Friday, December 01, 2006


Well, I thought I’d feel better better if I let loose with a loud scream. It didn’t help. I feel like screaming, I feel like crying, I feel like yelling at somebody. I feel like I have PMS, but I don’t. (Although I still P, I haven’t M’d or S’d in about 20 years.)

This was supposed to be a good week. My boss is on vacation. On Monday and Tuesday, before he left, we caught up on everything urgent. I expected the remainder of the week to consist of calm, mellow days in which I could work on a few ongoing projects at an unstressful pace. Hah! Was that ever wishful thinking!

First of all, I’ve been dealing with toilet issues at work for more than two weeks. I don’t think I ever saw either of my husbands as much as I’ve seen the landlord and the plumber lately. I'm tired of seeing them, and I'm tired of talking about the damn toilet.

They’ve replaced all the guts inside the toilet. They’ve pronounced it “fixed” and “that ought to do it” and “it’s good to go now, heh-heh” practically every other day. And then I use it and flush it, and the next time I go back in there, there’s water on the floor. I call the landlord to report that it’s still leaking, he runs over and turns the water off, making the toilet unusable, and I wait two days for the plumber to come again.

During those wait-for-the-plumber days, my option is to hold it (not the easiest thing for a 64-year-old woman to do) or to use my boss’s toilet. His toilet sits in a closet-sized bathroom built inside his office, about 12 feet from his desk. There’s no way I’m using that one while he’s in the building.

This week, though, while he’s out of town, I thought I’d have easy access to at least one working toilet. Today I used his bathroom before lunch, after they’d fixed/unfixed and turned off the water to mine again. In the middle of the afternoon, I went in there a second time. I opened the door and stepped into water. It seems his toilet leaks now, too.

I was supposed to be off work this afternoon, but I made the mistake of answering the phone one more time before leaving and didn’t get away until four o’clock. The afternoon was filled with client emergencies, the unexpected crises that seem to come up only on Fridays and rarely have easy resolutions. There was little I could do except listen. I listened and listened, made a few phone calls, clucked my tongue and offered encouragement until I was at my wit’s end. My empathy reservoir has been drained completely dry.

All the way home, in crazy traffic, I fought back tears of frustration (I can throw one heck of a pity party if I put my mind to it). I can’t adequately express the joy and relief I felt when I pulled into my driveway. Home, I thought. Peace. Quiet. Calm. Wrong.

I opened the car door and was blasted by LOUD, LOUD NOISE. So loud that it’s too loud even inside the house. Outside, it’s earsplitting. Apparently, my neighbor two doors down, he who has periodically assaulted the rest of us with extreme drumming for the past six months, has recently begun hosting practice for his wannabe (butneverwillbe) heavy metal band. I don’t want to be the neighbor who calls the cops, but I’m really hoping there’s a cop-calling kind of neighbor nearby. It's driving me insane.

I feel like screaming, I feel like crying, I feel like yelling at somebody. I feel like I have PMS, but I don’t. If only it were that simple.


  1. Oh Velvet! Entirely too many people stealing your joy! How about ear plugs, a large long island tea and a soak in the tub? Would definately work for me!

  2. Geeeze, you have had a bad day! When you flush, do you see water leaking from anywhere? If you did, and posted it, I'd tell you what you would have to say to the plumbers (so you sound like you know what yer talking about)I am a plumber, and if I could, I'd help you out, AND I'd fix it right the first time!! As far as the wannabe band 2 doors down, I'd approach them first (or not) but yes, I'd call the cops...but I have REAL issues with noise pollution. By the way, since you're on a roll, did you ever remedy your trash can problem?? I do hope tomorrow is a better day for you!

  3. Oh Velvet, What an awful day. I'm a plumber's daughter and often take my toilet apart. They really are the easiest of things to fix. Sounds like this plumber is just trying to make money off your landlord.

    And Velvet, I agree with the cops. So many people think the law is 10pm or 11. But in fact, the law in most states is if your noise can be heard off the parameters of your property, you are breaking the law. I lived next to noisy neighbors and did not sleep for six YEARS!

    I wish you peace and quiet this weekend. Take care of yourself!


  4. Velvet needs a vacation. Badly. If I were you, I'd make plans as soon as the boss gets back.

    I hope the neighbor has quieted down by now.

  5. Oh hell Linda, call the police. I have a neigbor who lives behind me. She leaves for work at 7am and leaves her dog and her son's dog out in the yard to bark ALL day long, and they bark at everything. Leaves blowing in the grass, clouds, garbage trucks etc,. I'm a fulltime beadmaker, as you know (at leat I was until I injured my back, now I'm a partime beadmaker. When I work, I work at night, usually until 3am. I don't want to wake up at 7am. Her backyard is by my bedroom. I have always had a dog. I am a dog lover, but not a lover of a dog barker. Since I hurt my back, I spend a lot of time flat in my bed. Finally, last week I had enough. I called the police. Yesterday I was talking to my next door neighbor. She had called the police too. Guess what?? It's very, very quiet in the neighborhood. I would call it tranquil. No person, or animal has the right to make that much noise. The police can't tell who complained. Oh, I also bought a nice fan that makes a constant sweet hum....for when those pesky critters get out again!!...and I have the police number nearby!

  6. Well maybe it was going around. I had a very frustrating day yesterday too; but fortunately the only night noise makers I had were coyotes. Good luck with the bad neighbors. Carmon

  7. i hate toilets that don't work!your photos of the rain made me want to say you think that bad you should have been here.

  8. Velvet, I'm so sorry for all your potty problems. You can scream and yell at me - I didn't mind. Come, on, let it ALL out! There, now don't you feel better? ;-)

    Hoping all is soon resolved.

  9. Thanks, everybody, for the moral support. By the end of today, I should be refreshed enough to tackle everything again tomorrow.

    The plumber said the toilets are "backflush" toilets, which "are tricky." In both cases, water is leaking around the base of the toilet. We can flush the toilet five times in a row and not see any sign of a leak, then, a couple of hours later, there'll be water on the floor. Not a lot of water, though; it's a slow leak.
    Any ideas?

    Regarding the noisy neighbors, I've never met them and don't feel comfortable introducing myself to them for the first time to ask them to be quiet. If I did call the police, I'd want to remain anonymous, but then they might assume it was the neighbor who lives in between us who called. She's had a couple of run-ins with them already, and I don't want to do anything to cause her any more problems.

    One way or the other, it will all work out. It always does.

  10. What an unusual dream Velvet, I'm sure there is something very symbolic about dreaming of a *goodie* inside a pastry bird. I think I remember reading of an old English receipe where game birds were cooked inside a pastry case and in those days the cooks were often very elabrate in their presentation of dishes so it would stand to reason they'd imitate and of course sparrows and small songbirds were eaten too. Hmmm most intrigueing but I've googled too and can't find anything. Maybe Chinese?


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