La fuite d’eau

Anyone who has kids, or a puppy, can relate. I don’t have either, but after all we’ve been through together, I now have a similarly intimate relationship with my apartment. One afternoon at the end of last week, I came home from lunch and the moment I stepped inside my place, I felt something was wrong.

Standing in the doorway, I heard a faint trickling noise in the background which, as I got closer to my bedroom, realized the trickling sound was more of a steady stream. And sure enough, as I got closer to la source, water was cascading out of several holes in the wall. Although I’ve experienced a lot of things here, arguably more than most people have, I haven’t had the very Parisian experience of une fuite d’eau: a water leak.

I was going to use the conditional and say that almost everyone I know has had to deal with a water leak, but come to think of it, I’ll remove that “almost” and go so far as to say that I’m sure that everyone I know has had one. Leaks are to be expected in a city that’s a few thousand years old, and if you’ve ever wondered why apartments in Paris have so many pipes running down the outside of the walls, it’s because they’re easy to deal with when the inevitable leak occurs, rather than when they’re hidden in the walls, as (of course) mine are. Because plumbing can be so tricky in Paris, it’s why in some apartments, everything; the sink, the dishwasher, the washing machine, and sometimes, even the toilet and shower, are in the kitchen, it’s because of the water lines.

While the plumbing hasn’t been around for centuries, some of it behaves as if it has. The shower in my previous top-floor apartment was only equipped to give me a mere gallon of tepid water before returning to icy-cold, so I became a world-class speed showerer. Living on the top floor, thankfully I never had a problem with leaks from neighbors above. Although come to think of it, I remember the neighbors below once came up and knocked on my door to tell me they had a leak that was probably coming from my bathroom. (I don’t remember if I asked it was a gallon of water, or less, as it would have been easy to pinpoint that it was coming from my shower.) As a renter, I probably wasn’t as interested in their leak as I should have been. On the other hand, they had a habit of coming home well after midnight and blasting music on two DJ-quality speakers that sounded like it came from a stereo that could be cranked jusqu’à numéro 11, so I wasn’t exactly that interested in making sure they had a happy home.

Water leaks bring up a lot of issues that are hallmarks of Paris: Distrust of big companies (especially insurance companies), problems with contractors, malfaçons (bad construction), and uneasy relationships with neighbors. After my bizutage (hazing), I’m on fairly good terms with almost everyone in the building, but one stubborn holdout who shares a wall with me refused to open the door to let me into her apartment to see if she had the same leaks in her place, or if they were coming from there.

I was with the well-dressed woman from the property management company and after knocking on her door several times and hearing faint noises of movement behind it, the woman who I’ve never actually had the pleasure of meeting during our last seven or eight years living side-by-side, finally opened the door, looking at us as if we were hardened criminals searching for cover. True, I was wearing the $2.99 basketball shorts I got at Deals and Discounts II in Queens, and rubber flip-flops, a reasonable outfit for bailing water IMHO, but I was holding a phone and pocket flashlight, hardly tools which suggest criminal intent.

Water problems have followed me most of my adult apartment life. When I moved into an apartment in San Francisco, one morning I woke up, slid out of bed, and placed my feet on the floor…and found myself ankle-deep in a few inches of water. No one could locate the source until I was at a nearby bakery one morning and noticed the photos on the wall weren’t of some bucolic farm in the hinterlands of California, but what our neighborhood looked like before it had streets and houses. It was basically a big lake with several farms around it. So when it rained, the water from the lake did what water does, and rose into my bedroom.

There’s some expression about those who forget about the past are condemned to repeat it. I haven’t forgotten about my past, either in San Francisco or here. But somehow repeating it was in my cards. Or rather, in my bedroom, once again.

The first thing I did was save the Ikea furniture. I didn’t care about clothes or shoes or wine or the carpet. I just didn’t ever want to ever have to assemble any more Ikea furniture in my life than I have to. Those hand weights I got for online fitness classes during the confinement last spring came in handy for raising the bed. And the hours of ab work I got from online Pilates classes finally came in handy when I had to lift the bed to get the weights underneath it. Romain looked at me as if I was a mom displaying superhuman strength when a car is on top of her baby and without thinking, lifts it up like it’s made out of styrofoam. Let me be clear: There was no way I was going to assemble that Ikea bed frame again. That bed frame was my baby (…and like those moms, we also share the struggles of a long labor, it took me about a week to assemble it…) and I was going to do whatever I could to save it.

Being more French than I will ever be, Romain said that we immediately needed to go on the offensive. I have a friend whose entire water-logged apartment has been held up for years by a massive wooden structure and scaffolding built inside her apartment as the neighbors, insurance companies, and property managers battle things out. It rivals the scaffolding holding up the badly damaged Notre Dame, but is in a different part of town. Her sister is also dealing with a water leak issue on the opposite end of the city, as is an artist friend of mine who had a water leak that damaged all of his works in his studio. And speaking of studios, every time I go to Pilates and am lying on my back waiting for another round of abdominal exercises to begin, my eyes wander to the ever-widening grey water stain in the upper corner of the ceiling, which seems to be spreading at about the same rate as my midsection now that summer beach-body season is over. (Not that anyone is looking at me on the beach anymore, except Romain. And he’s stuck with me, no matter what.)

