Monday, March 31, 2008

So Close, But Yet So Flooded!

We were so close to being "nearly done" with Switzerland. The paintings we shipped over from Lubbock arrived on Wednesday, the carpenter hung them on Thursday, and on Friday, the electrician was due to install the final lights. No more bare bulbs!

The electrician (St├ęphane) turned up with his trusty assistant (EA), who was maybe 19. St├ęphane went through everything with him, then left him to get started on the lighting. EA started in the guest bath, installing the light above the sink. Middle of the afternoon, me on the internet, David on a conference call, and suddenly -

CRASH

"P######!" (Pardon my French, but that translates into "F###")

and then the sound of - not dripping - not running - but GUSHING water. EA had placed a foot on the sink cabinet while adjusting the light, and the whole thing ripped off the wall, pipes and all. The water poured in while David and I ran to get all available towels. EA ran around the hallways, looking for some way to shut the water off, but all we heard were a few "P#####s" as he ran around. David placed a panicked call to the agent, and shut off all electrical power to the flat as I mopped (small drops in the bucket compared to what was pouring through our wall). Then David ran to the basement and managed to get in the central control room (normally locked but fortunately not today) and shut off all water anywhere, and finally the flood stopped growing.

Of course, the neighbors didn't take long to find us - Mrs. Number 3 was in the shower, just about to put shampoo on her hair when the water stopped. The whole Number 3 family came down, assessed the situation, and ran to get towels, mops and buckets. Mrs. Number 3 led the troops to battle in a bathrobe, and the whole family pitched in to help. David, the Number 3 family and I mopped and dumped buckets and buckets of water while EA ran around and apologized profusely.

Somewhere in the mess, not one but two people from the real estate agency turned up, then a plumber (which EA sheepishly admitted was his uncle, and therefore wouldn't yell at him), and we got the pipes cut off and the water back on. Mrs. Number 3 promptly ran for the showers, and the guys lugged a basket of soaking wet towels (every one we own plus some) to the house dryer. (Way to get to know the neighbors!)

The EA continuted to work for a while, getting two more lights installed, as he squished around in his soaking wet socks and apologized every time he opened his mouth. He also admitted that this had been his second water disaster this week... though the first one wasn't his fault. The plumber also admitted that this was the second time that cabinet had been ripped off the wall by a stray foot. Time to change the design?

So... we're not done, but we're getting there. Slowly. Two steps forward, one step on a cabinet, and a whole lot of work later... Maybe we will have lights in June when we go next time. Please.

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