An unpleasant looking mark appeared like an unwelcome ghost low on the wall of our guest room. Putrid yellow and dank grey in colour, it was about 4 cm in diameter and soft to the touch. Damp. Not any old damp, this was something that indicated a far deeper, far bigger problem. On the other side of the wall was our shower. Obviously and heart-droppingly there was a leak somewhere. Once an exterior wall, with its double layer of brick, this was a serious leak.
Somewhat reluctantly but knowing it could not wait, the excavation began to find the source. Ever the detective, Chantal made some deductions and concluded that it was the shower’s drain trap. Our trusty plumber, however, felt that it could be the mixer or one of its pipes.
There’s a hole in my wall, dear Liza…
Two large holes
Two large holes bashed through the guest bedroom side of the wall revealed that that was not the cause. The wall was left soggy, gaping and stripped of its paint; exposed to the elements so that it could dry out.
To the shower to investigate the drain. Mosaic was ground away. Dust filled the air to choking. In the chalky haze cement was hacked open to reveal the origin of the offending wet.
No trumpets blew, no water gushed (thank heavens!) as the culprit was revealed: a missing seal. A small piece of rubber that was forgotten when the bathroom was built a good six or more years ago. Over time, at each shower, the water had slipped through the tiny gap to seep into the ground underneath. Drip by daily drip, it had spread into the wall.
“I was right about the drain trap” declared Chantal, not feeling in the least triumphant, as the holes in the wall yowled at her.
“We still would have needed to strip the wall to dry it out,” said Matthew in his steady, calm voice, “Once it is dry we’ll get it sorted in no time.”
All this for a tiny piece of missing rubber
One tiny error
Yes, we will. In the meantime we share our passage with a mattress, have to sidle between rolled up carpets, side tables and lights to get to the desk in the small office and move the tipped-on-its-side bed base, to get into the guest room cupboards. Oh and continue to use the guest shower until we can get the shower re-mosaiced.
That one missing seal cost less than R20,00 (about $1) and caused what will end up being numerous hours of labour, several thousands of Rands, plenty of upheaval and inconvenience, to fix. An oversight, maybe, bad workmanship, possibly, but we are left holding the baby and the bathwater, so to speak.
On a lighter note, soon we’ll have our own tomatoes again
Do it right the first time
The squirming problem yelped loud the benefit of doing it right the first time. But this means knowing what you're doing, completing the job in a focused, careful manner and checking that it works the way it should once done.
Our trusty plumber showed us why we can trust him. Before he put his tools away he tested his work only to find that there was still a small leak: he had counter threaded the attachment leaving a minute gap when he fitted the seal.
We are very grateful for his detail-orientation. It is easy to be slap-dash and “slapgat”, to rush off the email without checking the spelling or throwing some graphics together and hoping that the message sticks.
Being at the receiving end of disinterested service, which seems to be the norm these days, is made more distasteful when there are multiple and irrational steps of AI voice instructions to wade through before, hopefully, speaking to a real person.
The art of taking care
Take more care
Sadly many of us, due to the way we feel, overwhelmed and overcome by the multiple stressors of each day, may also succumb to providing less than stellar service. We end up procrastinating rather than being productive, and reacting rather than responding to clients, colleagues and bosses. When our minds are preoccupied with worries and concerns, we cannot focus, be detail-oriented or enthusiastic and motivated.
This experience has prodded us to take more care with our work and the way we engage and serve our community. We do not want to be the reason for gaping holes and soggy spirits.
We are also reminded to take better care of ourselves first. For it is in taking better care of ourselves that we will be better resourced to take better care of our work, our well-wishers and our world. We hope to remind you of the same.
Until next time, take care.
Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew
About the author
5th Place offers specialised psychological services in the form of coaching and therapy for immediate relief from stress, anxiety, & other mental health challenges. It works fast, deep and quick. For individuals and groups, children, teens and adults.