Don’t Freak About The Leak

, , , , , , | Working | February 4, 2019

My dad was a police officer back when local “bobbies”’ were given houses with outpost offices attached to them so they could technically work 24/7 and serve the community. This meant that the house was rent-free — just bills to pay — but if anything needed work it had to go through the police and their repair request system. When we discovered a leak in the upstairs toilet, it was reported, and they sent two plumbers over the course of a month to fix it.

Just before we were due to go away on a family holiday, we discovered a leak in the upstairs toilet that we thought had been fixed a week previously. Another plumber was sent, and as I was at home from college for the summer holiday, and I’m nosy, I got chatting with the plumber whilst he was working. I mentioned how many times this leak had happened and he replied that he was “the guy who gets sent out when everyone else has failed.” He sorted the issue, showed me there was no leak, and left. We were happy, no more leaks happened, and a week or so later we headed out for our holiday.

Two weeks later, we arrived home around ten or eleven pm. My parents were tired as they had been driving for almost twelve hours at that point — we had driven back from a very rural part of France — and my sister and I were tired as we hadn’t been able to sleep properly in the car, which is why none of us could believe that we were hearing a weird noise coming from the house. My dad opened the door and water spilled out!

The entire ground floor was flooded, our post was bobbing around the place like ducks on a pond, there were tide marks on the wall over one foot high, there was a massive hole in the kitchen ceiling — below our bathroom, in case you hadn’t guessed where this was going — and a half-decent waterfall was pouring through it.

After much swearing and freaking out, my mum found a way to shut the water off and Dad phoned the police residential management people on their emergency number and after clarifying that no, this was not a joke, they sent someone out. That someone was some guy that suggested seeing if we could find a way to turn the power on so we could “at least have a cup of tea”!

Eventually, it was agreed that we couldn’t stay there, so we had to find a hotel, and by this time it is almost midnight on a Thursday. My dad later explained that before we found our holy grail of a hotel, the four others we went to first claimed there was no room at the inn and they had conferences. There weren’t conferences, just to clarify; I think they just didn’t want to deal with my tired, upset, and irked dad that late at night.

The next day a plumber came out to sort the toilet. My dad is a chatty guy, and so naturally got talking to the plumber, expressing his amazement that this had happened. Before he even looked at the toilet he tried to blame us by saying it was because we had used one of those bleach blocks you could clip onto the toilet bowl. My dad had to show him that we didn’t have any of those before he’d let it go.

The plumber then got to work and explained that, in a nutshell, whoever was there last dropped a part down the toilet — he eventually fished it out and showed my dad — and that they either didn’t realise or didn’t tell anyone. This caused a blockage, which in turn caused the pipe to burst.

At that point, I came out of my room, stopped by to see what they’re talking about, saw the guy, and grabbed my dad. I recognised him as the plumber who had come out in the first place! I quietly told my dad who the man was, and what he had said to me previously. Dad let the guy fix the issue and leave before calling the company up to check that he was the same person who had been sent out last — he was — and then went to town on them. I’m pretty sure the guy got sacked.

In the end, it took three months to make the house liveable again. In that time, my sister and I had to live with our nan some seventy miles away for the remainder of the school holidays, with our parents visiting us on the weekend. The hotel my parents had been paid to stay in was too far away from any travel links and our friends, and my parents didn’t think it was fair to make us stay in a hotel all day on our own whilst they worked. I ended up losing my part-time job because they didn’t understand why I couldn’t take a train to work — even when I explained it would have cost about £60 when I made minimum wage.

When school started back up, my dad had to argue and fight to get somewhere that was close to my college and my sister’s school because the area was quite expensive and the police didn’t want to pay for it.

Despite how stressful the whole situation ended up being — I could write a book on what happened! — my parents never let it show, which amazes me to this day.

I’ll never get over how we had to go through it at all just because one plumber got butterfingers.

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