So, last night, we went to bed very, very late, for Reasons. I completed a 13-part step of a project, and am SO glad I did. There's more to do on it, and other projects, but I could and did knock this one out.
This morning, a bit before 10am, I woke to the sound of water. My first thought was that the toilet was on continuous flush, which occasionally happens and has a relatively easy fix: just jiggle the handle on the toilet.
I walked to the bathroom and saw the toilet overflowing into the hall and called for mneme. Fortunately, he woke up at once.
We had a whole lot of messy water spilling, a foot of water in the bathtub, a dwindling supply of paper towels, and no mop. mneme called for a bucket, which we didn't exactly have -- but we did have an unused waste receptacle which was sufficiently bucket like to buy enough time for me to put on a bathrobe and look for a neighbor with a mop or a clue of whom to call.
Our apartment is on the ground floor, right next to the laundry room. A woman was in it, and, while she didn't have the number we needed, she did know who we were supposed to call, and she spotted a mop in the laundry room.
One of the neighbors was in and awake, and extremely gracious. He loaned us a bucket, gave us the number of the superintendent, let us use his bathroom and wash off our hands and feet, and let us dump a bucket of bailed water down his toilet. All of this took place in and around phoning the superintendent, leaving a message for him, continuing to clean, putting on actual clothing, and so on.
The superintendent arrived, took one look, said something to the effect that he saw what was going on, and left.
Now, he left to do exactly the right thing, to wit, something involving loosening a valve so that the overflowing would stop. He wasted neither words nor time on this. And he returned with help, approrpiate equipment, and explanations.
Until we knew all of that, of course, we were somewhat frantic, to put it mildly. We had a full wastebasket of dirty water, too heavy to carry easily, and no clear idea of where to put it. mneme tried bailing into the kitchen sink, but this resulted in the water coming back up in the toilet, near as we could tell.
At this point, mneme had bailed enough that things were not currently overflowing, but had also figured out that this was not something we had control over. When someone above us flushed, it would back up more.
About this point, it started draining, and this is when we realized that the superintendent wasn't in the gathering equipment stage, but in the aggressively fixing the problem stage. He arrived and confirmed mneme's take on things. The bathroom and kitchen for the whole column of apartments is on one set of pipes. So, yes, as mneme noted, our ground floor apartment is the early warning sign for the building. Yuck.
Mind, an early warning sign for us is the sink and bathtub taking long to drain. The superintendent confirmed that it couldn't hurt to let him know if that started happening again. He and one of the building's porters snaked everything out and cleaned up what they could.
They also told us that, yes, we could absolutely throw our dirty water onto the roof of the garage (which is where out the window leads), and we could and should put our heavy, drippy garbage in the laundry room garbage bins. Yes, there's a sign saying not to, but this was an emergency.
The superintendent did ask us to call the official management number for such things in the future, not his official number. We apologized and explained that this had been the one we were given, and we asked what the correct number was.
He didn't know, but he found a sign that he pointed out to me, saying that that was where the number was. I regret not knowing this, but I find I cannot feel too foolish given that the sign said:
This Building Is Managed By
NAME OF MANAGEMENT COMPANY
address and phone number of same
And the sign did NOT say:
For building emergencies, call [number]
The bathroom is now usable, and the kitchen sink should be as well. I do want us to clean the hallway by the bathroom and the floor of the hallway closets, and I'm very glad indeed that mneme made it a priority to get the boxes of Stuff in them and on the floor unpacked months ago.