Benny is the superintendent for our building. As supers go, Benny is okay, especially given the fact that we're in a rent stabilized apartment, which often means that the landlord has given the super explicit instructions to ignore any tenant request that does not have the word "fire" in it. He's quick with disaster management (e.g. sudden torrential ceiling leaks, of which we've had three), and over the three years that we've been in the building, he's really developed his amateur general contractor skills, most notably during the epic re-painting of the entire common space of the apartment building, which involved smashing what we affectionately referred to as the "barf-tastic" stucco finish on the walls, hanging sheet rock, and painting over the entire new surface in what Benny said was "linen white" color paint. Benny is originally from Puerto Rico and even though he's clearly in his late 50's and has a bit of a beer belly, he still strikes me as the kind of man who could really take care of himself in a fist fight, which is why, in one of my brief conversations with him about the building renovations, I was charmed by both the fact that he bothered to note the official shade of white he was using and his pronunciation of it: "leeenaan whayt."
Our downstairs neighbors have had a problem with a very slow leak in their bathroom ceiling and because there is a proportional relationship between the level of threat and the speed of response, it took Benny a while to address the issue. I was pretty sure that because our bathtub has a hole in the tilework right where the cold water faucet comes out of the wall, water from our showering was dripping down to the space underneath our bathtub - to our neighbor's bathroom ceiling, in other words. Sometimes when I get in the shower I honestly think to myself that this could be the time that the weight of my body causes the rotted-out wooden floorboards underneath the bathtub to give way, causing the entire bathtub to fall through the ceiling into our downstairs neighbor's bathroom. In fact, several months ago Todd drew a line on the wall to chart any new sinking of the bathroom floor.
Benny stopped by a few days ago to address the issue of our neighbor's ceiling leak. Noting the hole in the tile, he did what he had actually done a few months ago when he stopped by our apartment to fix an unrelated bathroom problem: He stuffed toilet paper in the hole. Oh, yes.
To be fair, I think this time he mixed some caulk in with the toilet paper. I can't really tell and I don't want to poke it because I'm afraid of pushing it into the hole. We'll just have to wait and see if the seal dissolves after a few showers.