Saturday, October 22, 2011

*&^%$# vazamento!!

It's 10:45 pm on a Saturday night.  And I'm blogging about a leak.  Our friendly little vazamento.

Yes, that's how exciting life is around here.

I've mentioned before that we have a leak in the "maid's" bathroom.  When we moved in, it was all nice and freshly painted.  Within a few weeks, we started to see a wet spot.  It grew and grew, and along with it, in our nice, balmy climate, grew some mold.  "Mofo."  I think that the word "mofo"is a very good, descriptive word.  We complained to the sindica (the "super" of the building.  If you live in Brazil, it is VERY important to know who your sindico/sindica is.  They can be VERY helpful if they want to).  She told us that this problem had been going on for over a year.  The owner of the upstairs apartment essentially does not want to own up to the fact that there is water leaking from his pipes.  He refuses to acknowledge responsibility, and everyone down the line throws up their hands and says they can't do anything.  The rental company that he works with can't do anything.  The rental company that we work with can't do anything.  The owner of our apartment can't do anything. 

But they have yet to encounter the wrath of an angry American. 

We started asking for advice from our circle of friends shortly after this happened.  We found out that our rental company is the only party that we should have to deal with, and it is their legal responsibility (per our contract) for them to address problems in the apartment, and resolve them.  So, I've been trying to figure out who has any power at the rental company.  Or should I say, who actually gets things done.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get to that person. 

But yesterday, water started dripping into the bathroom.  This was the last straw for my husband.  He called the so called "fix-it" guy at the rental company, and essentially demanded that he come over on Saturday morning.  I then went to the owner of the apartment (who happens to live in our building), and told her about what had been happening.  This morning, the owner, the "fix-it" guy and I had a little meeting in our apartment, while they watched the water drip from the ceiling.  It went something like this:

Fix-it guy:  "This is such a difficult problem, and I'm working so hard.  This has to be resolved.  Blah blah blah blah, nice words, empty promises, more nice words, and so on........."
Owner:  "Listen Mr. Fix-it guy.  You are a nice person, you work for a nice company.  I know the owner of your company.  It is Dr. So and So.  Dr. So and So is like a brother with the owner of the  apartment upstairs.  They are very close.  You need to talk to these people, and help get this resolved."
Fix-it guy: "Oh yes yes, blah blah blah.  The senhora is right.  The other senhora is right.  This is bad for the children.  Blah blah blah...."
Owner:  "Listen again Mr. Fix-it." (with a very slightly raised voice).  "This can't go on.  This is bad. Listen to me, I'm shouting I'm so upset (she was only talking a little bit louder, but for a Mineiro, this is shouting). 
Me:  "You me represent.  This is bad.  I no pay.  You have to contract follow. "
Fix-it guy:  "The senhora is right.  This has to be resolved this week.  If it isn't resolved, I personally will go into the upstairs apartment, break the tiles and fix the leak." 
Me:  "If no fixed this week, me find lawyer."
Owner:  "My brother is a lawyer, and I've already talked to him.  He could help, my little dear one."

And so on, and so on.  Then we went upstairs, spent 20 minutes staring into the service bathroom for the upstairs apartment (no sign of any leakage.  But would you believe it, the leak increases on Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays after the maid comes and uses the bathroom.  Go figure).  There was a lot of talking, a lot of blah blah blah.  But, this meeting ended with me saying in my poor Portuguese "THIS HAS TO BE RESOLVED THIS WEEK."  And Fix it guy and Owner apparently understanding. 

I don't believe that it will be resolved, and unfortunately, I think we may have to resort to getting with a lawyer.  But despite the frustration, I do feel a little bit better.  I fully expect to have an ongoing uphill battle with this, but at least the owner is on our side, and she "shouted" at the Fix-it guy. 

Nossa senhora!


  1. well, it is a promising development. We had similar issues at one of our rental houses (so bad that we had to move out of our bedroom and sleep in another room for 2 weeks!). Just keep hounding. I loved your description of your own lines in the conversation, too funny!

  2. Love how you described the conversation! What a good writer you are! Hope it's fixed by now.