Laying Pipe

We had a pipe break in our building that happened to pass through my bathroom. Four men have been here for three days replacing it.

I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone and any minute Rod Serling will come in and say, “CUT…PRINT.”

If only, because then it would be over and props would clean up.

I wonder if the library noticed just how many times I dashed in and out to pee.

I can’t bring myself to say to these hulking work men with names like Misha and Ronaldus, I need to use the bathroom that now looks like Pompeii, just with less charm.

Every once in a while Misha, the spokesman of the group, comes out to tell me everything is going well, as if they’re delivering a baby. “You can see it soon,” he said, meaning the sheetrock over the new pipe that frankly, with the exception of FINALLY being installed, did nothing for me.

I just want them to finish it up then leave…fat chance, since they are now building a wall.

What, the Berlin Wall? Why is it taking so long?

Another concern was while repairing one thing they’ll fuck up something else. An old building (mine built 1899) is like your grandmother…sometimes at her age it’s best to just leave things alone like my former landlady did. She was into patching…it was cheaper, and safer as far as I was concerned. Of course every six months the pipe would leak again and this time it was on someone’s head in the restaurant below me. That’s when the new owner got serious. No patch patch for him.

He brought in the big guns, from Jersey and why they’re always late.

“We get stuck on GW Bridge.”

My entire bathroom is in my bedroom. I told my friend Amy who’s been holding my hand through this, it looks like a youth hostel with towels on the bookcase and shampoo in my shoes. You must understand how much I loathe disorder…it makes me crazy.

Order is the only thing about life I can control…that the bathmat is draped along the tub evenly and my robe is behind the door waiting to warm me.

It was the one thing I forgot to remove, so at one point a huge man with big biceps I’ll call Tool, came out to give it to me now beige instead of navy. Plaster dust…it could take away your gray.

“Voddy ny-sss,” he said, holding it gingerly with dirty fingernails.

I try to think of the good…it will never leak again…this will be a one time deal…you’ll live…without lungs or a nose…but hey.

None of this blarney makes one shred of difference.

Misha just came out for his hourly update, and apparently, they are three quarters done and maybe I should go see a movie.

Maybe I should pay them to leave…I mean what’s a quarter left anyway?

A panel? What am I saying…THEY NEED TO FINISH SO I CAN PEE, SHOWER AND GO THE FUCK TO BED…in my lifetime.


They’ve done everything but paint. The dust was three deep before hiring someone to come clean. They are kindly deducting her fee from my rent. With the exception of coughing and sneezing, all is back to normal.

New York living…bet this doesn’t happen in Iowa.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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16 Responses to Laying Pipe

  1. micklively says:

    You have every ounce of sympathy that I can muster. I absolutely loathe that kind of mess and a mucky bathroom makes me twitch: put those two together and I’m apoplectic. You will recall we went through similar two years ago with our dry-lining debacle (though that was in every room bar the kitchen), so I understand your plight all too well. Keep your chin up: you’ll be able to look back and laugh about it (in a decade or so). 😉


    • I was so happy when the cleaning woman came after putting my house back and scrubbed like a nut…but I see there’s a new layer of dust, nothing like before though, covering my floor. Amazing to me. My nose may never forgive me it’s that stuffed.


  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    While my honey was in Canada 15 years ago, a toilet pipe burst in our basement ceiling. He sent some men to repair it and clean up the worse part of the mess. But I had to throw out scatter rugs, clothing, toys. etc. And then I mopped and sanitized. The portion effected was about 1000 sq ft, so it was not a little job. We didn’t have bedrooms down there yet, it was used as a big playroom by the kids. When Honey Bunny returned home during the weekend, the basement was clean. Very bad timing.


    • Plaster dust is really something…like ants you can’t get rid of. I’m coughing like I smoke 6 packs a day. I appreciate the empathy because I guess, unless you’ve had the experience you just don’t know.


  3. Rubenstein, Hal says:

    Your always welcome to stay up in your home state with us !


  4. katecrimmins says:

    I have a slight allergy to spackle dust. It is so fine it takes months (years maybe) to complete get rid of it. It must be the worst in an apartment with one bath and no place to hide.


  5. Funny you should mention Iowa… 🙂 Actually, when we moved in to our current apartment, it was still being built, so we had contractors in it from 7am-5:30pm. They cleaned up after themselves eventually (mostly) but it’s pretty inconvenient when you have men tramping through everywhere. The bathroom is the worst because you can go without a living for a bit, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.


  6. MJ says:

    Aaaaaaaah! Whenever plumbers, electricians, repairmen et al cross my threshold, all my latent insanity is unleashed…the germ phobia, the feral territorialism, the compulsive neatness, the fear and loathing of Philistines. Be it ever so humble, home is supposed to be a refuge, a place where you can actually sit on the toilet seat, and where you can derive a sense of control from seeing things just where you want them to be, even if everything else in your life is a mess. Order in my mini-fortress is so precious, I do my own painting, one wall at a time if necessary. And if I absolutely have to let a work crew in, I make them use my drop cloths, because God knows where theirs have been. A public bathroom? The neighbor’s with bedbugs? A fortnight ago two windows had to be replaced, which given my issues, compelled me roll up the carpet, and move everything out of the room but my bed and a massive antique armoire. I would have moved these, too, but the former was too hard to take apart, and the latter has a will of its own and doesn’t like change any more than I do. The workmen came and knocked the old windows out, then discovered they’d brought the wrong replacements. They couldn’t leave me with two gaping holes in the walls, so these suckers had to be installed temporarily. They look awful. Now I’m waiting for the crew to come back and install the right ones. Susannah, you have my sympathy!


    • Oh MJ, I hope they get put in soon. I am still living in dust, though not as bad. I may have that woman come again, this time at my expense, but they still have to paint.
      It was an intrusion…I sat at my desk for three days uncomfortably wanting them so much to leave. I didn’t have drop cloths, silly of me, but I had no forewarning. I came home late last Tuesday to debris in my bathroom that fell from upstairs. If they had told me, I could have sealed off the bathroom and taken everything out. Then they came and took that enormous pipe out from 1899. God knows what that had on it.
      We need not to think about the details. I appreciate your empathy.


  7. Elle Knowles says:

    I feel for you. Our home is in a constant state of ‘projects’. We do try to limit them to one thing at a time. At least we are doing it ourselves and there are no strange workmen lingering. I would not want to tackle a pipe problem like that though. Just got a call from Lowes and the grout we ordered is in. Guess I’ll have to finish that backsplash project in the kitchen now. So ready for this all to be over!


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