There are so few things I expect of an apartment in New York City. I expect four walls that don’t have visible mold, a manageable amount of vermin, a working stove and hot water. That’s literally all I expect of apartments that cost more than the average monthly mortgage for a multi-bedroom home. I lucked out with my current apartment, because it checks off most of the criteria: all the walls are still in-tact, my stove/oven has sensitive burners, a good thing for my many kitchen experiments (this week: French macarons), and to the best of my knowledge, poor little miss has been denied any mice while we’ve lived here. It’s so close to having everything I need and more. So close…
Enter: the shower from hell.
In my two previous apartments, I did not have a single (non-roommate) related shower problem: no clogs that couldn’t be fixed, no issues with hot water that weren’t communicated, no weird mold or dirt dripping from the ceiling. And now, when I finally have a shower that I can enjoy all to myself – no roommates stealing shampoo, or leaving hair in the drain, or generally just being there when I need to use it – this aquamonster has given me NOTHING but problems. It’s a legitimate miracle that I’ve been able to keep myself clean since moving in, and every time I think it’s the last issue, something else pops up to ruin my almost-perfect apartment.
It all started on move-in day 2013, where we assumed the small layer of sandy dirt that had accumulated in the bathtub was related to renovations handled prior to my moving in. Easy fix: sweep the dirt out and voila! clean shower. I woke up the next morning to more dirt in the bathtub. And then again the next morning, but also some pieces of plaster? drywall? what on EARTH is going on in my shower right now?!? An investigation by my lovely friend M and me eventually determined the culprit was the heated pole in my bathroom, which resides in the shower; as it expands and contracts with heat, the ceiling around it is pushed out, raining dirt and broken ceiling pieces on the cool white tile. I caulked the problem area within an inch of it’s life (lol, caulk) about a year ago, which actually held all summer and through the fall, leading me to believe I was a master at bathroom repairs and basically a domestic goddess. Until the heat came back and it’s been happening again since December. I’m resigned to sweeping and tile-scrubbing daily until the heat is off. But at least I still had hot water!
A few months went by with no issues, until I came back from work one evening after getting caught with no umbrella in a downpour, and decided to jump in a quick shower to warm up. As I pulled back the curtain, I noticed there was still at least an inch of water in there from the morning shower (“Oooh that’s right, I meant to Drano that”), and no sign of drainage ahead. Two bottles of declogging acid, a misguided attempt to de-clog via wire hanger by myself and a lot of frustrated tears later, I gave up, and called my super to come fix it. Following a now-comical series of events, my shower stayed clogged for almost 2 weeks. TWO. WEEKS. Should have added “helpful super” to that list of must-haves. But at least I still had hot water!
There have been a million tiny problems in my apartment in the 13 months I’ve been there, everything from a broken outlet, to a broken dead bolt and once this mysterious blue liquid that smelled like Tide started pooling in my kitchen next to the oven (mystery’s still out on that one). Through most of the problems, I’ve been able to laugh them off or fix them, as I’ve tried to do with all of my problems in the past few months. I’m sure it’s been semi-obvious by the tone here lately, but the past month has been tough, emotionally, physically and professionally. This was not helped by the fact that for the entire month of April, my apartment didn’t have hot water. Despite multiple calls to my super, my landlords, and my neighbors, regardless of the time of day, I’d have 2 minutes of hot water that would gradually fade to freezing cold and stay there. When all you want is a shower after the gym, after a stressful day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, coming home to an empty apartment and cold water sucks. Plain and simple.
Things are picking up, as I keep mentioning, personally, physically, professionally. I stopped noticing the water temperature after a few weeks, resigned to cool showers until the summer where I’d enjoy them. Last night I jumped in the shower after a long workout and braced myself for more cold, when the water started warming up. Unwilling to believe this was happening, I waited for the water temperature to fade, but it held, finally reaching the boiling hot shower temperature that I needed after a long month. It’s nice to handle my own problems when I can, but it’s also nice sometimes to have things work themselves out, even something as minor as hot water in the city’s most problematic shower.