Fixing the Leak

It was suggested to me that I have been too well-mannered and trusting in my dealings with my contractor and that I needed to be polite but firm, reminding him of his obligations. “Firm” is far easier for me in writing — in person I’m a marshmallow — and so I sent him an email. The plumbing had been leaking for two weeks and had to be addressed before greater damage and mold occurred; moreover we had to sit down and work out a plan to finish the house on a mutually agreeable timetable. To my surprise he responded within two hours and a few hours after that was at our house to investigate the leak.

It felt awkward to see him, after my unaccustomed toughness. To prevent automatic apologies from tumbling from my mouth, I had to take myself outside to weedwhack. Over the course of the day, however, we gradually resumed a stiff semblance of our old friendly footing. He is a charming person.

He started in the basement (and to his frustration, knocked the pot of drip water off the high bookshelf to spill on the carpet). Once that was mopped up, he began cutting around the pipe in the ceiling in search of the source of the water. The wood above was soaked.

Next, upstairs he removed the baseboard in the short wall enclosing the refrigerator and cut a hole in the sheetrock. The wood there was wet also.

Gradually he moved higher, cutting holes to trace the water. Halfway up the wall the pipe was still wet.

At the top of the wall he finally found the source of the leak.

The crimping on a pipe had not been complete. He widened the hole in the sheetrock and then cut out the 2×12 so that he could fit his hands and tools in the space. Within a few hours the leak was fixed.

What a relief! The wall will remain open for now to let everything dry out. I am a little anxious because I believe that the cut-away 2×12 may be under the bathtub, and I am concerned about structural strength. I will talk to him about that when we meet.

Yes, as he was going out the door I forced myself to bring up the subject of our meeting next weekend to settle on a timetable for completing the work that we have paid for. His face hardened and he said coolly that the time might not work for him. I kept my own voice level and explained that DH had a busy travel schedule and we’d have to find a time. He promised to be in touch.

I am very grateful that the leak is fixed, but firmness is exhausting for me. I was up last night with another episode of atrial fibrillation.

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