, crap.
Then I forgot myself completely as the memories flooded (ha!) my mind with visions of death-to-the-water-shut-off-messenger as the building community geared itself up for the early morning starting the day shower ritual…and reverted to:
Oh, shit!

Silence from Plumber Dispatcher Guy on the other end of the telephone.

Oh, sphuck…disguised f-word…what have I just done?

…to be continued…


  1. I have an unrealistically romantic love for old things. Unrealistic, as I know I am actually a modern girl who wants things to be modern and work efficiently. The old part is just a veil, a longing for a different time. Yes the grass always seem greener elsewhere and your post proves it! I feel sorry about your weekend. Wondering what’s going to happen next I’m your apartment block : )


    1. Just “visited” your site…did you see me? Since I’m a retired (actually I hate that word) high school art teacher I do encourage you in your artistic efforts. Everyone can learn to draw. True story. Thank you for your visit to JOTS and your comment.


      1. Hi, thanks for visiting my site and encouragement! You are an artist and a teacher! You are blessed indeed – to be able to see and create beauty and teach others how to do the same. An artist and a teacher never, ever retires because you all have so much to give. I am trying to remember that while we may retire from a job, we never retire from life (until we expire) as long as we have things we still enjoy and can still share with the world. Well, hope that you can give me some comments and tips on my “learning to draw” journey. I enjoyed reading your blog especially the old apartment story. Happy days ahead to you!


        1. Good Morning Monica! Thank you so much for your wonderful affirmation on…well..everything!
          Be encouraged about your art…especially in “seeing” art where ever your eye’s linger and your mind begins to transpose the images through your fingers to your paper, canvas…..
          I’m sure you’ve seen the Dale Chihuly glass art at Raffles? He, indeed, is inspiring on all fronts: shape and form, colour and most important…freedom of expression. I’m a follower and look forward to…progress!!


    1. Whaat??? You can’t hear the flushing sound or my scream of delight from here to there???

      Listen up……….better hurry with that visit though….remember this is an OLD building!


  2. Thanks for the “like” on my blog. I truly enjoyed yours too!
    I’ve never lived in an old building before but I did once live in a house without running water…VERY true. Long story short, we had an outhouse that we had to trek through a cow manure-strewn field to get to. And I was a little girl and I had visions of falling through the hole into the limey muck. Needless to say, I will take the old, broken Italian toilet over an outhouse any day!


    1. I’m a follower (not to be confused w/stalker) as of this moment and reading back “issues”. Your job pales my toilet issue. Speaking of outhouses. My grandfather (who lived in the southern California hills) had one. An outhouse. Down a canyon from his house, past scrub brush, granite rocks, cougars and bears. Take a wee at night? You’ve got to be kidding! My sister and I could manage the canyon, scrub brush and rocks. Cougars and bears? Not so much.
      We’d wet the bed before taking on wild animals!! And…we did. Ahhh memories…………….


      1. Oh my gawd! Oh no! You poor kiddos…at least all I had to risk was cow poop and coons. I would’ve peed the bed, too! Or hid a bowl under the bed. 🙂
        I love your style. I’m “stalking” you too. Looking forward to reading your back posts and future tribulations!


  3. I have really bad toilet karma so I’m feeling for you. Oh the joys of a maintenance nightmare house.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!



  4. Did D. explain about the rolls? Not rolls really but bread made into rolls. HUGE mistake…so I HAVE to try again and make it right…you know…as in follow the recipe stupid person! Remember the Japanese Kabocha Pumpkin Cheesecake trial and error recipe?

    Aren’t you glad we are BFFs?


  5. …and yet, there’s still time for cinnamon rolls…you’re truly…amazing.


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