JERK OF THE WEEK: Week of Hell, Part 3: The Great Flood
I discussed the power outage last week and how I had to update this Web site from Saladworks. Well, the kind people at Saladworks allowed me to stay there an hour after they closed, but everyone eventually had to leave. I was hoping that my power would be back on by the time I got home, but my entire neighborhood was still blacked out.
I called PECO again to see if they could offer an update. I expected the same pre-recorded message that had been playing for hours, but I heard a different voice this time. A black girl had the following update:
"Today's hipstoric winter storm have damage count list tree blimps and electrohcal wire."
I'm not exaggerating with that quote. She said that sentence with those exact errors. I even called back a second time so I could write it down as she was speaking. She said "hipstoric," whatever the hell that means; confused "have" and "has;" replaced "countless" with "count list;" referred to tree limbs as "tree blimps;" and mispronounced "electrical."
You have no idea how infuriating this was. It's one thing for a company to be incompetent enough not to restore power within 12 hours; it's another for them to have a person who can't speak the English language inform customers of what they already know without any specific updates. Is it that difficult to find a literate person within PECO's organization?
Unfortunately, I still had plenty of work to do, so I had to go somewhere. The local hotel was an option, but I wondered if any of the 24-hour diners would have an outlet in one of their booths. There are three diners that stay open all night around my area, so I set off into the frigid night.
The first diner, which is right down the street, had a ridiculously icy parking lot. I nearly slipped and fell a dozen times. I finally made it inside to be greeted by the host, a big, tan man with some sort of Eastern European accent (maybe Greek?) I asked him if he had a table or a booth with an outlet near it. He didn't even bother looking, pointing behind me instead. There was a little stool by the door.
"You can charge your laptop here while you sit and eat."
OK, no. Let's forget the fact that I wanted to actually work while my laptop charged for a second; placing a computer right near the entrance of a restaurant hardly seemed like a good idea. What's to stop someone from nabbing it on their way out? I doubt anyone would be keeping watch, so stealing it would be extremely easy.
I went back to my car and nearly died again in the process. Luckily, I survived, and I ventured off to the next diner, which was about a 10-minute drive away.
I asked the hostess of this establishment whether there was a table with an outlet near it. I expected her to not even search like that Greek a**hole, but she actually looked around and found one table right near an outlet.
I sat down and began working. I had issues keeping the laptop plugged in because the sockets were so loose, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.
I didn't want to be a dick and order nothing, so while I considered the cheese fries, I opted for hot chocolate and fudge brownie, which was described as a huge brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. My hot chocolate was delivered to me first. I inhaled all of the whipped cream and then the marshmallows before working my way to the actual beverage. Unfortunately, the chocolate wasn't hot at all. It was essentially cold chocolate. But hey, beggars can't be choosers.
My fudge brownie wasn't what I anticipated either. It wasn't exactly a "huge" brownie; it was a bunch of tiny brownies that were still topped with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. I wanted a huge brownie, but hey, beggars can't be... actually, forget that. It was delicious, and as a fat man, I'm happy with any sort of tasty food.
Believe it or not, my power wasn't restored for another two days. I spent the entire following day at my parents' house, as their electricity turned back on the previous night. I was happy that things returned to normal when I finally came back home. I had to go to the grocery store to replace some of the spoiled items in my fridge, so I grabbed my car keys and some money and went down to the basement to access my garage.
As I walked down the stairs, I heard a strange dripping noise coming from my main basement area. I turned the corner and my jaw dropped: There was a cascade flowing down one of my walls. It looked like a waterfall. Some of the ceiling paint had completely fallen off, and there was now a huge hole in one of the corners:
The carpet on one side of the room was completely soaked, but the water luckily hadn't reached my pool table. I grabbed a couple of buckets I had in the garage and placed them where the water was dripping down. I then asked my parents if they knew a plumber.
Hours later, a short, chubby Russian man showed up at my door. I led him downstairs, but I was not prepared to hear what came out of his mouth.
Again, I'm not exaggerating. He dropped the f- and s-bombs 20 times in a span of a minute as he pulled the stepladder toward the wall and investigated what was going on. I feared for my house at this point. Was my house about to cave in? Is that why he felt the need to curse that much? Would I have to gather up two of every DVD I had to preserve all of my belongings in my house?
