Thursday, January 11, 2007

the leaky ceiling and the cats

So, I get back to the UK on Thursday the 4th, and I'm horribly jet lagged. I nap an hour or two, unpack a bit, watch a bit of TV, and then try to get to sleep. At about 1:00 in the morning I start to hear a drip, drip from the kitchen.

I've noticed in the past that the kitchen ceiling tends to drip a bit from time to time. But this time it's really bad. After I put a pot under it to catch the water, I try to get back to sleep.

But the dripping is a bit too loud. After about 15 minutes, I get up and dump the water out - the pan has filled. Hmm...this doesn't bode well.

I look up at the ceiling and poke it a bit. Bad idea, now the water is literally streaming from the ceiling.

Have I mentioned that it wasn't raining and my flat is on the ground floor, with another flat upstairs? So it's a bit unusual to see water flooding into the kitchen.

At about 2 a.m., I think of my options and decide to call the landlord. In my mind, this qualifies as an emergency. He's annoyed but he agrees to come over. But first he has me wake up the guy upstairs to see if he (Steve) can see what the issue is.

So I wake Steve, who talks to the landlord, and assures him that there's no flooding upstairs. Steve then dashes upstairs and the dripping mysteriously starts slowing down.

I'm thinking Steve knows what is causing the dripping, but I cannot say for sure since I didn't go upstairs myself.

By the time the landlord shows up, the dripping which had been a stream fifteen minutes earlier, is now petering out. On the whole, something like 2-3 gallons came out of the gap between the wallpaper and whatever else is going on there.

In any case, the net effect of the landlord visit is that he notices the odor and the cat litter all over the place. He doesn't like it.

Yesterday evening I get notice that he wants his flat back in two months. *sigh*
I've never been evicted before.

Anyway, I left a message on his machine and we've pushed his resistance back to the level of I can stay until July, when this job is up, but the cats have to go. At this point I can kind of see his point - the flat was reeking of urine all week. The cat sitter who had been visiting didn't really do a great job keeping the odor down, and since it's the winter, I haven't had the windows open much for ventilation like I did in the summer.

So now I'm faced with the choice of finding a cat-friendly flat for 5 months (I think that would be impossible), convincing the landlord that the cats should be allowed to stay (I'm not optimistic) or finding a home for them from March to July.

Ain't life great!

The most curious thing about all of this is that I finally got a refill for my anti-depressants yesterday, so all I could think as I was going to sleep was "You know, I should feel much worse than I did 24 hours ago, but I feel much better." Chemical control of moods is a very strange thing. (BTW, SSRIs are not euphoric, like anti-depression medication used to be. They just mop up the crappy feelings. And they take a while.)

At some point I'll do a longer post about depression.


Katie said...

Funny, my landlord's name is also Steve, and my ceiling started pouring water one evening just after I'd turned out the lights. It was pretty clearly coming from the shower. I turned off the fuse to the shower and waited a week for the shower to be working again (showers at the gym, thanks). He seemed pretty unbothered by the whole thing, but then, I don't have any cats...

I'd happily take in your kitties, but I'm really allergic, and I live in a single teensy bedroom -- I don't think they (or my landlord) would like it.

Any leads yet?

And otherwise, did you have a good holiday? But for the SAD relief, of course. Have you considered more natural approaches for depression? I tried 5-HTP for a while, but since I'm mostly metaphorically and situationally, rather than clinically, depressed, the cost wasn't quite worth it.

And hey! Can you help me understand anything about getting prescriptions and services on the NHS?

whispers said...

I'll figure something out. The tentative plan is
1) clean the apartment and hope the landlord changes his mind
2) find new place
3) find place for cats
4) take cats back to US

I had a very good holiday. As for the depression, I've tried St. John's Wort and it doesn't do a thing for me.

About NHS: find a GP where you live. That's what I did. I think that's the easiest route.

Landru said...

You are at an all-time low for cat karma, dood. Best check the dumpster behind your favorite Chinese restaurant, I'm thinking.

Antje said...

So, what happens to the cats now? I'm desperately hoping for a happy ending of the drama!

whispers said...

Referring to my earlier comment, I've had a cleaner in last Saturday and she cleaned the flat from top to bottom. At this point it is cleaner than it was when I moved in. I called the estate agent, told him what I'd done, and offered to keep hiring the cleaners through the end of July if that would let me stay in the flat the whole time.

I haven't heard back.

So I'm still at #1 on my 4-point plan.