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We've been having a problem at home with a toilet, and each of our children has been accused and convicted without trial at least once, but I still don't know what’s wrong with it.  Let's just say I should have bought a case of the wax rings, as many times as I've taken the toilet off and put it back on.  If I never have to clean that wax off stuff again, that will be soon enough.

I now understand why plumbers charge what they charge.
 
This project reminds me of one of my least favorite management experiences.  One early summer evening we had some torrential rainstorms, and our dispatcher called me to tell me the roof was leaking in the offices.  This was a long-standing problem.  The building was old and had a flat roof, and the drains would clog with leaves.  The water level would then rise high enough that it would go over the sheet metal that curled up along the interior walls of the roof.

My first question was, "Did you call Todd?"  Todd was the owner, and she had, and he had told her to have one of the drivers climb up onto the roof to clear the drain.  This was a 2-story building.  The driver, a very nice, rather portly young man, made it halfway up the ladder, thought about our commission-based pay system, and climbed back down.  I told her to call Todd back and emphasize the need for his presence.

I hung up the phone, cursed to myself for a few minutes, got in my car, and drove to work.

The dispatch office looked like the house in The Cat In The Hat a few pages before the mother returns home.  Receptacles of all kinds balanced on broomsticks, on chairs with wheels, and on computer monitors, half-full of rainwater and filling quickly, and a goldfish barking orders.  The dispatcher was emptying one receptacle as another filled.  Window blinds had been rearranged.  Some of the light bulbs were out or flickering.  I was thinking about the huge buckets that were on the ceiling above the office, placed there to catch the water as it leaked in, that were likely ready to break through.  Miraculously, none of the computer equipment had been damaged.  And she was still taking calls.

Getting onto the roof was a problem:
1.  The ladder was just long enough to reach the roof, if you had a 2-degree angle between the bottom of the ladder and the side of the building.
2.  I am terrified of heights.
3.  There was lightning.
4.  Did I mention there was lightning?

I got onto the roof by climbing onto an intermediate roof, pulling the ladder up with me, carefully walking on the tin-covered 2x4 roof supports to an adjacent wall, and then placing the ladder on a reinforced area where I could make it up onto the main roof.  Up on the roof, I found Lake Michigan.  I think I saw a salmon returning to its spawning ground.  It was KNEE-DEEP where the drain was.  I reached down and dug out the primordial ooze with my hands.  The current almost took me down when the drain cleared.  As I'm standing there, on top of a metal roof, knee-deep in water, I realize the lightning isn't that far off, and I'm thinking, "This is why I got into management."

The view of the city was nice, however.

As with all climbing efforts, the trip down was much worse than the trip up, especially now that the building was 3 feet taller with the weight of all the water removed.

Have a safe and profitable week.

Sincerely,
Nick Kemper
www.TowPartsNow.com





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