I was lost in thought when Russian Plumber tried to get my attention.
Russian Plumber: Vhere sveetch to make vater no go?
Russian Plumber: Sveetch! Sveetch!
Me: Maybe the boiler room?
I showed him to the boiler room, but he didn't find what he was looking for.
Russian Plumber: I no see sveetch!
Me: What sveetch, I mean switch?
Russian Plumber: Sveetch to no make vater go!
Me: I don't know!
Russian Plumber: Need sveetch! Need turn sveetch to no make vater go! Show me vhere sveetch! Qveeck! Qveeck!
I was about to have a nervous breakdown, but then I remembered that my circuit breaker was in a closet down the hall, so I led him there.
Me: Is this what you're looking for?
Russian Plumber: No iz sveetch for eloocreecity! Need sveetch for no vater! Qveeck! Qveeck!
Me: I... I... I...
Russian Plumber: Whoopa, I find sveetch!
I had no idea there was some sort of vater sveetch/water valve in the corner of my closet. He turned the knob and then went to the sink. He turned it on, yet no water came out. I was amazed. I guess I'd have no need for an ark. Suck it, Noah.
Russian Plumber grabbed some tools from his truck and got to work. And by "work," I mean fidgeting around in the hole I showed you earlier and dropping more f- and s-bombs. Minutes later, he stepped down and had a strange request.
Russian Plumber: I need go Home Depot. Vhere Home Depot?
Me: OK, you make a right out of the development, then at the light you make a left, then...
Russian Plumber: No, no, no. You drive me Home Depot.
Me: Oh... I guess I can.
Russian Plumber: I have big truck go boom, boom, boom, boom, finito. You drive me OK.
Me: All right.
Russian Plumber: Vait, you no drinking?
Me: No, I'm sober.
Russian Plumber: Finito! Vee go Home Depot.
Granted, I don't have much experience with plumbers, but I've never heard of any requesting to be driven to Home Depot. And what is this "boom, boom, boom, boom, finito" about? If his truck was in that bad of a condition, why did he risk driving to my house?
The drive over to Home Depot was quite entertaining. I did not expect to have this type of conversation with my plumber:
Russian Plumber: Vhat type alcohol you like drinking?
Me: Umm... whiskey, vodka, gin, beer.
Russian Plumber: You no have absinthe?
Me: Absinthe? I've heard of it, but I have never tried it.
Russian Plumber: Oho, absinthe iz good! You must drinking absinthe!
Russian Plumber: Mazzer-f***ing s**t iz good! You drinking a little beet and you go boom, boom, boom, boom, finito!
Me: Well, I don't want to pass out when I drink. I just drink with friends.
Russian Plumber: I understand. I drinking vis friends before too. I alvays make party. But now I no drinking vis friends.
Me: What happened?
Russian Plumber: My vife, f***ing b***h no let me drink vis friends! Drinking finito.
Me: Oh wow.
Russian Plumber: She f***ing b***h say I no must drinking. So I stop drinking, f***ing b***h. I no drinking for long time! Finito!
Me: Really, how long?
Russian Plumber: Two veek I no drinking!
Me: Oh... congratulations!
This guy had been sober for a grand total of two weeks, which apparently constituted as a "long time." Well, regardless, I was thrilled that he wasn't intoxicated on the job. Or, is that why he didn't want to drive...?
I pulled into a parking spot, but right as I stopped the car, Russian Plumber tapped me on the shoulder.
"No parking zis f***ing s*** spot. Parking zat spot," he said, pointing to a spot in the next lane over. It was just as far from the entrance, so I have no idea why he preferred that spot over the one I was currently parked in, but whatever. I wasn't going to argue with a man who was fixing my pipes.
It took a while to find what we needed - Russian Plumber continued to curse as he was browsing the shelves, and he even spooked some old guy standing behind us - but we eventually were back on our way to my house.
Now that Russian Plumber had everything he needed, I expected things go smoothly. Unfortunately, that was not the case. He grabbed one of the bolts he purchased and tried to screw it into the pipe (at least that's what I think he was trying to do.) It didn't fit, however.
"Mazzer-f***er piece of s**t no fit into mazzer-f***er s*** pipe. S**t pipe is mazzer-f***er whoever made zis pipe is f***ing mazzer-f***ing a**hole s*** a**hole mazzer-f***er."