Fortunately the plumber the building sent over was a hottie and I can honestly say that plumber’s crack isn’t always a bad thing, and I had no trouble overseeing him while he worked. It’s been a relief having him here, whether he fixes the problem or not. He’s coming back again to tear down the wall this week and I’m wondering if I’m a bad person for scheduling him for when Romain is at work.

In the meantime, I’m hunkering down for my first week of emails, phone calls, paperwork, registered letters (which are the bane of everyone in France as they always mean bad news, which is why one employee at La Poste told me that 90% of them never get picked up), adjusters, neighbors, property managers, and wringing out towels. One piece of good news is that the water is, uh…just water, and only water. It’s not the overflow of someone’s toilet. I’ve heard about that happening here, too. I can’t imagine anything worse than actually being dans le merde, which usually just means you’re in trouble, not that you’re truly in the you-know-what.

One upside is that I may have found my material for season three of L’Appart, whenever it makes it to the small screen. And Romain has made good on his promise to launch an all-out offensive on everyone involved, and not letting go until he gets an answer. As someone who’s not especially good at confrontations, even though I’m on social media (last week I had a few doozies…), it’s nice to have someone on my side who is. And I’ve filled buckets of water so I can get some cooking and baking done.

(Another upside; The neighbor in the other apartment next to mine was thrilled to finally meet “…the guy who everyone says is a baker!” And another woman in my building who after she took a peek and saw the water, I told her if she was interested in taking a swim, she could come back later with her swimsuit and go for a dip, which gave her a good laugh. Oh, and the woman at the post office who tersely corrected the address of the insurance company on the envelope gave me a break, and a knowing nod, when I told her about the inondation. Like everyone in Paris, when you mention you’re in the midst of a fuite d’eau, you get a little extra leeway.)

So letters have been written and mailed, emails and text messages sent, and dossiers (files) started. The downpours are taking a break tomorrow, and the water has been turned off until we figure out where it’s coming from. The plumber is on his way back and I’m batting 2 out of 3 in terms of befriending the neighbors, so things could be worse…all things considered.

 

 

La fuite d\'eau

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107 comments

  • September 28, 2020 4:58pm

    Oh no! What a nightmare.
    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Thankfully you have Romain on your side and willing to fight for you. And a handsome plumber does ease the pain, for a short time at least. Courage, my friend! Reply

    • September 28, 2020 10:17pm

      Delightful, entertaining reading, though I’m sure you’re not as delighted and entertained by this new adventure as your readers are.
      We look forward to the next installment of la fuite d’eau. In the meantime, keep your powder dry!
      Kathleen, in rainy, wet Mexico. Reply

    • Paulina Stepien
      September 29, 2020 10:03am

      Ah! Once again a problem with the apartment! After reading L’appart during the lockdown I was keeping my fingers crossed for you. I’m now having my own experiences since I live in Northern Italy in a very old and charming apartment (that’s how they get you!) I find each time week there is another problem to conquer. Last week it was a scorpian and the week before a power outage since my 82 year old landlord forgot to pay the bill (I suppose). Unfortunately, my handman doesn’t tickle my fancy, but I guess with the rain we have here, and all the apartment issues, I’ll be indulging in some warm polenta and sausage. That’s all to say that comfort food may just be the best remedy. Reply

      • September 29, 2020 11:05am
        David Lebovitz

        Often there are articles about a château in the countryside of France they are selling for a €1 in the media, which get passed around in the U.S. and people say, “Why don’t you buy it and fix it up?” Anything old is gonna have problems but a château in the middle of nowhere (where you can’t do anything unless it’s approved by the historical commission…) – new construction has problems too, if it’s not done right, which is often the case as well… Reply

  • Laurie
    September 28, 2020 5:20pm

    I feel your pain. I still have a huge hole in the bedroom ceiling in my Paris apartment from a “fuite d’eau” three years ago. It’s still unresolved with the insurance company, as is the dispute with the building next door whose construction caused thousands of euros in damage to the apartments in my building. It’s been in litigation for over five years. It seems the French way is to stonewall until you just give up and fix it at your own expense. I wish I had Romain on my side! Reply

    • September 28, 2020 5:33pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, that seems to be the way it’s handled. Draw it out as long as possible. I can’t believe how long these things supposedly take to resolve. I may start renting out Romain! Reply

      • Laurie
        September 28, 2020 5:51pm

        Yes!! Reply

      • Flor de Maria
        September 29, 2020 6:18pm

        I am not even in France and I need Romain! My husband refuses to confront anybody so I am the one to deal with my complaints and my complainers. I need Romain here (and I will pay fare and supply accommodations) Reply

