I Hate Being the Janitor

I Hate Being the Janitor

I present a new instalment in my Janitor from in Hell Series, which starts with my installation in the concierge function, continues with an epic flood, and I wish I could say it ends here, but the tragic story goes on.

I don’t hate being the janitor. I fucking hate being the janitor. I’m exceptionally unsuited for the execution of this post. I know next to nothing about maintenance, I’m not passionate about the vision of making the tenement a better place and, most of all, I panic in emergencies.

The other day my janitorship struck back at 10:30 PM, while I was sitting at my office-slash-kitchen table, watching people pretending to be surgeons dissecting a tumour on Grey’s Anatomy, and munching Oreos. On which the power went off. My mother would observe that it was surely a divine strike punishing me for eating Oreos for dinner. On which I’d retort that I’m Buddhist and fully confident that the universe doesn’t give a shit about my eating habits.

I finished my Oreos while the buffered video was still running on the laptop and then went to explore. I didn’t get farther than the corridor when I realised that the power was off, hear, hear, and since there is no god in this godless building, there was no light. The flashlight function on my phone didn’t turn out to be exactly powerful, but I managed to stalk my way in the street and confirm the worst.

IMG_20180318_171001-01.jpeg
And there was (no) light

No, there was no zombie apocalypse, that wouldn’t have been so bad since I’m already half-dead and why not take it to the next level, right? The worst thing was that the outage was in my building only. Which is where the janitorial hero comes in and saves the light and WiFi. I’m kidding, of course. This was when I picked the phone and called the landlord to ask where the fuck were fuse boxes in this forsaken building.

The operation was much more complex than it sounds. Apparently, you can either be conducting a call or flashing the flashlight on the phone, not both simultaneously. Don’t tell me that I should’ve grabbed a regular flashlight. I couldn’t find it because there was no light, see? If you don’t see, nevermind, neither did I. So I grabbed a lighter and kept the flame on while operating on the fuse box, which I probably deemed a good idea. It’s not like it’s the main gas shutoff valve. Is it?

Neither the landlord’s instructions nor my description of the situation proved particularly productive. I spent an hour haunting the building and hunting fuse boxes, while burning my fingers on the lighter and exchanging profanities with the landlord. Then I decided that I.WASN’T.FUCKING.DOING.IT, gave up and returned to my flat to die of exposure, since the heating doesn’t work when there’s no power. Before settling down to die, it occurred to me that I had a candle, which I duly lit, because I needed to pee and didn’t want to miss the bowl. Yes, I know I’m a girl, but it was dark enough to miss the bathroom entirely.

I retired in the bed, wearing all I have. I googled generators, in case I survive, because the next time this happens, I want to be able to boil some bloody water at least. Then I decided I’d go the medieval way and prepared to start burning books. Then I fell asleep and dreamt of an electrician alighting from a white unicorn with a rainbow horn, chanting Let there be light and resurrecting me and the electricity alike.

In the morning, the summoned electrician arrived in a yellowish van, presumably originally white, which was in the final phase of entropy. He asked what happened. Dunno, I chattered my teeth. Life, I guess. The torch-bearer worked his magic on one of the switches, which was in the off position, though I swear it was in the on position when I left it. Okay, I don’t swear, I don’t know what I was doing. On which the power went on.

The Joys of Being the Janitor

The Joys of Being the Janitor

I’ve complained earlier of having been unanimously by one out of one vote appointed the concierge. I’m still hating it, faithful to my principle of hating everything and everyone.

A more appropriate word for concierge is the janitor, which is an all-in-one function, rolling into a single person an administrator, an electrician, a plumber and a cleaner, among other things. No qualifications are required because other people don’t know what they’re doing either anyway.

On a Friday morning, I woke up to the sound of water gurgling more angrily than usual in the radiators. That means one thing. I gotta go down to the boiler room and pressurise the boiler. I duly did. The water stopped splashing and I was pleased with myself, thinking how nicely I fixed it.

An hour later I noticed the radiators stopped heating altogether. Also, there was no hot water. Oops. So back to the cellar I descend to examine. The meter shows the whopping pressure of zero. Hmm. I move a few handles tentatively, waiting for something to magically happen. After another hour I break and call the actual plumber.

He’s pretty displeased because it’s Friday and people don’t expect to work on a Friday, unless they’re freelancers, like me, who work 24/7 and rest only when they’re interned in the psych ward with acute overwork. The plumber came and scolded me for clearly not knowing how to pressurise the boiler properly. Dear plumber, I’m a fucking doctor of literature, of course I don’t know how to treat a boiler, but I did exactly what you showed me to do to it, okay?

IMG_20180101_192653-01
An irrelevant image enhancing the horror mood of the post

The plumber started repressurising. It was taking forever and the pressure refused to climb. I guess it was feeling lazy. See above for nobody works on a Friday. The plumber says, That’s weird, it’s like the water is disappearing. I scream internally. I don’t believe in magic disappearances. I say, What do you mean, disappearing, like leaking? The plumber confirms. I’m trying to wrap my mind around it as the plumber sends me out to check all the flats  in the building for radiator leaks.

I don’t get too far. There’s the sound of a waterfall in the cellar next to the boiler room. Properly freaked out, I throw the door open and step in a pool of water as I’m reaching for the light switch. There’s a hole in the ceiling and a thick stream is pouring down from it. I scream literally. The plumber rushes to see if I saw a ghost or what and whistles appreciatively, as he observes the make-shift waterfall. The building has just upgraded to a swimming pool.

