Friday, April 11, 2014

Conquering the plagues

I have had my own plagues for Pesach, only two so far, termites and floods.  In my little studio, that is a basement (although with windows around the top of the walls), I had an infestation of termites and repeated floods. 
First the termites, it seems that when the studio was built the doorposts were extended through the ceramic floor tiles into the earth.  This provided a major highway for termites that in Israel nest in the ground and find wooden doorposts in the earth an ideal entry into human habitations.  I am told that now the building codes do not allow this, but this major mistake in building has cost me.  Fortunately for me, although I ignored the early signs of piles of wood dust around the doorposts, when I woke up to it, only the doorposts had been damaged.  I could find no damage anywhere else except to the base of a bookcase next to an inner door, that I was able to repair.  I cut off the infected parts and added metal legs.  Then I had the full anti-termite treatment, when they came in and drilled holes every foot or so around the walls of the rooms and pumped in a poison that the termites take into their nest and it kills them off.  Now I have to remove and repair the damage to the door posts.  Two doorways were affected and they must be replaced, and two others need to be cut off at the bottom and sealed from the earth with ceramic tile and silicone caulk.  All this costs money, a responsibility of ownership.
As for the floods, I have been in this studio for about 5 years and we only had occasional floods when it rained very heavily, not a significant problem.  But, a few months ago we started getting floods of sewage even when there was no rain.  This was so unpleasant that some experts were called in to investigate, and the conclusion was that the original plans for the sewers under the building had not been followed, but the connection had been made lower than the main city drain.  As new buildings go up so the amount of sewage exceeds the drain's capacity and it flows back into our building.  A meeting of the va'ad habayit (building committee) was called and we agreed to pay whatever was needed to carry out the work to prevent this happening.  In the meantime we covered the two drains in our area with plastic covers and sealed them with caulk and then I put a heavy stone building block on top of the one in my toilet/ shower area in case of pressure.  I never actually use the shower, but the problem is that if the drains back up again then it will have to come out somewhere else, I hope not in my area. 
So far I have conquered two plagues.  Then I had water dripping from the tap under the sink in my studio, so I called a plumber and he replaced the tap/faucet, for a price.  What's next?  I have to consult the Haggadah.


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