    • Emma
      September 29, 2020 12:21pm

      I know your pain, the procès with the builder of our small condo in Saint-Denis is nearly finished after 7 years of process !! Seven years we just had a verdict 2 weeks ago and waiting for the 2 month delay for an appeal by the builder (fingers crossed). This the length it can take in France for trials…
      But we still have an unresolved insurance thing (malfaçons) with the roof running for 5 years, and not ready to be solved… Yes France, and hundreds of recommandés, huissiers…. Reply

  • Cheryl Russo
    September 28, 2020 5:33pm

    I’ve had my share of water leaks over the years in apartments and houses. I feel your pain!! Thank you for writing such funny and personal newsletters! I always enjoy them!! :) ⭐️❤️ Reply

  • Gina Bisaillon
    September 28, 2020 5:34pm

    In Central Mexico the plumbing was mostly outside, but one winter we got a real frost and everybody’s pipes burst! Reply

  • September 28, 2020 5:35pm

    Meileur l’eau que la merde. The toilet in my Rome apartment, in a very ancient palazzo, backed up. . . into the bathtub! Reply

  • Kristen
    September 28, 2020 5:35pm

    Oh no! Best of luck! We will be cheering for you. Reply

  • Gigi
    September 28, 2020 5:37pm

    Horrifying and hysterical at the same time. Bon chance! Reply

  • Kelly
    September 28, 2020 5:40pm

    This made me cringe, since I’m among those who have suffered through similar. My most recent adventure was updating our kitchen. Washing dishes in the bathroom sink for 3 months while waiting for the various contractors to complete jobs (I served as my own project manager) was such a pain, but it really made me appreciate my new kitchen! I’m cooking and baking all the time now and loving it. (We kept the tiny cottage-style kitchen footprint – it’s not one of those trendy huge kitchens.) Hoping things are back to normal asap and glad you took the opportunity from the hardship to make your neighbors’ acquaintances. Reply

  • Debra
    September 28, 2020 5:40pm

    Lemons seem to inspire you–what a delightful lemonade you’ve concocted! Thanks and hope your fuite is soon fixed. Reply

  • Joanne
    September 28, 2020 5:42pm

    Yikes, definitely not fun, but you made me smile when you mentioned that the shower and toilet can be in the kitchen! My old apartment in the Marais was exactly like that, a shock the first time I entered the place but then felt normal. The joys of living in a very ancient building! I was grateful that at least I had a toilet, not the small WC in the hallway for other tenants! Reply

    • September 29, 2020 11:08am
      David Lebovitz

      I was grateful to have an actual bathroom in my rooftop apt, even though there was a shared toilet (one of those “hole in the floors”) that I could have used with my neighbors. But the heat in the winter was barely sufficient and I wore a down coat all day indoors, and in the summer, the temperature might reach 105-110ºF in the summer. Still, I miss that place as it had a great view. But I think I’m am glossing over the downsides of it ;) Reply

    • Emma
      September 29, 2020 4:26pm

      Did one of you ever see a toilet/shower combo ?? It was in the 11th, twenty years ago.
      You may wonder what it is really: simply a Turkish toilet (i.e.; the hole in the floor type) with a showerhead above the hole, and to shower you had to lower a kind of metallic grid so that the water would flow in the toilet, and you would shower above the toilet !!!!
      The owner was touring the place, not ashamed at all Reply

  • Eilonwy
    September 28, 2020 5:45pm

    I am dumbfounded by the shortsightedness of the woman who has lived next to you for 7-8 years without making friends. Think of the “mistakes” and excess production that might have been shared with her! Even if she is horribly shy, she could have followed you quietly around Paris and learned where all the best treats are to be purchased. What a tragic range of opportunities have been lost!

    Best wishes for a quick fix for your leaks! Reply

  • Chrissy
    September 28, 2020 5:45pm

    How awful! We had a leak from upstairs at our apartment while we were out of the country. Luckily a friend popped by and discovered it before it worked its way to the apartment below us. Our upstairs neighbour was elderly and there was just no point pursuing him. We just fixed it ourselves. It took over a year to dry it all out and repair everything. Good luck! Reply

  • Tommy
    September 28, 2020 5:45pm

    I hope you can see the ad that the internet gave me, it’s an ad for a plumber!!!!! BTW how about posting a pic of the plumber!!! Reply

  • Bette
    September 28, 2020 5:46pm

    Ah, Romain, my hero! I know you were joking about L’Appart, Season 3, but I wish you’d write a follow-up book. I absolutely loved reading (not experiencing!) L’Appart! Reply

  • Karine
    September 28, 2020 5:46pm

    I’ve been waiting for an update after your Facebook live session… Thank you David for the good laugh! And good luck with les seaux et l’eau…
    I realized I did not know how to write seau anymore, in between all the seau, saut, sot, sceau, and their same pronunciation… French is such a beautiful language… Reply

  • Thomas Flinn
    September 28, 2020 5:46pm

    Damn that didn’t work, sorry you have to take my word for it, you’r water leak article resulted in an ad for a plumber for me. I hope it’s not contagious. Reply

