April 6, 2004

Tales of Home Repair

Sweety recently described a household problem, the details of which are probably familiar to most of us. You know those situations - something breaks, you call someone to fix it and when they show up, it works perfectly. Case in point...the stove from hell...

After college, my wife and I moved from our college town an hour south of DC back into the Northern Virginia DC suburbs. We found a nice little apartment in a decent neighborhood for, in retrospect, very little money. Not everything was quite right with the apartment though...

One night I went to cook dinner. I was making pasta so I tried to boil water. No such luck. The burners on the stove got hot but not hot enough to actually bring the water to a boil. So I called Wade The Maintenace Guy.

Me: Yeah, I cant get water to boil.
Wade: You sure you know what you're doing.
Me: Its water dude. I can boil water.
Wade: Just asking.

Wade turned on the stove, felt the burner getting hot and glared back at me.

Wade: Its hot. I don't know what you're doing wrong. Should work.
Me: But it doesnt.
Wade: Well, it will now. Just boil your water and call me if it doesn't work.
Me: Uh, thanks.

About a half an hour later I gave the whole boiling water thing another try. And failed miserably. I called Wade who said he'd be there the next day. Chinese takeout that night.

Wade: So, you can't boil water?
Me: I can. The stove can't.
Wade: Uh-huh. Look, its getting hot. Get me a pan and I'll show you.
Me: You think I didn't try this?
Wade: Just get me a pan.

In life, you pick your battles. I gave Wade a pot of water and let him go to town. He couldn't get the water to boil.

Wade: Huh.
Me: This is what I've been saying for days now.
Wade: Okay. We'll get a new stove in here. I'll be right back.

Sure enough, within five minutes, Wade brought in a brand new stove, hooked it up for me and left. If course, I tried the boiling water test again just to make sure. The result? Hot water, no boil. I called Wade. He said he'd be there the following day. Chinese takeout again.

Wade: So, you still can't boil water? What the hell are you doing wrong?
Me: Me?
Wade: Yeah, you. We gave you a new stove.
Me: Ever think that maybe its not the stove?
Wade: What else could it be?
Me: You're the maintenace person. Not me.
Wade: I'll be right back. Dumb-ass mother fucker.
Me: Excuse me?
Wade: I said I'll be right back.

Yes, Wade was getting a little testy and so was I. Especially after being called a dumb-ass mother fucker. But he returned, tool belt in hand, mood improved after a few minutes. He slid the stove out and checked the wiring.

Wade: Well, here it is! Its wired wrong. That's why you're getting some heat but not enough to boil water.
Me: So it wasn't my poor cooking skills after all, huh?
Wade: Nope. Sorry for all the trouble. You should be good to go now.
Me: No problem. Thanks.

That night? I was going to boil water and revel in its boily goodness. After a steady diet of Chinese takeout, I was going to boil water and cook some homemade pasta for dinner. Sure enough, the water boiled and my wife and I started cooking.

Everything was going pretty well until I leaned against the stove itself. And found myself in the dining room several feet outside the kitchen. On my ass. You see, while Wade had fixed one problem, he'd created another. He'd unhooked the ground wire. I received a jolt of electricity that literally sent me flying. I felt it for days.

The next day I called the building management and discussed my issues with Wade. I'd been willing to overlook the dumb-ass mother fucker comment until he electrocuted me. I also informed them that they were lucky I was a nice guy and wasn't planning to sue. Wade dissappeared a few days later and they brought me a plant.

Dumb-ass mother fuckers.

Posted by Chris at April 6, 2004 9:25 AM

Uhm, I have to apologize. That made me laugh. Especially your last comment....dumb-ass mother fuckers *snorts* =)

Posted by: Lauren at April 6, 2004 9:57 AM

Christ, I think Wade the Maintenance Guy was at my house this winter. He charged me over $100 to jab a broom handle in my dryer vent and remove a bird's nest.

The birds are back now, but they have eggs and I can't jab a broom handle at baby birds. So I'm air-drying my clothes until the baby birds get off their dumb-ass motherfucking butts and learn to fly.

Posted by: amalah at April 6, 2004 10:22 AM

a plant for an electrocution? you got short-changed.

Posted by: liz at April 6, 2004 10:43 AM

That is too funny! I don't have an electrocuted by wires story. The best I have is my apt. has seventies orange counters that the landlord painted white, only that was several years ago. So now, the paint is coming off, any time you clean the counters! My roommate spilt water on a piece of paper and didn't notice, when I did notice, some time later, I went to lift the paper off, and now we have an orange oval in the middle of our counter.

Posted by: Oliquig at April 6, 2004 10:48 AM

My maintenance guy -- I call him Skeezy Maintenance Guy -- is scary. One day, I came home from work and he was *in my apartment*. He's really grungy and wears a bandana on his head all the time. His clothes are always covered in paint, even though no part of this building has been painted in about thirty years. Most of the time, he rides around in a bright yellow pickup truck with about thirty broken lawnmowers in the back. It's creepy.

Posted by: leah at April 6, 2004 11:01 AM

'In life, you pick your battles'

'I'd been willing to overlook the dumb-ass mother fucker comment until he electrocuted me.'

Gawd, this story is hilarious. I put those two lines up there so you can put em in your memorable comments thing. They cracked me up so well. Thanks for the lotd.

Posted by: wlfldy at April 6, 2004 12:11 PM

don't you just love living in apartment complexes? I came home one day to find out they'd fixed my heater/AC. Um...I never called and it wasn't broken. I'm curious as to what exactly they 'fixed.'

Posted by: laura at April 6, 2004 12:51 PM

Wade: I'll be right back. Dumb-ass mother fucker.
Me: Excuse me?
Wade: I said I'll be right back.

Damn you for making me laugh out loud at work - if I get fired, I'm coming after you. ;)

Posted by: pie at April 6, 2004 2:23 PM


I so needed this, after the past couple of days..

Posted by: T at April 6, 2004 3:09 PM

Oh my god! How rude is that "Dumb-ass mother fucker." :))

Thanks for the laugh ;)

Posted by: Sweety at April 6, 2004 3:11 PM

At least the stove was plugged-in when Wade went to look at it. I almost called maintenance about that a month or so ago, until we pulled it out and discovered it had somehow become unplugged from the wall. Then you would've had a real reason to feel dumb. :)

Posted by: Zandria at April 6, 2004 7:40 PM

First Amalah with her cute coffee set, and now you with your bedroom furniture. I am spending a lot of time being jealous this week (grin). One of these days we'll replace the black laquer gold trip bedroom furnitre we have. ONE of these days - AFTER we buy a house. But hey, arent the 80s back? Is my furniture cool now?

Posted by: Zoot at April 7, 2004 7:53 AM

Why wasn't he fired?! You are a better person than I, the name calling alone would have set me off. If Wade the Maintenance Guy called me that, I would have treated him like a small child, grab him by the ear, marched his happy ass to his boss and make him repeat what he just called me to his boss. It's not our problem that they picked jobs like that. If you don't like working with people, why get into customer service? Dumb-ass mutha fucking maintenance guy, go to college, get a job you like and get back with me.

Posted by: myllissa at April 7, 2004 8:50 AM