Berkeley Episode 2: The Landlord Returns

After the episode with the Hole-y Stairs we learned we shouldn’t rely on Burt to fix things. When the kittens pulled the curtains down in the living room we put them back up with no problem. When the pliers we were using to shut off the kitchen sink water no longer did the job, Sarah Beth and I bought a new faucet and installed it ourselves.

However, when the toilet tank cracked we decided, against our better judgement, that we had to call Burt.

We had been having a quiet Friday night. Four of us were just leaving Duncan’s room to get some drinks from the kitchen when we discovered a wet patch on the carpet and water dripping from an archway in the hall.

A crudely and mostly accurately drawn floor plan of the house utilizing my 8th grade drafting skills. (Thanks, Mr. Koenig! And sorry!)

Sarah Beth, Kristi, Will, and I went upstairs to find a pond stretching from the bathroom, into the kitchen, and creeping into the dining room. We stared in disbelief as the water seeped across the carpet.

Will gave her 90lb frame a good toss and got Sarah Beth about half way over the water towards the bathroom. She tip-toed through the rest of the pond and managed to get the water running into (and then out of) the toilet shut off.

After assessing the damage she came out, put her hands on her hips, and sighed. “Well. We have to call Burt.”

Since she had seen the tank and the crack we elected Sarah Beth to call. Also, she had been raised in North Carolina and therefore had the ability to tap into a certain amount of Southern Charm. This made her sound unfailingly upbeat and she could be contagiously agreeable.

Burt picked up within the first couple rings even though it was 9:30pm and very late for him. Sarah Beth shortly explained that a rogue toilet had attempted to recreate the Great Flood and asked what we should do.

Her face went from bafflement to silent laughter during the conversation. At the end she managed to choke out, “Okay,” before she leaned up against the wall laughing uncontrollably.

“You are never going to guess what he wants us to do.”

Burt, who was certainly not sober enough to drive to the house, had instructed us to do the following:

  1. Turn off the water to the toilet. (Check)
  2. Drill a hole in the floor between the kitchen and the dining room all the way through and into the basement ceiling. (Uh huh?)
  3. Push the water down through the hole and catch it with a bucket below in the basement. (Wha?)
  4. Take a hairdryer and use it to dry out the hole and the insulation. (Seriously, WTF.)
  5. Caulk the hole shut. (Nope, nope, nopity-nope.)

“Are we going to do that?” asked the 18-year-old Will, clearly new to the fix-it game.

. . .

In the end sanity prevailed.  We had to use everyone’s towels, but we got all the water mopped up in no time. Then we put out a couple of fans to dry up the dining room and basement carpets.  No power tools, caulk, or duct tape necessary.

Burt came by the next day to check on our work. He bee-lined to the spot were he expected to see a hole, caulk gun in hand. “Huh,” he said, searching the floor, “You didn’t even drill a hole!” He then went into the bathroom where he found that the crack in the toilet was much too big to be caulked shut and would demand a new toilet be purchased.

Burt left us that day, caulk gun unused, a very disappointed man.


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