Thursday, July 26, 2012

Adventures in Plumbing: Part II

The Background: Aunt's water heater died. Messily.

Act 1: The Plumber Won't Fix the Floor
Sparkle: "So, I think we should get a few estimates 'cause you didn't like that last plumber. Can you hang in there for that?"
Aunt: "Oh, sure. But, a plumber won't fix the floor, right?"
Sparkle: "No, I don't think many plumbers also fix the floor. We'll figure that out. Just get 'em to come by, I'll pay you back for the estimates, and let's find out what their prices are so we can compare them. Maybe they have someone they can recommend for the floor, but my friend says all we might have to do is put some plywood under there."
Aunt: "Oh, sure."

Later
Aunt: "Well, I called that plumber you gave me the number for. He said he won't fix the floor!"
Sparkle: "No, I don't think many plumbers will. How much will he charge for the water heater?"
Aunt: "I didn't ask him. He won't fix the floor!"
Sparkle: "No, most plumbers won't fix the floor."
Aunt: "He said that he won't fix the floor!"
Sparkle: "No, not the floor. You're worried about the floor, I know."
Aunt: "Yes! He won't fix the..."
Sparkle: "The floor."
Aunt: "The floor."
Sparkle: "The floor."
Aunt: "Floor."
Sparkle: "Floor. Not gonna fix it."
Aunt: "Right."
Note: I am NOT making fun of my aunt. She's a very smart cookie. This is just a situation that few of us cope well with--myself included--and the floor was a big mess.

Act 2: The Plumberman
Sparkle: "GREAT! So, the Plumberman guy came by and gave you the estimate?"
Aunt: "He's here right now."
Sparkle: "Oh! Okay. So what does Plumberman have to say for himself?"
Aunt: "He'll charge XX for this, XX for that, XX for the other, XX for YY, $200 for this, and he'll fix the floor for $105.57, but we'll have to buy the plywood."
Sparkle: "The floor."
Aunt: "Right, the floor."
Sparkle: "Will he put a drip pan in?"
Aunt (asks Pman, comes back): "He will put a drip pan in for $350 extra."
Sparkle: "Okaaay. So far he's charging us too much for some things, I'm surprised he didn't mention the drip pan right away and I think that's too high, and, $105.57 does not seem right."
Aunt (to Pman): "It will really cost $105.57 for the floor and $350 for the drip pan? Oh, it will?"
Sparkle: "Thank him for his time and say you'll be back in touch."
Aunt (to Pman): "Well, I guess I'll be back in touch with you--Oh."
Sparkle: "What?"
Aunt: "He's saying if I sign the contract, he could do it right now, but we'd have to give him a downpayment right now. And he might not have any other time this week or next week."
Sparkle: "Thank him for his time and send him on his way."
Aunt (to Pman): "What's that? Oh. "
Sparkle: "What?"
Aunt: "He's saying he'll throw in the floor and the drip pan for free, but some other costs might come up along the way."
Sparkle: "All of a sudden, the drip pan and the floor are free but some other costs might come up along they way? And the drip pan and the floor cost $455.57 two seconds ago?"
Aunt (in dry, skeptical tone): "Mm-hmm."
Sparkle: "Get that guy OUT of there."
Aunt: "Mm-hmm."

Act 3: The Plumberman Clan
Aunt: "You'll never guess who I just heard from!"
Sparkle: "Wow, who?"
Aunt: "Well, I'm not positive. When I first answered the phone, he said he was the Plumberman's father. But when I asked him who he was again, he said he was 'like a father' to the Plumberman."
Sparkle: "WHAT? What did he want?"
Aunt: "Well, he said the Plumberman told him about the work I need to have done and he said he'd do it for $500 less, including the floor and the drip pan."
Sparkle: "What?"
Aunt: "He talked almost as fast as the Plumberman, so they really might be related."
Sparkle: "Who does he work for?"
Aunt: "I'm not sure. He said 'Clear Answers to Water something something' the first time and 'Waterclear Answers something something' the second time. I wrote it down."
Sparkle: "This smells like bad fish."
Aunt: "Yes, doesn't it? He said he'd fix the floor for free."
Sparkle: "I don't have a good feeling about this one."
Aunt: "No. Me, too. I told him I'd give him a call back after the other guy comes. I don't think I will."
Sparkle: "No. I wouldn't."
Aunt: "I guess he said he'd fix the floor, 'though."
Sparkle: "Yep."

To sum up: There's a lot of gators in the plumbing business--as if you didn't know that already--and she now has hot water again. And the floor? It didn't need to be fixed.