My Week 29: Water, Water Everywhere, Rudeness, and Plant Manslaughter

Monday: I come home and almost have a heart attack

So if you read this blog regularly, you know I had a little issue with water in my condo a couple of weeks ago. It seemed like a lot of water at the time—OK, it WAS a lot of water, but in my defense, kitchen sinks SHOULD have an overflow drain. It was pretty traumatic, partly because I was worried about damaging the condo and being sued, and partly because for several minutes while I got hysterical with Ken on the phone, I was completely naked and standing in front of an open window, which led me to worry for several days that there might be someone in the building across from me who could see me through a telescope and was now watching me continually in case I ever did it again (ran around naked that is, not flooded my condo). Then I realized that at my age, who in their right mind would be interested in that kind of show? Also, no one came to my door and accused me of being an irresponsible tenant and turning my condo into a splash pad, so I kind of forgot about the whole thing. Then, I went home last weekend, and left right from home to go to work on Monday morning. So I had been away from my condo for 3 days and 2 nights. On Monday night, I was super-tired and got on the elevator to go to what I like to call “Sky Lab” since I’m up really high and have floor to ceiling windows, which makes you feel kind of like you’re just OUT THERE. When I got to my floor, I could hear this roaring noise, and it got even louder as the elevator doors opened. I couldn’t see anything at first but then I turned the corner and just about passed out. The carpet in front of my condo door was all torn up, there were three industrial fans blowing down the hall, and there were wet/dry shop vacs outside my door. What the hell had I done?!! Was it possible that I could have left a tap running before I left for the weekend and had flooded the entire 27th floor of my building?! My first instinct was to turn around, get back in my car, and go home (where it was dry and there were overflow drains on EVERYTHING). But as I took a step forward in preparation for turning and fleeing the scene, I realized that my neighbour’s door, which is on a 90 degree angle to mine, was open. I peeked in just as a strange guy splashed his way out of her closet on his hands and knees with a section of the baseboard in his hands. I asked him what happened, trying to sound very concerned instead of VERY RELIEVED, but he didn’t really speak English, so all I got was, “Lot of water”. “Gosh, that’s too bad,” I answered, secretly thrilled. Why ‘thrilled’? Because when I went into my own unit, there was a note there to tell me that the property manager had entered my condo to look for water damage, but couldn’t find any. But if they HAD…tee hee. There’s no way I’m getting blamed for anything, now that the flood of the century happened next door. Water damage in the unit under me? Golly, it must have been when Cindy flooded her unit, poor kid (her name’s not Cindy, by the way–I just call her that). And when the industrial fans ran for four solid days right outside my door, making me want to gouge out my own eyes, I comforted myself against the unbearable noise by remembering that I was in my own condo, not paying for a hotel room until her unit was dry, like Cindy. Did I at any point sneak out into the hallway late at night and TURN OFF THE F-ING FAN? I admit to nothing. And I mean NOTHING.

Tuesday: Some people are too rude.

My building has a 24 hour concierge service, which makes me feel fairly secure. I still lock my door even if I’m just going to the garbage chute down the hall, and every night when I’m in, I check under my bed for intruders (because you NEVER KNOW, that’s why). And tonight, I opened my balcony door for the first time and got a little panicky because the screen door has no lock on it. But how could anyone get in through your balcony door, seeing as you’re 3 million feet up in the air, you ask? Parkour, maybe, I don’t know. But that’s not important. What’s important is that the people who work behind the concierge desk are extremely pleasant and helpful. Except for Gus (again, not his actual name—I just call him that). I only ever saw Gus once, right after I moved in, then he went “on leave”, presumably to have that surgery where they insert a wire brush up your ass. Gus is incredibly rude, and I wouldn’t care except that he’s only rude to ME. I tried engaging him in conversation the other day, and he just grunted a response to everything. Then I pleasantly asked him the next day if he knew how long the industrial fans would be running outside my door, and he said, “How would I know? I only work nights.” Which is stupid to begin with, because the fans also do their best work at night. It occurred to me that he might just be an unpleasant person, then on Wednesday morning, I left for work earlier than usual and Gus was still behind the desk. I sat down in the lobby to wait for my ride, and I watched him say a cheery and absolutely heart-warming greeting to everyone who was also going to work. I was baffled. Then a young girl went to the desk, to ask him a question, apparently about the flood on my floor. This was what happened.