    • Sharon
      September 28, 2020 6:40pm

      Yep, I got one too. Big brother is watching . . . Reply

  • Cynthia
    September 28, 2020 5:50pm

    Oh nooooo!! How awful, and hurray for Romain! Reply

  • Dona Lee Nill
    September 28, 2020 5:50pm

    David,

    This is the best of your tales!, having had a few la fuite d’eau expériences myself.
    IF and when I can return to Paris, I’d love to run into you in the Marais, or at least, find you at a book signing.
    Thank you for your insight, and all you
    post.

    dona lee ~ personal chef Reply

  • September 28, 2020 5:51pm

    Oh no! I hope it gets resolved quickly! Reply

  • Phyllis Singler
    September 28, 2020 5:52pm

    SORRY to read this..A nightmare for sure, but you are handling it with great aplomb! You have my sympathy Reply

  • Nancy Carten
    September 28, 2020 5:52pm

    Oh dear! Water. Nothing worse when its where we don’t want it. Take a deep, albeit moist breath, pour yourself a drink, and accept. Easy to say, I know, but having spilled an entire gallon of paint on my kitchen floor as a young mother wanting to “spruce things up” there’s only one thing to do. Clean it up! As Winston Churchill said: when your going through hell, keep going. Reply

  • Citycatsman
    September 28, 2020 5:54pm

    Super post. Reply

  • Robert Smythe
    September 28, 2020 5:54pm

    What a great post! If this is the direction you’ve been wanting to take blog, hear, hear! Your Paris/France stories (and bemusement at the absurdities) are always a great read. Thank you Reply

  • September 28, 2020 5:54pm

    You aren’t alone. While I live in the south of France (near Carcassonne), I am also dealing with a fuite from my terrasse that empties into a studio/chambre below. I bought my house two years ago and it is considered a “vice caché” (hidden problem – hidden by the previous owner). I am hoping for legal success otherwise it will be a hefty repair bill. Reply

  • Giulia
    September 28, 2020 5:54pm

    I had a fuite d’eau every 3 months or so while living in Paris – a nightmare! But you’ll get throught it, at least you have a good looking plumber, mine was just incredibly expensive :D Reply

  • cherie
    September 28, 2020 6:03pm

    Oh my! I hope it you find entertainment in it where you can and that it is otherwise less atrocious than it sounds! Reply

  • MR in NJ
    September 28, 2020 6:04pm

    My stomach flipped over when I read about the artist. Reply

  • taffy HOLVENSTOT
    September 28, 2020 6:05pm

    You poor thing, but alas, another chapter in your series!! I can’t believe it’s been 8 years! Reply

  • Christine
    September 28, 2020 6:07pm

    I’ve read that Paris has incredibly high amounts of calcium in their water- hence, the reason most Parisian women use micellular water instead of tap water to wash their faces.( I do the same, since my water is also very hard.)
    I can’t imagine what that calcium does to plumbing pipes, especially that the pipes are made of lead, and not PVC. I, too, have had many issues involving water in various residences, so I feel you pain! Reply

    • September 29, 2020 11:10am
      David Lebovitz

      The calcium in the water in Paris ruins everything, from irons and coffee pots, to washing machines and dishwashers. So you have to keep white vinegar flowing everywhere so it doesn’t build up too badly. Reply

  • September 28, 2020 6:13pm

    Love this. Am currently living it myself. We had a leak before we moved in from the apartment above over 1 year ago now. So far insurance has visited at least three times to estimate, take photos etc. Luckily it is just paint and didn’t/doesn’t bother me. Then there was a leak in March again from the apartment above right when confinement was starting and it took 2 weeks to stop the water due to a difficult renter in the apartment above. We are on the 8th floor and the 9th floor leak affected everyone down to the 5th floor. The final night I had to get up every 2 hours to mop the floor. Then 4 weeks ago, the March leak caused the wall to weaken and the water tank of the neighbor below us to fall and explode. It flooded the elevator and we lost electricity and water for a day. The elevator was put completely out of commission. So we have been without an elevator for 4 weeks (on the 8th floor!).

    By the way, I made moules de bouchot last night and they were incredible! Reply

    • jane
      September 29, 2020 1:36am

      ok you win – yikes! Reply

    • September 29, 2020 11:12am
      David Lebovitz

      Yikes. Wow, but those kinds of stories are normal here, except for the part about the water heater falling and exploding. Too bad the person upstairs is “difficult” – it makes it so much harder when people are like that. I learned from Romain that you have to be very tough and very persistent. Otherwise, these things takes years to resolve, which I’m not looking forward to. Bon courage ! Reply

  • Lisa
    September 28, 2020 6:14pm

    So sorry for your inondation, but love this post! It took me back to my year living in Paris and dealing with la banque, la poste, getting a visa, etc., etc., all of those bureaucracies and conversations that end with either “c’est interdit!” or “mais, ce n’est pas possible!” I love la France dearly, but its quirks have brought me to tears at times…. Best of luck to you, David! Reply

