The first inkling of a problem was water near the washing machine. I run the machine after 1 a.m. because the electricity is cheaper.
Then Rick noticed the toilet was not flushing properly but it was working but slowly, ever so slowly.
As a single woman for decades, incompetent in fixing much, my first response is to call in a plumber or whoever can fix it. (My housemate J. is good at fixing stuff). Rick is a competent male, who can fix things. For years when I lived with B.
he always wanted to fix things like the muffler on the car rather than go to a garage. Five mufflers later I took the car to Midas. That was one example of many.
Rick went out and bought a declogging something or other. Instead of helping, water backed up into the shower.
About this time a man came to analyze the electrical efficiency of the apartment for our landlady. He was running around the flat putting a red instrument to the wall and writing notes on a tablet.
Meanwhile I went upstairs to use my landlady's toilet and wondered when I could fix breakfast. It was 10:30.
Water, not clean water, was now running out of the shower drain.
Despite Rick's frantic bailing, the water went out of the bathroom into the foyer and into the kitchen.
The street out front was filthy with the water from our house.
At this point a friend came in and said she had a problem. She couldn't remember any names even people she talked to yesterday.
I had her lie down and went to call SAMU (the ambulance service). Only the phone wasn't working.
Because of the thick stone walls (almost a foot) we couldn't get any bars on the mobiles.
Fortunately La Noisette, the café, is only a few doors down the street.
Sophie, the waitress, dialed the SAMU number and they understood everything I said except for the name of the street. Vermeille. Sophie took the phone and said Vermeille then handed the phone back to me.
Back at the house the local government service that cleans out pipes had arrived and started cleaning out the main drain pipe outside the front door. Its clogging was the problem nothing within the house. He also washed down the street which had resemblance to a running sewer returning it to its normal almost pristine state.
He left and shortly after the ambulance arrived. The two attendants only spoke French and it was a hodge podge of languages.
Rick by this point had fixed the telephone. How is a bit of a mystery.
The drivers, thanks to wonderful French system, were able to call back to the central office, who had all my friends records, including the name of her doctor, whom they contacted. He said he would meet them at the hospital.
While Rick sanitized the floor, I went to a mutual friend to update her. Attempts to telephone the hospital meant being on hold and on hold and on hold and listening to messages thanking me for my patience (what patience?) in French, Spanish and English. Finally someone reported that my friend was still in Urgence and put me thru to a phone that rang and rang and rang and rang.
We gave up and our mutual friend has headed off to the hospital to check out the situation.
It finally did condescend to heat up so that I could prepare lunch having given up all hope of breakfast. By 15:30 we did eat.
We are now waiting news of our friend, the house is back to normal and Rick is working against his deadline.
It has not been a good day.