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Ruining the Shower to Pass Inspection

February 11, 2016

Yesterday, the Bowery Mission Transitional Center had another Callahan inspection, which, as my readers know, is a joke. One of the maintenance staff’s favorite things to do is to paint the bottom of the shower stalls to cover the mildew (one of my coworkers said this is typical of NYCHA maintenance, as well), which requires each of the three showers on the floor to be shut down for several days. The showers were then put on lockdown at 7 AM, which means it was a good thing that I managed to get my shower in before breakfast. I used my non-preferred shower because the one I usually use, which is directly across from my room, had the knob removed. I’m not crazy about the one next to it because I’ve had issues getting the water hot enough, although this was not a problem yesterday, and because the long handle on the shower is easy to knock with your arm and cause the water to become suddenly too hot or too cold.

Apparently, the maintenance staff thought that there was too much soap scum on the knob and decided to replace it rather than wash it. When I went in the shower this morning, there was a brand new faux-crystalline knob on the wall. When I turned it toward hot, I got nothing but Ice cold water, so I turned it to full heat, and it never got warmer. I then turned it toward the col, and the water got hot, scalding hot. The only way to get the water to an even marginally tolerable (but still too hot) temperature was to have it almost at the center, which severely weakened the flow.

Add to this that the paint was still not dry, so my shower shoes were repeatedly glued to the floor, and I had to pull very hard to get them up. When I got back to my room, My hands got covered with paint when I removed my shower shoes, and my fingers were bonding together. Once I got on my socks and dry slippers, I had to spend more than five minutes scrubbing my hands off, but much of the paint did not come off. It is almost, but not quite, gone as I type this. After I got dressed and ready for work, I filled out a maintenance request for the repair of the shower knob because of its failure to operate properly, which was not an issue before the knob was replaced. I seriously doubt this will be addressed, any more than the request to repair the lock on the toilet room was honored even though the lock parts were still there at the time that I placed it, or the request to fix the seat that will not stay up and thus constantly has urine on it. I admit I am less than willing to hold up public toilet seats that do this, but since I actually live in this place, I do so when the other toilets aren’t available. I even caught a guy doing this with the door open. I wanted to beat his ass right there, but I honestly didn’t even think to do that until I had gone in the other restroom, because I don’t really have violent impulses, so it came to mind only as an overkill solution to the problem.

To add insult to injury, I saw the bus go by as I was walking to it (the bus to the subway I need to take to work is the next avenue over), and I was fifteen minutes late to work, but I surely would have been on that bus if I had not had the unforeseen need to scrub paint of my hands or fill out a request to fix incompetent maintenance by paid staff who deserve to be let go, based on my experiences with being let go, not for concrete reasons, but for failing to read the mind of my employer, which came up as an issue at work today because the supervisory staff was trying to blame the temps for not knowing information to which they have not made us privy. I was not even leading the argument on this one, but nevertheless, the demand of white collar workers to be mind readers is so often used as an excuse to replace talent, when concrete things done wrong by customer service staff never seems to be grounds for termination, at least when I take the brunt of it, e.g. Camille at TD Bank, who was still working there as of last week, in spite of my criticism of her inability to do a basic task of the job that all other tellers do regularly.

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