    • September 29, 2020 11:15am
      David Lebovitz

      France24 recently did a program with a poll about complaining in France and the number reason French folks say they complain #1 was problems with bureaucracy (#2 was transport delays and strikes.) It’s a pretty good news segment, in English, that explore the topic really well. Reply

  • Liz
    September 28, 2020 6:21pm

    Your handsome plumber brought back memories for me. Some years back, we had a guy come to fix the tile in our bathroom. He was about 20 years old, sweet and handsome as all get out. He brought his puppy and his guitar and spent his breaks singing to the pup and my enthralled toddler. Needless to say, I forgave the fact that he was a terrible tiler. I still look at the crooked tile and think of him fondly. Reply

  • soosie
    September 28, 2020 6:28pm

    I’m already on the lookout for L’Appart volume 2! Maybe you could serialize it on a paid website so we won’t have to wait? Reply

  • Helen
    September 28, 2020 6:29pm

    Good Luck David! Romain is a treasure, so glad you have him on your side. I’ve had several water issues in my home so know the frustration of working around them and their resolution. Great read, thanks for sharing. Reply

  • Mike Q
    September 28, 2020 6:31pm

    In the midst of this grim time here – in the states. Thanx for a good laugh & a smile Reply

  • Gigi
    September 28, 2020 6:33pm

    I’ve rented my condo for 14 years. I’ve had 8 water leaks of some sort ( hot water tank- original and replacement), bathtub pipes, etc including the rarely considered “water filter in the freezer” ( who knew there was such a thing ) that leaked into the neighbor’s unit under me for 6 days while I was out of town, washing machine, dishwasher. I understand David! None of the other units in this development have had water issues- I’ve taken the hit for them all and it never gets any easier. I have borderline OCD and just the process of the actual repair ( moving everting around in my tiny tiny condo) give me the shudders. Thank God I didn’t have to pay for the repairs – one of the benefits or renting. Hang in there David! I lived in Paris 6 years and I always maintained that it was no surprise that the words “bureaucracy” and “laissier- faire” had French roots.! Reply

    • suki
      September 29, 2020 1:40am

      since none of the other condo’s experience failure – why not switch at the next opening??? Eight leaks is insanity Reply

  • Janet
    September 28, 2020 6:39pm

    Here in Southern California, our water “leak” in Feb is still being restored. (Covid shut down happened and we couldn’t get any restoration or repair help for three months.) We were at a birthday party and came home to water flowing into the street through our front door and garage. We had to vacate the house that night and are still out. The water dept sent us an email three days after the disaster that a leak was possible due to a thousand gallons that passed through our water meter in 4 hours. A connector broke from a freshwater supply line behind the toilet. Our insurance added us to an ongoing class-action lawsuit with the manufacturer of the plastic connector. Last week, I kicked our dog’s water bowl over on accident and freaked out watching the water creep slowly across the floor. I think I have PTSD or hydro-creepa-phobia. So sorry, David, to read about your life-altering experience. I‘ve had 10 kids in 16 years and homeschooled all of them. This one event is, by far, more life-disrupting and mind-altering. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. Even in the worst, your the best! Reply

  • September 28, 2020 6:46pm

    Sorry to be chuckling while reading.
    You haven’t lost your sense of humor and it manifested in the narrative.
    All is not lost. Reply

  • Margaret Z.
    September 28, 2020 6:52pm

    Dear David,
    I could go on for days about water leaks and broken pipes and floods from hurricanes and insurance companies…I feel your pain and it is good to have a persistent bulldog at hand. My husbands mantra is “The name for my pain is water”.

    Good luck to you and hopefully it will not take years to resolve. Reply

  • Caroline
    September 28, 2020 6:53pm

    So sorry about the leak. I didn’t have my glasses on as I scanned email, so was expecting a write-up and recipes for Fruites a l’eau de vie! Reply

  • Gayna Taylor
    September 28, 2020 6:57pm

    I’m so sorry for your inundation! On the other hand a “Big Thank You” for Drinking French. It has provided many cheerful evenings during this never ending pandemic! Merci Beaucoup, Gayna Taylor Reply

    • September 28, 2020 7:46pm
      David Lebovitz

      So happy you like the book. It’s helping us too! : ) Reply

  • Tamara
    September 28, 2020 7:13pm

    Loved the humorous tone of this post! Even if it’s for a bad situation. Hopefully the fuite d’eau can be fixed without much trouble. Courage! Reply

  • September 28, 2020 7:13pm

    In Sedona, Arizona, we don’t have water tanks in the walls, we do have grinder pumps. A grinder pump is particularly expensive and indispensable piece of equipment in that it transfers household waste to the sewer, up hill. A grinder pump has an approximate 10 year life. That approximate is an important word here, for something no one ever wants to go through (or go through again in some cases) is the day the grinder pump expires, for then the lowest floor becomes an actual cess pit, dans le merde en realite. Reply