Gus: Are you still having problems? Didn’t they fix (unclear) yet? You let me know if no one’s been by tomorrow morning and I’ll talk to them.
Girl: So what happened?
Gus: Oh, you should have seen it—like a fireman’s hose, ha ha, going all day long—so much water!!…blah blah blah….
(At this point, I moved to the concierge desk. Gus was obviously in a happy, chatty mood, and I was dying of curiosity.)
Me: Oh, so was it a burst pipe then?
Gus: Yes. (silence)

End of conversation. Plus, he glared at me. Maybe I remind him of someone who cut him off in traffic once (people in Toronto get really insane about that). In the long run, though, I don’t really care if he doesn’t like me, as long as he does his job and stops the crazy people out on Yonge Street from wandering into the building and making their way to the space under my bed. But I have a sneaking suspicion that he would tell them what unit number I’m in if he had the chance.

And then, later that day, a colleague and I had to drop some things off at a printing company. It was a really big job and they are a pretty small company, so you’d think the manager would be grateful for the business and be all obsequious and sh*t. Think again. He gave us a really hard time, and when I asked him if he had our company’s contact information on file, he said, “That’s not the issue, obviously.” Really? OBVIOUSLY? Cuz I think the issue is that you don’t really understand customer service, which is why you’re a SMALL printing company in a city the size of Uranus. Which is where you can shove your attitude. Then he was even more rude to my co-worker, who is the most professional and polite person ever. I so badly wanted to say, “Hey Summer’s Eve, why don’t you crawl back into the bag you came from”, but I was on company business, plus I would only ever say that in my head. In real life, if he was that rude to me and I was on PRIVATE business, I would have just said something like, “You’re really rude. I’m taking my business elsewhere.” Because in real life, I’m much more Jane Austen than Samuel L. Jackson.

Saturday: I look for a plant to kill

I love my garden, and I love plants. As long as they’re outside. I have a rule in my garden—I will plant you and occasionally water you, and the rest is your deal. Most garden plants are just fine with this and manage to thrive without much help from me, aside from me making sure that weeds don’t choke them out. House plants are a whole other matter, though. I seem to have absolutely no knack with houseplants whatsoever. Unfortunately, for both me and them, I really want plants in the house. I haven’t had any for a while, aside from the straggly hibiscus that Ken’s mom gave me years ago, which spends all summer outside looking gorgeous then comes in for the winter and pretty much withers away under my care until the weather gets warm again, and a stupid fern that Ken won’t let me throw away. I got it as far as the front porch in January, and while I was vacuuming up all the dead leaves, Ken snuck it back in the house, because I’m “only allowed to have one fern and if I can’t keep it alive all winter I can’t get a new one”. It’s like a test of character, or a Nietzschean struggle of the wills. Nietzsche once said “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, so I like to think that I’m helping the fern survive the zombie apocalypse. Last month, Ken bought me a pot of daffodils as a gift for my condo, and it sat proudly on my table until the lack of consistent watering did it in. Well, how am I supposed to know that it needed to be watered EVERY DAY? What am I, its mother? Anyway, Ken said he would take the bulbs home and plant them, which left me with no plant for my condo. Today, we went to the big Loblaws at the old Maple Leaf Gardens (where they have 100 hockey seats welded to the wall, which terrifies me—I always lean as far away from them as I can when I’m on the escalator). I wanted a replacement plant, and Ken was no help at all.

Me: Oh look! They have orchids—I’ve always wanted an orchid!
Ken: They’re $24.99. Are you really going to pay that much money for something you’re just going to kill?
Me: I won’t kill it!
Ken: Yeah, you will.
Me: What about this campanula? Wait, they look pretty fragile…
Ken: You’ll kill it.
Me: I don’t kill everything, you know.
Ken: (snickers) They have nice cut flowers. Get a bouquet—they’re supposed to die eventually anyway.
Me: Wait, there are orchids here for $14.99!…no, you’re right. It’ll die. What about these African violets? I had one once and it lived for a long time.
Ken: I remember that. It’s a good choice—it might survive.
Me: You’re so mean!
Ken: I have to be—I’m a member of the Vegetation Protection League.

So I got the African violet instead of the orchid. When I got it back to the condo, I watered it. I hope it appreciates my efforts and understands that it might be a while before it sees any more water. Unless there’s another flood.

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