What’s above here, the plumber gestures up, clearly delighted to have a little excitement to spice up his dull shift. That would be my flat, I say. Alright, let’s see your flat then, the plumber suggests. My flat is all clear, which is good news, the plumber offers, as he notices my white face. There’s no fucking good news when there’s a fucking hole in the fucking cellar ceiling!! It’s like comforting a dying guy with telling him that at least, when he’s dead, he won’t have to pay health insurance.

What’s next to you, the plumber inquires. An empty bar, I say. We pay a visit there and the plumber is insensitively cheerful to see it flooded. Here you go, he shouts enthusiastically, that’s your leak! I remain quiet and catatonic. The plumber sends me back to my flat to take a Lexaurin and sets off to fetch his mates, so they could have some fun too.

The leak turned out to have been caused by an exploded radiator, which some dumbass didn’t shut down properly and which burst with excitement when the outside temperature dropped too low. I was relieved that I didn’t break the boiler but spent the rest of the day trying to sweep the water from the flooded areas. It was like, uh, sweeping water. Being a janitor is a great job. Not.

I’m an Asshole (and a Fire Hazard)

I’m an Asshole (and a Fire Hazard)

Currently in depths of depression slash anxiety, earlier today I was considering slashing my wrists but as per usual, I reconsidered because I don’t have my hair and nails freshly done and we must consider the feelings of those who find my body. Sorry for this killer intro, but it’s important to establish that I’m even more unbalanced than my normal unbalanced in order to gain insight into my following actions, which, I promise, are quite amusing (unless you’re the one taking the actions, of course, but that only makes it the funnier for you).

Working wasn’t working out for me today, so I resorted to the consolation of my disconsolate blog and checked out my notifications. (On a side note, if you’re anything like me [I hope for your own sake you’re not] and love tinkering around with new nifty features, go ahead and take the new post notification option in the Reader for a test ride.) So here I am, reading the comments on my blog and finding a note from Ellen, who expressed a mild interest in my curious capability of pulling a poem out of three random words. On this note I noted that the next thing I know, I’ll be pulling a poem out of my ass.

I thought to act on this dubious promise (threat?) and to gather inspiration, I went to check out my ass in the mirror. Kidding. I went to empty my ashtray, which is what I call a jar with a lid sitting at my balcony, which I religiously fill up with butts (not butts as in asses but butts as in, you know, butts). I usually throw the whole thing out when it’s full, but I’ve run out of jars, hence I had to keep the jar and relieve it of its contents only. I did this, on which I realised I’m such an asshole.

My anxiety agrees with this evaluation. I’m not only an asshole, I’m also a fire hazard. I emptied a jar full of fag ends into the dust bin, which obviously contains flammable materials. What if one of the dead fag ends wasn’t entirely dead and ended? What if I burn the building down? (And in case I don’t, for future reference, what’s even the correct and safe way of disposing of fag ends?) Now I’m terrified, courtesy of my assholeness and anxiety, and I’m periodically going down to check whether the bin has flamed up yet. So far, it hasn’t. Doesn’t make me any less anxious. Would you believe my stupidity? Please do nominate me for the post-mortem Darwin Award.

So I Was Trying to Cook…

So I Was Trying to Cook…

I cook every day. Still, I’m even worse than the worst cook ever. In cooking, I follow strict principles:

  • the dish must not require more than two ingredients
  • no more than two pots and one piece of kitchen utensil are allowed
  • it has to be done in under ten minutes

I usually end up with cooked frozen veggies and tofu.

I was feeling ambitious today, though, so I procured exotic ingredients to produce a shockingly complex meal. An omelette.

It involved eggs, bacon and onion. (This breaks the rule of maximum two ingredients.) It took half an hour to make. (This breaks the ten-minutes-tops rule.) I had to dust off a plethora of kitchen utensils I own just so but never use. (This breaks the two pots/utensils rule.)

In short, I wasn’t recognising myself. I forgive myself though for I did not know what I was doing. (Literally.)

IMG_20180107_194853-01
Guess what! An omelette.

I needed to Google the recipe. Why, no, I don’t really know how to make an omelette. The recipe called for a pan, but fuck that, I don’t keep such devilish devices at home. So a pot it is instead. The instructions demanded that I beat the eggs. What? I’m pacifist, I don’t beat anything. I compromised though and massaged the eggs for a bit in a mug with a fork. That’ll do.

I was also peeling and cutting an onion. I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was seriously surreal. Onions might be nice, but they’re optional and I don’t remember ever going for the option. (It goes against all that my minimalist cooking code represents.) I was trying to make small cubes from half an onion, alas, I somehow ended up with thick crescent-shaped slices. Whatever.

I vaguely remembered from my random observations of people cooking that you put the onion in first. Which I did. It well quite well to start with. Then I put in the bacon and poured the eggs over it. Only then did I attempt to add salt and pepper, which turned out to be a bit late because it didn’t mix. Oh well.

I proceeded to hypnotise the pot and wait.

The recipe claimed the omelette is ready when the top gets crusty. The top refused to do such a thing and while I was willing to wait for it, I was increasingly disturbed by the smell of something burning that started to emanate from the pot. I tentatively poked the work in progress and found that it got stuck to the pot. *shrug* I peeled it off and discovered the omelette’s bottom is burnt and the top is raw. Interesting.

It tasted better than it looked but you’d better not try this at home.