  • Shira
    September 28, 2020 7:16pm

    I totally agree about the IKEA furniture. Not that I ever put it together myself, watching my husband do it is frustrating enough . Good luck! If you have enough time to answer a question, I’m sure I read some non alcoholic apero recipes from you but I can’t find them easily in your book or blog. I’m looking for something interesting for detox nights. Meanwhile I’m trying out your socca recipe tonight. Reply

  • Markella Vavaka
    September 28, 2020 7:29pm

    I’m terribly sorry you and Romain are going through this. However, this piece was so funny, you have such a wonderful sense of humor that is always evident in your writing especially this article. I applaud you for finding joyous moments and optimism in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Hope everything is back to normal soon. Reply

  • Karin Pereira
    September 28, 2020 7:33pm

    I darn well know the feeling when my water heater started to leak! Reply

  • MrsSW
    September 28, 2020 7:52pm

    ….and then there was the plumber who insisted that putting a hole in the wall ABOVE the sink would repair the leak UNDER the sink – and my roommate allowed it. Of course it didn’t and left me with a large hole to repair when the one he did fell out.
    Good luck with your plumber, David.
    Sheila Reply

  • A
    September 28, 2020 7:55pm

    Life requires lots of patience, a sense of humor, some luck and perspective. All of these are hard to come by when something is amiss in your home. Good thing you’re a pro at making cocktails. Reply

  • Ms. Maria Radford
    September 28, 2020 8:04pm

    This deserves to be part of your next book! Thank you for some of my favourite recipes: fig leaf ice cream and strawberry Jam (I have an outdoor fig tree in Canada). Reply

  • September 28, 2020 8:24pm

    Do you think its related to the tropical rainstorms we’re having lately? The top floor placard I live in has no leaks (so far) but the plumbier shows up every 5 months for the electric loo. The water pipes are tiny in 17th c. Buildings evidently… You have beaucoup courage! Bonne chance Reply

  • Terry S.
    September 28, 2020 8:34pm

    Bon courage! You will need it, but I am guessing Romain will unleash that deadly French fury in just the right way to help get this resolved! I am glad that it is only a water leak and not something worse! Reply

  • Jacklyn Campbell
    September 28, 2020 9:12pm

    You poor thing. I feel your pain. And even though your post is not about food, I enjoyed reading it. Reply

  • Sandra Myers
    September 28, 2020 9:35pm

    Yikes! I guess that weather forecast included is no help. Leaking roof cascading down inside the walls? Did you or can you go to the roof at all
    to check for problems cascading down?
    You’re right. We can all say, “been there, done that”. I found a nasty drenched drop ceiling in the basement last year. The sagging ceiling tiles and puddles on the floor were not worth the panic. After a long weekend away, the plumber arrived and replaced sections of copper pipe with pin holes spraying up and then dripping down through tiles to the floor. Probably climate change from acidity in water. Fixed and done.
    Stalled rain storm a year ago early August dumped about 5” rain or so in 2 hours overflowing basement covered window wells, not going down drains but around and to the floor—before the aforementioned pin hole leaks.
    Interesting use of free weights. I recall cinder blocks used in college to raise beds.
    Bon chance mon cousin! Reply

  • Jean Robinson
    September 28, 2020 9:57pm

    This is a great post! And we relived memories about our own fuite d’eau in the apartment we rented for 4 months on rue de Temple a few years ago. For the first 6 weeks our oven did not work and of course another two weeks to get the new parts installed. Then we came home from a weekend in Belgium and smelled mustiness and discovered that not only had our water heater died but it had leaked all done two walls (situated as it was in an alcove above a closet!) But of course it had also leaked into the apartment below. We got to meet our neighbors too, with us being dressed very not “comme il faut.” New heater, new walls, new flooring plus painting eventually of course. A very Parisian experience! Thanks for the memories! Reply

  • Jean Robinson
    September 28, 2020 10:13pm

    Oops — and meant to say we hope you have good luck in getting it fixed soon! Reply

  • September 28, 2020 10:33pm

    Wishing you the best of luck getting this water issue resolved! Reply

  • ap
    September 28, 2020 10:41pm

    I’m so sorry about your leak, but this is one of my favorite posts ever! First of all, shout out to Deals and Discounts II – I literally bought 2 birthday presents for my boyfriend there yesterday (why, yes, I am a woman in my 40s with a real job, and yet, NO ONE else appears to be selling men’s slippers for under $70 right now).

    Secondly – plumber’s crack isn’t always bad. You’re naughty.

    Gave me a good laugh, but I had 2 years myself of on and off water leaks in my Astoria apartment. I’m on the top floor and fixing the leak over the hallway outside my apartment door unfortunately meant during the next downpour the water found new pathways…like my kitchen ceiling.

