Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Things Fall Apart (Mostly MY Things)

In the last two weeks ...


I'm supposed to change the outdoor water filter every three months or so (or so they tell me). I've been renting since last August, so I thought it was about time. I ordered some filters and went outside to find my water main.

Lucky for me, there were six pipes corresponding to the six apartments on my side of the building, and each was numbered clearly on the pipe itself with magic marker 1 through 6. My apartment is apartment number 1, so it seemed clear enough. Only three of the mains had water filters, and mine was one.

What didn't enter my mind was the following fact: the six apartments on my side of the building were not numbered 1 through 6, but apartments 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, and 10.

Foreshadowing: the mark of great literature.

The filter container is a plastic cylinder that screws into an upside down plastic dish permanently connected to the water pipes. Water flows into the cylinder from a pipe that enters a side of the "dish" to the center, flows down the filter which is a hollowed out smaller cylinder, through the filter, and out the other side. It looks like this:

On the top of the dish is a red button. Pressing the red button lets water out from around the button sides. You can't easily unscrew the container until the water pressure goes down. So you have to turn off the water, let it drain out in your apartment or by pressing the red button for a while. Then you can unscrew.

After turning off the water, I went back to my apartment and tried to drain the pipes but the water never slowed down. It occurred to me even then that I may have turned off the water to the wrong apartment. But I thought it was more likely that I had some kind of reservoir water tank on the roof. So I went back down to the main and held down the red button for a while. I unscrewed, replaced the filter, and re-screwed. Unfortunately, when I turned the water back on, the area around the whole screw wasn't tight enough and the water was spraying out in all directions. Try as I could, I couldn't tighten it any further.

So I resigned myself to leaving the water off for a day and calling a plumber. Can't have a continuous water leak. The water pressure in my apartment stayed steady during the evening and the night, nevertheless, and I began to suspect that I had gotten the wrong water main after all.

In the morning, I went outside to find the water tap turned back on and no leak from the filter. I was confused, and decided to check it again later in the evening.

I came home from work to find the entire pipe between the apartment main and the the water filter I had replaced GONE with a note from the water company saying that the water was turned off due to unpaid bills.

Finally finally I went looking for a permanent resident in the apartment building, aka someone who would know which is actually my water main. Yes, it turned out that a) my tap is number 4, not number 1 (even though my apartment is number 1), b) the water company and unpaid bills is entirely coincidental, and c) the apartment that belongs to that pipe doesn't rely on the outside filter since they also have an in-house inside filter. So I could have my filter back. They were confused yesterday as to who had turned their water off. But not at all confused that the water company turned it off and took their pipe the next day.


I noticed that the soles in my sandals were cracked all the way across. There's only one cobbler in Raanana, but his store opens after I go to work and closes before I return from work. I just happened to have Thursday off last week, so after weeks of waiting I went to him to see if he could fix them but he said it wasn't worth it, since it would cost as much as new sandals.

I was trying to be Earth-conscientious - repair and reuse, rather than toss out - but he wouldn't touch them. Ah well.


When my shaver broke two weeks ago, I approached the repair with the same attitude. I found three places on the Internet selling replacement parts for the shaver. The part that broke was the top frame that holds the circular blade guards in place. A new frame cost half the price of a new shaver, but Earth conscientiousness and all that. So I ordered the part. Still waiting to receive it (two weeks later). In the meantime, I went on a date in Beit Shemesh to which I showed up scraggly.


My car broke down in Beit Shemesh last week following the date. The car kept overheating, so I brought it back, kilometer by kilometer to a garage in Beit Shemesh. Foolish me. It would have been better for me to have called a tow truck and have it towed to Raanana.

I thought it might be a busted fan, but the garage replaced the entire radiator, temperature gauge, some hoses and fluids for 1,850 NIS. I wasn't convinced that all of this was necessary, but there you go.

Today (5 days later), my car breaks down and won't start while I'm halfway to work. I look around the car and under the hood and all the fluid had drained from the radiator within a few seconds - the ground was covered with the green fluidy goop that the mechanic had put in.

Of course, I don't live anywhere near Beit Shemesh, but of course I had the tow company tow it to Beit Shemesh since he was the one who had fixed it. So 3 hours of missed work, a taxi to work, and a 90 minute train to Beit Shemesh after work (and a subsequent hour drive back to Raanana), to discover that - of course - my new car problem had NOTHING to do with what had been fixed before, says the mechanic. This time a hose burst and the fan stopped. But it wasn't a hose that he had fixed. And there was nothing wrong with that hose last time he checked. So I owed him another 600 NIS. That was after he graciously threw in more green fluidy goop for the radiator, for free.

And now

And now my freezer is frosting up all the time and the door won't close all the way unless you shove it. I chipped my stapler and broke three glass cups on three separate occasions in one day.


Ayelet Survivor said...

I hope that everything else holds together.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Addendum: How could I forget? One of the glass doors of my floor to ceiling closet fell out of it's frame and broke and the cellphone holder in my car (bought as a present for me from my son) also broke.

All of this was in the last two weeks.

Of course, the very fact that I have indoor plumbing, a shaver, good sandals, a car, and a closet makes me luckier than a lot of people.


Ayelet Survivor said...

Good perspective. It's still annoying.

adina said...

I hate to say this, but I can relate Much too Clearly with many of your items. We have the same water filter system (I dread changing the filter - I have to re-attach the filter housing and screw it into place against the flow of water from the roof) and trying to catch the shoemaker for repairs that he keeps telling me aren't worth it, why don't I just get a new one, and the many stages of the Car Experience - Oy, can I relate!

Foreshadowing and universality - the marks of a great writer :-)

adina said...

forgot to mention our freezer - raised the front two leveling legs to the max and press HARD every time we close the door and use a plastic shoehorn to knock off the accumulating frost...