George came to fix the roof. He didn't call again; I heard mutterings and bangings coming from the landing outside my door and opened to door to find, sure enough, George attempting to negotiate my storage bins to climb the ladder to the roof. Hi George.
His coworker (that sounds wrong for handymen - colleague? worse. helper? demeaning. associate? No, George is not to my current knowledge, a mob boss) looked at my bedroom ceiling and suggested they rip a 4x6ft hole directly above my bed to get a better view of the issue. He'd put a tarp down, not to worry. George did not agree, that's just great George.
When the wet spot in the ceiling first turned into a full on leak, you know the kind where there's actually dripping water and falling plaster and general oh me oh my and triumphant bed movings the water seemed quite nonthreatening. A nice clear liquid in the emergency Tupperware place against the wall.
George and accomplice really start getting going. There's a cord run up through the trapdoor and some nice screeching sounds of power tools connecting with a diverse mix of roof meets my bedroom ceiling.
A weird tingle in the back of my throat.
Sound of crunching.
Spatter pat pat. Must be removing materials or something?
I feel that unmistakable internal alarm bell. Something is out of place. Honey, are you sure you turned off the stove?
I check the bedroom.
There is a gush of brown, cloudy liquid falling neatly onto the side of my headboard and spattering onto the corner of my very white sheets.
I pull the bed another two feet out of the corner and put down a bigger bucket. The ceiling spot has come from humble beginning as a bit of cracked plaster to a truly appalling gaping vortex. A gash opening into some netherworld of rotting insulation and debris.
So...fuck, George...buddy....so how about that tarp?
You know it's not George's fault. It's been like that, I just couldn't see it. It's not until you start cutting in there from above with a sawzall that the dirt comes out (dear Miss God I love when I to use colloquialisms in a sentence that conveys their original meaning and their metaphor at the same time, some sort of reverse double-entendre, an intendre? I'll see myself out).
It's easy to look at the little problem on the ceiling and despite knowing that it's probably a lot worse underneath, that doesn't really prepare you for the reality when the truth gets on your bedsheets. Fixing things is messy. If you can't start before things start to smell inside, the least you can do is expect them to get a lot worse before they get better. And dear God, put down that tarp, anyway.
After George left I called my dentist, my filling has been hurting.