    So I do commiserate. Reply

  • Lenita
    September 28, 2020 10:54pm

    I am so sorry this has happened to you, but I loved the humorous way you wrote about it. Cheers to Romain. Best wishes for a quick as possible fix. Reply

  • Candace Bordelon
    September 28, 2020 10:59pm

    Leave it to you to make a water leak sound delightful. What a talent you have for finding the humor in the mundane. Reply

  • September 28, 2020 11:25pm

    I know this is annoying, difficult & trying for you, but I’m really looking forward to the TV series :) Loved the book & extra anecdotes like this are always fascinating. Let’s hope there’s a happy ending. Reply

  • Deborah Hodges
    September 28, 2020 11:34pm

    You always make the best of everything. What else is there to do?!

    Hang in there and be well. Reply

  • Deborah Hodges
    September 28, 2020 11:36pm

    You always make the best of everything! It sure helps to have a sense of humor.

    Hang in there and be well.

    Best to you and Romain. Reply

  • Linda Ravden
    September 29, 2020 12:37am

    I feel for you. Several years ago all three of our toilets exploded at the same time so we were literally deeply “dans la merde.” We had to move out of the house for several months while men in hazmat suits replaced walls and flooring. I’m glad yours is “only” water.
    Greetings to you from sunny California…. :-) Reply

  • September 29, 2020 5:16am

    Oh no, David!!! As someone who has endured more fuites d’eau than I can count on two hands, I empathize sincerely and completely. Fingers crossed that it’ll be fixed soon. Reply

  • rebs
    September 29, 2020 5:23am

    wishing you the best and a speedy outcome so sorry to hear you are going through this. you always brighten my day when i read your blog. Reply

  • Peggy Bilbro
    September 29, 2020 5:27am

    I’m sorry for your fuite d’eau, but I truly appreciate the big chuckle you gave me describing it…especially the IKEA furniture protection! We don’t get many opportunities to laugh over here stateside, so thanks for that! Hope you and Romain and the hot plumber get it all resolved ASAP! Reply

  • Peggy
    September 29, 2020 5:28am

    I’m sorry for your fuite d’eau, but I truly appreciate the big chuckle you gave me describing it…especially the IKEA furniture protection! We don’t get many opportunities to laugh over here stateside, so thanks for that! Hope you and Romain and the hot plumber get it all resolved ASAP! Reply

  • Nell
    September 29, 2020 6:41am

    Your very amusing writing has lifted my spirits on this difficult day. Thank you. But I do commiserate with you. And wish you a speedy repair. Reply

  • Helene
    September 29, 2020 8:35am

    Ooooh… how I know what you mean about your IKEA bedframe!! It also took me about 5 days to assemble, and if I can help it I’m NEVER going through that ordeal again. Best of luck with all the paperasse, and good luck with the insurance companies. It’s good that you have Romain on your side, since indeed you need to be confrontational in those occasions if you want it to move fast (actually move at all)… Reply

  • Corine
    September 29, 2020 11:22am

    “my eyes wander to the ever-widening grey water stain in the upper corner of the ceiling, which seems to be spreading at about the same rate as my midsection now that summer beach-body season is over” — this sentence, David, is a chef-d’œuvre. Reply

  • Carmen Price
    September 29, 2020 2:27pm

    Great story-telling, David! Reply

  • Cindy Williamson
    September 29, 2020 3:14pm

    Came home yesterday from walking my dog and it sounded like someone was taking a shower – water spewing everywhere from the toilet water connector! Luckily it was an easy and not terribly expensive fix – your post couldn’t be more timely! Reply

  • Heidi Husnak
    September 29, 2020 7:29pm

    What a pain! I am in Los Angeles – same issues. Most places have copper pipes that get pin hole leaks so it takes a long time until you see the damage that has occurred – then mold is an issue. Plumber’s crack – having spent years managing construction it is a given. I think cuz they are on their knees bending over wearing jeans. Depending on the guy I avert my eyes or sight see. Reply

  • Ellen
    September 29, 2020 10:33pm

    So sorry you are having to deal with this. We have also had our share of water problems…broken water heater creating a water fountain in our basement….and they are never fun. Hope all can be resolved without too much frustration.

    You are a wonderful writer and despite my water empathy, you made me laugh out loud Reply

  • rainey
    September 30, 2020 12:28am

    So sorry to hear this. Glad to hear you saved the Ikea and put Romain in charge of the communications and the threats.

    I’m also happy to see the sink after reading about your search for it.

    Hope you’re dry again soon! Reply

    • Sheila in SF
      October 1, 2020 11:12pm

      A sad situation but looks like par for the course living in Paris.
      A humorous tale but hope it gets resolved for you. Guess if you move there is no guarantee it won’t happen again…I live in SF and had a pipe break in garage and thankful we didn’t have long delays in getting a plumber here.
      Good luck. Reply

  • Margaret
    September 30, 2020 4:54am

    What a nightmare — so sorry you’re going through this and hope it can be resolved very soon.

