Doth Not the Bucket Runneth Over!
“J’ai eu la chance!” (What luck I had!)
After a long hot bubbly bath and a ritualistic Saturday morning of beauty routine, I opened the linen closet to take out fresh sheets only to discover one wet sheet on the shelf.
Did I put it away wet? Surely not. Then I noticed the little hot water tank dripping water with great force into a bucket below, now filled with rags and water to the brim. The bucket hadn’t been placed there for that reason — only because that’s ‘where it lives.’
When I renovated my apartment many years ago, a very intelligent plumber, a Monsieur Cohen (the only Jewish plumber I have ever known), cleverly installed a small hot water tank in the linen closet that is fed from the “chaudière” (a gas water heater that heats the water as it passes through it) on the other side of the apartment in the kitchen, which then feeds the bathroom for continuous hot water and plenty of pressure. It was a brilliant solution to the problems I had endured for years of very low pressure (drip, drip, drip out of the shower head) and hot water cutting out in the middle of a shower — HELP! — it simply had too far to go from the chaudière many meters away to be efficient. Cohen fixed it and I’ve been a happy camper ever since.
I learned then that it doesn’t pay to hire a plumber less intelligent or capable, even if it costs a small fortune, because nothing is worse than dealing with a plumbing problem. If the bucket hadn’t been there, everything in my closet would have been ruined, not to mention the floor and the neighbor’s apartment below and following that would have been a long and painful insurance claim, etc. Considering that the pail wasn’t there by design, only by chance, and I thanked my lucky stars.
Monsieur Cohen is on my auto-dial. He refuses to call me anything but “Madame Leeds” and in turn, I will never call him “Patrick,” but always “Monsieur Cohen” out of respect. He deserves it.
“Monsieur Cohen, I’m really sorry to bother you on Shabbat, but water is running out of my little heater. Can you come this morning?”
“I’m far away at the moment, but Madame Leeds, for you it’s no problem at all. It may take a bit of time, though.”
“That’s okay, because I still need to get dressed.”
“Not on my account,” he joked! I love this special relationship I have with this man who is so important to keeping a property in Paris running smoothly! He’s a small man who speaks no English and speaks French so rapidly that the average foreign ear would have a tough time understanding him. Over the years, my own ear has become more in-tune and I manage to get about 85% of what he says.
An hour later, Monsieur Cohen knocked at the door, took one look at the dripping heater, closed the water valve of the heater, pulled out the plug and said he’d return Monday morning with the necessary equipment to fix it. Until then, no hot baths! Ugh!
Later that afternoon I sent him a text message: “What time on Monday will you come?”
“Six-thirty a.m.,” he wrote.
“Are you serious?”
“I can, but it’s a bit early. How about 7:30?”
“LOL, just joking. 8:30 is good.”
“Whew! Okay. I’ll be here,” I gladly agree.
All this was in French, you understand. Luckily Siri understands my bad French and corrects it, and when typing in iMessage, it fixes it, too. Who needs to study French when you have such modern technology?
Thanks to refilling an electric “bouilloir” (water boiler) about 10 times and adding its contents to some cold, I had a fairly warm bubbly bath on Sunday morning.
(Words to the wise: hire a Jewish plumber who charges a lot of money. He’ll be worth his weight in gold. Patrick Cohen Plomberie Chauffage, 24 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 75011 Paris, Phone +33 1 47 00 78 73.)
Before the weekend was up, La Nuit des Musées celebrated its 12th edition Saturday night with many museums open from 6 p.m. till midnight, free of charge and fully open to the public. While the dripping continued into the bucket, and after dinner and drinks at Club Rayé with friends, we took a small tour through the enormous Musée des Arts et Métiers not far away.
It’s a building I pass regularly, but don’t venture into very often. The setting is the priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs which underwent massive renovation in 1990 to accommodate the museum collection of over 80,000 objects and 15,000 drawings. What is most impressive is the Foucault pendulum, around which there was a big crowd listening to a docent give an explanation. There is also an original model of the Statue of Liberty by Auguste Bartholdi at the entry and in the abbey, Clément Ader’s Avion III and Louis Blériot’s Blériot XI.
Make it a stop during your next visit, but allow lots of time to see the insanely large collection…and hope that your bucket doesn’t runneth over.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group
(in a Bubble Bath…this time in Pisa, March 2014)
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