Aardy R. DeVarque (aardy) wrote,
Aardy R. DeVarque
aardy

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Ahhhh, fresh water at last!

Yesterday ended an eight year drought at work.

Literally.

We moved into our "new" (actually reconstructed, about 75-80% new) building eight years ago. One of the things we'd asked for from the architects was a sink in our department. (Because cleaning book glue off of brushes and Goo Gone off of everything is messy, and having to go down the hall and into the public area to wash up and then up to the other side of the top level to refill a water bottle is annoying at best. (And did I mention that, since it's a library, the relative humidity is about the same as that of the Sahara Desert?)

We got our sink, but it could only provide hotHotHOT water. Hot enough to scald right out of the tap. On good days, the cold water handle resulted in a tepid trickle, and what came out didn't exactly strike anyone as potable. So it went on the punch list.

And there it stayed. We managed to get new lights for the department out of them (which was a painful saga in and of itself). The dampers in the air vents in our room eventually got fixed so they could open up. The air vents in our room eventually stopped spewing visible clouds of dust whenever the system kicked in. The heater along our north-facing window eventually got turned on. The roof leak caused by a new "parallel and touching" wall being built touching the preexisting wall at one end of the building but 16" apart at the other got patched. The blue pebbles that were coming out of every faucet in the building and regularly clogging the faucet filters (they were the same color as the blue rocks you find in the bottom of a fish tank) worked their way through the system over the next year and finally stopped causing problems, but still no cold water for us. (Not ours.) After a few years, the library and the contractor ended up in court with a breach-of-contract lawsuit vs. a failure-to-pay lawsuit, so there was no chance of anything getting done while that worked its way through the system.

Once that was cleared up, any remaining problems were the library's responsibility. The maintenance supervisor examined our sink and said that the problem was behind a brick wall, and the contractor had forgotten to leave an access panel on the back side of the wall for that pipe. Therefore it couldn't be fixed without knocking a sizeable hole in the wall, and he always had something else more important to do elsewhere rather than breaking a hole in our brick wall. (Which is one of the original solid walls from our initial 1960s building, not one of the tissue-thin ones from the 1980s addition or the 1997-98 rebuild in question.)

Fast forward. The maintenance supervisor retired last year, and his replacement decided to make an effort right off the bat to get on everyone's good side by asking every department for what he could do, within the confines of his job, to make their lives better. (For example, he got his new assistant to dust all of the lights in the building, apparently for the first time ever. The end result: Light! And an overwhelming wall of palpable, lemony-pine-scented air wherever the guy was working.) Since our lack of cold water has been a festering thorn in our department's paw for years, we made sure that made it onto his list.

Yesterday he shows up in our department with a plumber in tow. He shows the plumber our sink, how the water line runs through the brick wall, and how there's no reasonable access to the back side of that wall. The plumber fiddled with it a bit, and broke out a counter-sized rooting unit. Fifteen minutes of grinding & screeching noises later, and he'd routed out the stony grit and solder that had almost completely blocked the pipe. (The plumber made some comment I couldn't quite hear about the idiots who soldered the pipes in the first place.) They tried the water, and it not only gushed out like it should, it was quite cold indeed!

Needless to say, we were ecstatic. (When it comes to having to walk up two flights of stairs and over to the other side of the building in order to get drinkable water, yes, we're easily amused.) Everyone in the department, myself included, was compelled to walk over during the course of the afternoon and try the cold water just to make sure that it wasn't a dream, then try the hot water just to make sure that that hadn't been broken in the process. (Especially since, when the maintenance supervisor initially tried it, he joked rather loudly that exactly that had happened.)

Of course, now we're all a little ticked that this could've been fixed so easily eight long years ago, but we're so happy just to finally have hot & cold running water that that part almost doesn't matter.



Feudalism: Serf & Turf
Tags: water, work
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