    I bought a house once that was built (I found out later) in a creek bed so when it rained the water gushed down along my back fence. I came home one night and the rugs were floating around in my living room because my neighbor had obstructed the water flow. He didn’t want the water going through his backyard so pushed it into my back door — nice guy. I put a French drain in my backyard and sold the house ASAP. I always wondered why it was called a French drain, but maybe Parisians would know??? Reply

    • September 30, 2020 10:36am
      David Lebovitz

      In San Francisco, I had a gutter that was draining into my neighbor’s backyard. When I had a roofer there I asked if he could fix that so it wasn’t draining in their yard. He knocked on their door to get permission to go in their yard to do the work, and they said “No.” So he tried to fix it from my yard, but he had to set the ladder down partially in their yard. The guy came out and started screaming a string of obscenities at the worker, telling him to get off his property. He later laughed, saying that he’d rather have a bad day than a bad neighbor (!) Reply

  • Bonnie
    September 30, 2020 7:50pm

    We had rented an appart in the Paris 6th
    fro 2 months a year or two ago. The first month as fine however the 2nd week into the second month a began in the second bedroom, dripping down the wall from the appart above us. Since I am quite fluent in French went up and met the lady upstairs who had the same problem. We both were dealing with the building’s owners who were less than helpful. We had towels and “former” bed sheets for weeks on the floors until we departed. They conceded us our entire security deposit as a gesture of “goodwill”—HaH! Reply

    • October 1, 2020 11:14am
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, it’s often an issue between owners and/or insurance companies. Usually, and understandably, no one wants to spend money fixing the issue but in my experience, water problems don’t get better the longer you wait. In fact, it’s the opposite. I don’t understand the strategy of “waiting” but I guess it’s a strategy in hopes that the party that’s the recipient of the water will just pay, as it’s causing the most damage to their place. Reply

  • Arlene Savard
    September 30, 2020 8:50pm

    Sorry to hear of your flooding problem.
    I’ve created a few mini floods in my own home but the most spectacular one happened to me in my previous apartment. Some partying fools in the apartment above, passed out with their balcony door open in mid winter. The heating pipes froze and burst which created a waterfall into my apartment below. We knocked on their door with no answer and called management. When the time came for moving out they tried to keep my entire damage deposit in order to paint the entire apartment; claiming that I scuffed the wall in the storage closet. I would have non of that and reminded them of the damage from the water fall above and my timely report to mitigate the disaster. I won that challenge. Maybe I have a bit of that Romain feistiness too. Haha Reply

  • Kameela
    October 1, 2020 12:46am

    Fuite d’eau is not funny . I live in an old French farmhouse and all the pipes are ancient. Have had a few of those myself. But I was smiling throughout reading this. Your writing is quite entertaining. Seriously though I hope you get it sorted as soon as is ‘French” possible by the talented plumber and make lasting friendships along the way. Every disaster has an upside Reply

  • Jaclyn
    October 1, 2020 9:04am

    David, that you can write and even joke at a time like this is amazing. You’re a really entertaining writer! And Romain is a treasure, it’s so important to have someone like him willing to fight for your rights! Reply

  • Amanda
    October 1, 2020 3:53pm

    That’s the worst! Best of luck to you and Romain. Trying out some recipes in Drinking French tonight and we’ll cheers to y’all! Reply

  • Mary F.
    October 1, 2020 4:43pm

    Unfortunately Europe’s old and charming is often paired with decrepit and alarming…perhaps it’s time to come home? Romain can hone his English skills… ; ) Reply

  • October 1, 2020 8:56pm

    My house, while not particularly old, has enabled me to experience and deal with leaks, exploding boilers, dropping water pressure, bizarre electrics and more problems with piping than I could ever have imagined, giving me a sixth sense when something is about to burst, pop or just bloody stop. You have my sympathies. Dream house: all bathrooms, toilets and kitchen appliances on ground floor. Reply

  • Sheila in SF
    October 1, 2020 11:09pm

    A sad situation but looks like par for the course living in Paris.
    A humorous tale but hope it gets resolved for you. Guess if you move there is no guarantee it won’t happen again…I live in SF and had a pipe break in garage and thankful we didn’t have long delays in getting a plumber here.
    Good luck. Reply

  • Connie
    October 1, 2020 11:40pm

    Um. Can we pleas see a picture of the plumber? ;) Reply

  • jenn
    October 2, 2020 10:35pm

    Hello, so sorry to hear of your leaky problem. I feel as though I’m reading L’appart again, only this time Romaine comes to the rescue. lol I would totally watch your tv show (already watch your videos) Though we have never met, reading your blog makes it seem as thou we have. Good luck with the leak, I hope it is fixed quickly. Reply

  • Marilyn Palmer
    October 3, 2020 10:53pm

    Still laughing over the plumber’s butt-crack comment.
    I feel your pain – we have a house near Nice, to which we have not travelled since pre-Covid days…. Getting anything repaired is a nightmare! Reply

  • Jadie
    October 5, 2020 2:40am

    I laughed out loud, repeatedly. F****ing-A, as my brother and I used to say when we were kids.. Reply

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