Getting To Know The Maintance Man

7 Feb

I’ve been in my new place for five weeks now.  When I moved in, I thought a lot about the friends and family members that I would have over.  The game nights, the dinners, the mural-painting sessions- it was all going to be such fun.

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Note- kitchen shown has been enlarged to represent a real kitchen, rather than the closet attempting to pass for a kitchen in my apartment.

I didn’t plan on my most frequent visitor being maintenance.

(I have no picture for this.  

Also, protip: don’t Google “maintenance man”

unless you’re sure SafeSearch is on.)

We’ve seen each other six times now, for six separate issues.  Some of these visits have been informative, some have been entertaining, and some have been downright creepy. Part of this comes from living in a 134-year-old former cotton mill, and part of this comes from having a maintenance team with a twisted sense of humor.  In any case, I offer the three best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) maintenance stories from the past five weeks.

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Request 1: washer/dryer move and install

This request started out fairly normally.  I had purchased a washer/dryer combination and needed it moved upstairs to my apartment and installed.  Maintenance came with a dolly and two men, and got the unit into its new closet home with only the minimal amount of loud noises.  Everything seemed fine until one maintenance man remarked, “isn’t this the unit that had the dead bird in the dryer vent?”  Before I could get my head wrapped around that, the other guy said, “No, that was over in A building, and it wasn’t a bird, it was a baby bat.”  I guess he saw my face, because he told me, “Don’t worry- we resealed all the dryer vent openings after the cleaning last week.  You don’t have to worry about finding a bat in among your socks.”

The takeaway from this story: This is why there is a net hanging on the wall next to my dryer.

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Request 2: find the leak that is letting the neighbor’s cigarette smoke into my apartment.

My apartment started smelling strongly of cigarette smoke about two weeks after I moved in.  When it started being noticeable on my clothes, it was time to take action.  I assumed the problem was from the air vent system, and so I invited maintenance over to take a look-see.  They showed up with a ladder, and discovered that while the air vents were just fine, there were several holes along the shared wall that were likely the source of the invading smoke.

This process to fix these cracks took two days, as the wall in question is 40 feet long by 20 feet tall.  At the end of it, two thumb-sized holes going clear through the wall, along with several other cracks, had been plugged.  I was thrilled.  I was looking forward to living in a smoke-free environment.  Nothing could bring me down.  Then the maintenance man headed out the door with the words, “You’re all sealed in.  Enjoy,” and the sort of unnerving laugh that made me want to both bolt the door, and move as soon as possible.

The takeaway from this story: No more smoke comes through the wall, but I am now concerned about cybermen, daleks, or any other enemy of the Doctor.

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Request 3: while you’re here picking up an ozone machine, can you look at this thing on the wall?

Following the great wall sealing project, there was still some lingering smoke in my apartment.  Maintenance dropped off an ozone machine, which promised to filter all the air in the unit.  Long story short, the machine worked its magic, and the apartment is officially smoke-free.

Maintenance came by today to pick up the machine, and I took the opportunity to ask about an odd growth on the wall in my bedroom.  It looked suspiciously like a wasp’s nest, and I wanted it gone ASAP.  The following conversation ensued:

Maintenance guy: Oh, that’s nothing to worry about.  It’s just a mud dauber thing.

Me: Mud dauber? As in the wasp species? As in there is a wasp nest made of mud on my bedroom wall?

Maintenance guy: Are mud daubers wasps?

Me: Yes.

Maintenance guy: Then yes.  But it’s empty now.

Me: All the more reason for it to be removed.  I’m not interested in subletting my bedroom wall to a family of insects.

Maintenance guy: Ok, I’ll go get a ladder.

Me: Please do.

In the end, the poor guy had to use a paint scraper to get the nest off the brickwork of my bedroom wall.  He looked at the nest and reassured me that it was empty.  He didn’t answer my question about how the wasps got into the bedroom to build the nest in the first place, however.

The takeaway from this story: That maintenance man should expect a request soon to reseal the edges of my bedroom windows.  Also, the net from the laundry room is now hanging by my bed.

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So, who wants to come visit me?

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