This past Wednesday was a pretty eventful one for me. It started out very first thing in the morning as I was getting ready for a job interview (the subject of my next post, I promise). And it started as most of my mornings usually do: Get up, tool around the computer for a while, head into the kitchen for breakfast.
But there was a twist in my routine: I noticed that a leather footstool in my living room was wet. I knew for a certainty that I hadn’t spilled anything the night before, so after wiping off the water with a towel, I looked straight up and saw a line of condensation beading up in the ceiling. Yep, I had a leaky ceiling, which made its presence much more evident when I reached up to wipe off the beading… and a steady downward drip resulted.
I should note at this point that I live in a ground-floor unit of my building, and it rained a little bit the night before. I bring up both facts since you’re probably assuming that my leaky ceiling meant a leaky roof. That’s impossible, of course… even though that’s what Creepy automatically assumed.
And who’s Creepy, you ask? If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that “Creepy” is the descriptive I use for my landlady. She’s someone who, to my ears anyway, can sound as if she is always displeased and may not entirely care — two traits no one wants in a landlord, hence the nickname “Creepy.”
Though it took me leaving two messages to Creepy (the second after the dripping suddenly turned into a slow but steady stream), someone came out to check the leak. But it wasn’t one of Creepy’s henchmen… er, uh, maintenance guys. And with that, I must formally bid adieu to “Creepy 2.0,” who until a couple of months ago were the outfit that managed our building for Creepy. My leaky ceiling was my first interaction with “Creepy 3.0,” who I didn’t realize would be the new managers.
Thankfully, unlike Creepy’s advisory to me that she was unsure someone would come out to check on the leak until a couple of days later, Creepy 3.0 sent someone out that very afternoon. And he was a courteous gentleman, taking his knife to my ceiling right away to figure out the cause. Initially, I thought there were plumbing pipes inside the drywall, which would be strange since it’s nowhere near the apartment’s plumbing.
Still, though, there was water seeping into my living room from above, and after cutting a 4-by-6-foot area out of my ceiling drywall (because it was wet inside, of course), as well as checking out the apartment above me (with permission, of course), we found out the cause…
During these warm summer months, my upstairs neighbor likes to keep his air conditioner running throughout the day, even when he’s away from work. (Side note: Each apartment in our building has A/C units in our living room walls.) Little did he realize — or I, for that matter — his A/C unit’s outer shell (that cage that protects the unit from the elements) was not tilted at an angle. If it were, it would have allowed the water that escapes from the A/C unit to drip down to the ground without any problem.
But since that A/C outer shell was never set at an angle when this place was built (1965, for the record), the excess water from the A/C had nowhere to go but back into the building. But not through a gushing of water, however. Nope, little by little water would seep through his walls, down through the wooden shelf bordering his A/C unit, through his floor, and onto the drywall separating my living room from the rafters above me. The maintenance guy figured there was years of water buildup just sitting on my ceiling drywall. And Creepy may have been right in thinking the previous night’s rain may have been the figurative spark that finally caused the water to seep through. My upstairs neighbor never realized the problem was occurring; odds are, neither did the family who lived in that same apartment until they moved a couple of years ago.
So, since Wednesday my neighbor has refrained from using his A/C. The bad part of that the next few days will be pretty hot here in Madison. As well, I still have a hole in my ceiling where the wet drywall was removed; thankfully, a clear plastic tarp is covering it. Hopefully very soon, a restoration crew will be coming out to care for my ceiling as well as my neighbor’s A/C cage.
But at least for me, I now know a little bit more about this building I currently call home than I did before all this occurred. Namely, how there isn’t any plumbing pipes above my living room (really, Allison?), how a miscalculation that occurred when this place was built had long-range implications… and how my neighbor’s A/C unit is just as loud as mine. Really, these things sound like jet planes in flight.