Every New Yorker needs a Superman

Who's your super man?

Before my life in Manhattan, I’d lived in houses for almost a decade. Along with home ownership came the obvious repairs and improvements, which were daunting and costly. Every night or weekend was dedicated to a new or ongoing project, which often left little free time.
 
After five years as a New Yorker, I struggle to remember those exhausting weekends playing house. No more weed-pulling, leaf-raking, touch-up painting or managing contractors on Saturdays and Sundays. My weekends in the City That Never Sleeps are filled with as much sleep as needed. Relaxation, park visits and other fun-filled activities like Broadway and sidewalk wine sipping have replaced the drudgery.
 
My first apartment in New York was in a hi-rise tower with more than 200 units and a building staff larger than some companies I’d worked for. I learned the way that life happens here, and I adjusted quickly. From checking my 3×6 inch mail slot daily, to tipping out doormen during the holiday season, for the first few years, I felt like I was visiting Mars, or living in fiction.  
 
I learned quickly that Michael and I no longer ruled the roost. All at once, a team of people existed and became part of our daily routines. I found myself in communication with a management company who left weekly notices under my door, a board of directors who decided on the repairs and handled the finances of the co-op, several doormen standing guard, maintenance men, porters, and of course the guy who keeps it all under control while barely breaking a sweat: THE SUPER.
 
Probably millions of New Yorkers can vouch for the importance of great super when living in New York City. The superintendent keeps the halls and common spaces clean, shovels the ice and snow, and maintains the systems and the landscaping. Supers will walk your dog, feed your cat, eliminate creepy crawly things, and reluctantly listen to your problems. An honest, organized, highly capable super makes life in the Big Apple more bearable. The super is the king of kings, the head honcho, the big mahoff.
 
My super travels from apartment to apartment Monday through Friday, handling everything from minor tasks to emergencies. In three years of living here, I’ve yet to see him frazzled, and that includes the threat of Hurricane Irene knocking on our door last summer.
 
Late last night after Michael left town, the bathroom sink stopped draining and started leaking underneath. At midnight, I yanked everything out from under the vanity, dried up the mess, and brushed my teeth in the kitchen. If this plumbing debacle had occurred just a day earlier, Mikey Fix-It Kaler would’ve been able to step in with his tool pouch and take care of business, but timing wasn’t on my side. I needed to figure this out, and fast. Married to a handyman for a decade plus had eliminated even the slightest home improvement challenges. I’d become spoiled.
 
“It’s the “P-trap. You’ll need to call Julio in the morning.” No sound of concern came from the other end of the phone line and he insisted it was an easy fix. Julio is our super, and he’s saved the day on numerous occasions. Surely, he could end the leak and get the water running downhill again.
 
But I had just one question,  “What in the H is a P-trap?”  Since it was a little too late at midnight for plumbing 101, I figured I’d ask another time.

Julio is a super extraordinaire. He’s much more than a building manager. I like to call him ‘Superman’. Calm, cool, and collected, he enters the apartment each time with his handy toolbox and mechanical contraptions. Within thirty minutes, all is back to normal for as normal as a 100-year-old apartment can be. Then he packs up and is off to another residence to save someone else’s day and often prevent catastrophe. On top of his knowledge and efficiency, I am impressed that he never gets dirty.
 
Julio came by this morning with his bag of tricks and gadgets, and made the repair in twenty minutes. It was probably elementary for a jack-of-all-trades or a handyman with a wrench, but not for someone like me whose biggest tool is a flatiron. Obviously, I slept through mechanical systems class in interior design school. I don’t know a P-trap from a mousetrap and I have zero contractor skills, but what I lack in plumbing and electrical abilities, I make up for in decorating.
 
When my husband returns from his trip, I want a lesson in plumbing basics. No worries, I’m not going to attempt to play house again like the old days before life in Manhattan. I’ll leave the playing and the fixing to Julio. My Superman knows best.
 
 
For more city stories, follow me on Twitter, or on Tracy’s New York Life.
 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Train selfie star who got kicked in the…

  A 22-year-old Canadian man who posted a video of himself getting kicked in the head by a train conductor is set to cash in…

National

Call of Duty hoaxer blamed for $100K SWAT…

A heavilly-armed SWAT team and an army of police officers stormed a Long Island home fearing a grisly double homicide – only to find it…

National

Minnie Driver tweets naked celebrity snap to 'shut…

Actress Minnie Driver has responded to bitchy critics who sniped about her bikini body by Tweeting a naked picture of herself. The 44-year-old star of…

National

American middle classes no longer world's richest (guess…

America's middle classes are no longer the richest in the world – having been overtaken in the wealth stakes by their Canadian counterparts. For almost…

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

The Word

What we learned from the premiere of 'True…

Does watching someone's marriage implode make for great TV? The show runners at "True Tori" think Tori Spelling's heartbreak is hot stuff indeed.

NHL

Lundqvist, Rangers take control as Flyers falter in…

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist turned away 31 Flyers shots to give the Blueshirts the series edge with a 4-1 victory Tuesday nigh

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

NBA

Breaking down the Sixers top draft options

With the NBA Playoffs now in full force, there’s only one thing on the mind of Sixers fans at the moment -- the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery.

MLB

Metro one-on-one: Q&A with Phillies centerfielder Ben Revere

Charlie Manuel used to say that the Phillies go as Jimmy Rollins goes. Well, Ryne Sandberg might have a new Phillies catalyst, Ben Revere, in his midst.

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.