Bootleg Plumbing

So the Poo Poo Palace has a bit of a plumbing issue. My rental unit (a.k.a. Den of the Chef) has a bathroom. (This, apparently, is law. I guess you can’t rent someone a cement cell with nothing more than a chamber pot. I, as a newly minted slum lord, am in to oppressing tenants.) At any rate, the bathroom had a nasty old vanity in it. Joe and I were ripping it out when we discovered the walls behind it were a bit soft… like t-shirt material soft. We explore a bit. To our horror, we discover that the numbskulls who installed the vanity drove a nail into the drain, thus cracking the drain and causing an undiscovered leak… a very damaging one.

Enter Kenny the Plumber. I am at the new place one day. I am upstairs writing some pl/sql in German (more on that later.) One of the, in all likelihood illegal, immigrants who were painting my house comes running upstairs quite excited:

Painter: “Meester Glazer, there is a man.”

What a truly deep thought. So I follow him downstairs to discover a guy that looks like a character actor whose name I forgot. Short white dude. Tattoos. Earrings.

Plumber: “I’m the plumber.”

Did I mention the Lenox Lewis look-a-like assistant who didn’t say a word? That would be, I later learn, Joey. Joey was far more eloquent that Kenny.

Ian: “The plumber?”

Plumber: “Yeah.”

Needless to say, I was expecting someone in a dirty coverall, a la, the plumbers in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. We eventually establish that, yes, these two guys were in fact the plumbers I called.

So Kenny and Joey take a look at the drain. The damage is worse than expected. The crack runs under the concrete.

Kenny: “You’ve got three options: bootleg plumbing, trying to seal this one, or dig up the floor.”

Ian: “Bootleg plumbing.”

Kenny: “Yeah. You know… bootleg plumbing.”

Bootleg plumbing, I learned, is essentially illegal plumbing. Things that don’t meet code. Things that may have severe sewage laden repercussions. I have also learned there is the analogous cowboy carpentry. All of this gave me images of Robert DeNiro in the aforementioned Brazil… the Renegade Plumber.

Forward ahead a few days… picture Ian, Joe, Fitz, Todd, Big John, Sarah, and Dianne all at one point or another looking in the bathroom, attempting to fix it. Notes from the repair job:

  1. Be careful of reciprocating saws. They will find a way to eat threw the 2 X 4 and smash into the concrete wall and then bounce back at your leg.
  2. Hold tightly to things you are cutting.
  3. Measure 4 times. Cut three. Remeasure. Cut again.
  4. Do not, under any circumstance, expect useful help at the DC Home Depot.

In other news, I have been doing a bit of work for a coworker on a project in Berlin. For those of you who write code, I offer you a challenge. (This is open to all except Sergio, who probably has already done this and could definitely do it better than I did.) Take you favorite program that you have written. Now, translate the code into something that a programmer in Germany would understand. Writing PL/SQL auf Duetsche ist sehr confusing und quite a pain the arse.