Monday, February 08, 2010

The Big Drip

Once again, we revisit that seemingly never ending saga of the bathroom drama. Spanning about as long as many soap operas, this leak has been causing a problem for over two years, fifteen plumbers, six housing association inspectors, and irate neighbors. When it had started to leak through our hallway wall, I really anticipated that the problem would be found in the smaller bathroom, not the tub. 

Again, it was an issue with the neighbors downstairs, so Ron took over. We had the home owners association's plumber come yet again, but he would not do a thing unless we cut a hole in the glass block wall. It seems there is a little door in the middle of the tub in an inverted space. When we covered it with glass blocks, we were told it was a foot hold so women could bend over the tub by bracing their feet there and avoid sliding. Ron went to a bath store around the corner and they had workmen who would come out.

They removed a small portion of the glass and then removed a portion of the side of the tub, making it still usable, but delightfully unattractive. There are rotted pipes, which were originally cushioned with foam rubber that has deteriorated. What is left of the foam gets soaked with leaking water. Their solution was to take the tub out completely and replace it with a stall shower. This will give us room to move the washing machine under the window, thereby giving more room by the bidet. They mapped out a floor plan and it all seemed reasonable.

We went to their showroom, which is not around the corner, but in the 4th district, quite a distance away on the blue metro. They showed us the shower floor, had us choose doors, and they will replace the end wall with the glass blocks. We had to pick out floor tiles and wall tiles for inside the shower. We ordered enough floor tiles for the entire floor, but I am not sure if I want all of the walls in the same tiles I picked out for the shower. What really gets my goat is that no tile store seems to have an extensive selection. When I remodeled the bathrooms in CA, when I went to tile stores, I was overwhelmed with selections. Here, I feel like I am being held hostage at the choices and it is not just this one store. I have been to others, but I am spoiled by US variety. Then it came time to calculate costs of materials and labor... ONE MILLION, THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND, rounded off. That is without tiling the entire bathroom.

Anna comes to the rescue. Anna was a Hungarian Fulbright exchange teacher to the US. She exchanged places with Jennifer N. who we have become good friends with. As a result, we have seemed to absorb Anna into our lives. She is an angel and gracefully comes to our rescue at will. We had to call her a couple of times from the store, because my student translator was at work. She was so gracious, but later told us it was way too much and the tile guy who did our kitchen and hallway could do the work for much less. Then it became a hassle trying to schedule the arrival of the materials on March 8th with the workmen to do the plumbing, and then Sandor to do the tile, all the while not losing too many days of not being able to shower and getting it all done between guests coming and going. We are still working on this one, but Anna is convinced Sandor can do it all and honestly, we love his work, so that is find with us.

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