About 15 minutes later, he finally noticed what the problem was. The bolt that he purchased was missing something on the inside that the other one had.
"F***ing Home Depot piece of s*** mazzer-f***ers, alvays sell bad sings, mazzer-f***ers piece of s*** a**hole f***ks. Maybe zis old guy make bad sing, mazzer-f***ker piece of s***."
What old guy? The one he spooked in the store? Yeah, I'm sure he happened to be a conniving douche who meddled with the products at Home Depot just to piss people off.
Russian Plumber: Zis von broke. Finito. You take to Home Depot, get $10.
Me: OK I'll do that.
Russian Plumber: You buy little bottle alcohol vis zis $10.
Me: Oh... OK?
Russian Plumber: You drink zis because I no can drink, mazzer-f***ing vife piece of s***.
I found it outrageous how mad he was at his wife just because she made him stop drinking. He installed the other bolt and said that he had to wait for it to dry. He took this opportunity to tell me about his wife. After hearing his story, I'm now convinced that she is a "mazzer-f***ing piece of s***."
Russian Plumber: Who live zis house? Just you or you have vife?
Me: Just me.
Russian Plumber: Oho, I have vife. Vee marry 15 year!
Me: That's cool.
Russian Plumber: Cool? Ha! She make me sign paper for divorce yesterday!
Me: Wow, that sucks, sorry.
Russian Plumber: Zis mazzer-f***er vant everysing! She vant house. I build zis house! She vant car! I buy zis car! She vant my truck! I vork vis truck! She vant money! I say, I give you $50,000, finito. No! She vant everysing! She say house vors $180,000. She say, you taking house, you need give me $180,000. She no understand house have mortgage! How much house have mortgage?
Me: Your house or my house?
Russian Plumber: House have $130,000 mortgage. So you only have $50,000. She vant me to take house, I give $50,000. Iz even. But vooman no understand mortgage. F***ing b***h vant $180,000 for house. I no have zis money! If vooman have brains understand mortgage, vee split boom, boom, boom, boom, finito.
Me: Wow. Why'd you get divorced?
Russian Plumber: Zis American vooman! If zis Russia, if she vant divorce, I give her money, she go, finito. But she now American vooman, she read she get my money for divorce, so she get divorce because she vant money!
So, this supposed gold-digger married a plumber? If so, worst. Gold-digger. Ever.
Russian Plumber then gave me some advice on really getting to know someone before marrying them. He then delved into drinking in front of a woman.
Russian Plumber: I giving you advice. If you vis vooman, no drinking vis vooman. Only drinking vis man.
Russian Plumber: Vhy? Ha! You drinking. Zen vooman call police. Police coming. Vooman tell police "zis man hitting me." Police smell you drinking alcohol, boom, boom, boom, boom, finito. You go jail. My vife do zis.
Me: Wow, really?
Russian Plumber: All vooman do zis! Never drinking vis vooman! All she need to do call police. If you drinking, you go jail. Finito.
Me: That's crazy!
Russian Plumber: Of course crazy. Vooman crazy! Now you know vhy I stop drink!
I don't know what to think. On one hand, his wife sounds bat-s*** crazy to do something like that. On the other hand, this guy could have been so drunk that he was domestically abused his wife without knowing it. Perhaps they were both a**holes.
Regardless of this guy's domestic life, he was a damn good plumber. Once everything dried, he turned the water back on, and the pipe was no longer leaking. He then gave me advice on how to get my ceiling fixed.
Russian Plumber: I have friend, Printer. He nice, Printer. Good, Printer. Vhen ceiling dry, you call me, I give you number Printer. Finito.
Me: OK I got it. What's his name? Printer?
Russian Plumber: Who name Printer?
Me: Your friend, I think you said his name was Printer.
Russian Plumber: I no tell you Printer name.
Me: I am so confused right now.
Russian Plumber: You sure you no drinking?
It took me a while to figure out what was going on, but Russian Plumber meant that he has a friend who's a painter. He's a nice painter. A good painter. And his name apparently isn't Printer.
I paid Russian Plumber $100 for his service. He then left. I still had to vacuum my soaked rug, but after the week I had been through, I didn't want to do anything. I just felt like cracking open a bottle of absinthe, chugging half of it and then going boom, boom, boom, boom, finito.