I came this time with a list of the small repairs that still needed to be done in my house, many minor and some more important. With both a leak from the bidet and a leak under the kitchen sink, it was time to call Bruno—the same plumber who helped me with installing my kitchen 3 years ago, and replaced my toilet tank last year. He was working on a house nearby (Paola’s and Leonardo’s old house, now being renovated to become a vacation rental), and came over later on the same day that I called him with my two problems.
The trap under the sink had been replaced already, by a plumber whose specialty it was to service and give the safety inspection to the “caldaia,” the on-demand hot water heater. I’m not sure exactly how he got under my sink a couple of years ago, fixing the leaking trap, but he put the new piece on crooked, and it had slowly leaked ever since. I contained the leak by making sure that the garbage can was always under the trap to collect any drips, but I wanted it fixed.
Bruno came over, plopped down his tool bag, and went to work. Because the pipe was plastic, I had been afraid to try fixing it myself and possibly making the problem a bigger one—and others who had tried only ended up getting it back on crooked, too—perhaps cross-threaded? Bruno mumbled something about the caldaia guy sticking to what he knew, and leaving plumbing for real plumbers, and then pulled off the trap, replaced the part, and got it to seal permanently—with a little silicone on the joint for good measure.
Next, on to the bathroom and the bidet. Each time the cold water faucet was turned on, water leaked onto the floor, forming a big puddle. In addition, the bidet was not attached to the floor, and rocked from side to side when being used. I wanted the leak fixed, and also to have the bidet affixed to the floor—so Bruno set to work. (In 2011, a Harvard professor on his way to a water purification conference in Puglia walked across the piazza, and I noticed that he was speaking English. After a short conversation, he and his companion—because he was legally blind, and he needed a guide to help him walk around safely—were drinking liquor at midnight at my kitchen table. He explained that his son living and teaching in England had discovered that we without bidets were considered to be living our lives with “nasty bums!” I never forgot his funny story and “nasty bums,” have repeated the story often, and now it was time to fix my bidet.)
The faucet had to come apart to get to the problem, and then Bruno ringed the floor around the base of the bidet with a ribbon on silicone caulking, attaching it to the floor permanently. Leonardo came along, to talk to Bruno about the job at my house, and to ask about how the remodel was going on the former family house.
Soon the jobs were finished, I had a 24-hour wait for the silicone caulking to set up firmly for the bidet, and two of the repairs on my “To Do” list were crossed off—for only €40, both were completed in an hour by Bruno. My Italian is improving almost to the point that Leonardo’s intervention is not necessary, but he’d never be comfortable with me alone with workmen, and wants to be assured that I’m being charged a fair price. Bruno always gets the problem fixed in a jiffy, and this was no exception. Finally, my bidet and kitchen sink were both back in working order.