The things one takes for granted

Today is one of the rare days when I’m actually happy to be on campus. No, it’s not because I’ve discovered some newfound love for school. But there are things worse than graduate history seminars…

Namely, poop. Yesterday morning our shower, bathtub, and toilet had an attack of disgusting sewage sludge, which clogged the pipes and created a backlog of foul-smelling muck in both shower and tub. The toilet, fortunately, did not regurgitate, but it displayed very little water and flushed only slowly, rendering us wary of using it. After many many failed attempts to reach apartment manager at home, manager on cell phone, manager’s supervisor at the rental company, or even the rental company’s emergency hotline, we finally got in touch with the manager who promised to call a plumber immediately.

The promised plumber finally arrived at 5 pm and did something to get sludge on the previously clean floor of the bathroom. Then, when we were unable to locate manager, whom we had hoped could locate owners of two cars which were in the way of something the plumber needed to access, the plumber left. The next-door neighbor knocked on our door and wanted to know if our plumbing was backed up: “My sink is! Does your place stink? Mine does!” We assured him ours stank too.

Some agonizing minutes later the manager called and assured us the plumber would return tonight. He did and fixed everything. So he said. We drove out to Daikokuya to drown our sorrows in ramen and rice bowls (I highly recommend this). We returned, lit heavily perfumed candles, and let them burn for a while before going to bed.

This morning: more sludge. The candles called into action again. Erik and I went upstairs and showered at Jason’s place. Then we pondered whether to call the manager again. We ran the bath and shower for about ten minutes and everything cleared up, so all seems well for now.

Now I am on campus and delighted to be where it doesn’t smell like poop. I left poor valiant Erik scrubbing the bathroom floor (knowing that tub- and shower- cleaning still awaits to tantalize him). Send him your sympathy!

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]