Thursday, November 24, 2005

Man DIY. Revenge of the Plumbing.

Ok, it’s been an interesting couple of days.

Picture the scene. It’s the about 7am onTuesday. As usual, I didn’t sleep at night, planning to sleep during the day. (For those that’s don’t know, Sunny works nights, so I stay up at night so we stay on the same schedule).

However, I completely forget that Tuesday is payday, and therefore bill-paying day. The result is, I get about 4 hours sleep.

No matter, I think, plenty of time to sleep that night.

However, I got completely caught up playing ‘Sid Meier’s Pirates’, an absolutely amazing game, resulting in me not sleeping that night either.

Now, this isn’t unusual. I very rarely go to be before 7am, I normally get to bed any time between 6am and 11am, getting up around 3pm.

So I glance at the clock, and decide to get into bed.

The temperature in the bedroom feels like it’s about minus 10. The electric blanket goes on, and after a short, sharp scream as bare skin hits the ice-block mattress, I settle in. The electric blanket takes about a half hour to make the bed sleepable, and I eventually nod off.


Sleepy Time…

Sunny’s voice…

Wait? Did I just say Sunny’s voice? I glance, bleary eyed at the clock. It’s just coming up to 10am. I’ve been asleep for about 2 hours. I only slept for four hours the day before! I’d been awake for 24 straight hours. What is she thinking.

So there I am, curled up in my ultra comfortable, electrically heated cotton cocoon, and she speaks:

“Sweetie? The cold burst a water pipe up at Mommy’s house, and we’ve had to cut the water to the entire property. You need to go up there and help Frank fix it.”

One word entered my head. A word that can not be repeated, ever.

So I drag myself out of my lovely warm bed, to discover the temperature has dropped even further (In case you’re worried, it’s ok, my testicles descended again a few hours later). I drag on some clothes and head up there.

At this point, I wasn’t terrible bothered. Frank (My step-son) is incredibly good at this sort of thing, so I figure we’ll have it fixed in an hour, and I can go back to bed.

I almost heard fate laugh at me.

It turns out that the waterpipe that burst was about 4 feet underground. Also, the pipe is located at the side of the house, at the top of a hill, with a 50 degree incline. Digging 4 feet down, while trying to keep your balance isn’t fun.

Oh, and did I mention we had to cut down a tree and a bloody great Holly bush (Nice ‘n’ spiky) to get to where we needed to dig?

Anyway, a couple of hours later, we’ve dug the hole. Then we just have the problem of moving the 200lb brick casing so we can get to the pipe.

It was concreted down.

Cue the sledgehammers.

Smack a brick, grab a brick, hand it to frank to put in a pile.

A few minutes later, I hand him a brick, he glances at it, and throws it down like it’s red hot.

Out of a hole in the brick slithers a 6 inch Copperhead snake. Not big, but incredible, incredibly venomous. The kind of snake that an untreated bite from can kill you.

Squealing like little girls, we go postal on the thing. The bloody thing ended up in three pieces and was still effing moving!

A stout whack to its head with a 40lb lump hammer sorted it out.

We both decided we’d wear out thick leather work gloves out of that, and for some reason, the removal of the rest of the bricks took twice as long.

Finally we reach the pipe.

It’s broken in the worst possible place. Cue a trip to Lowes for a length of PVC pipe, a couple of couplings, a stop-valve, and a new huge PVC pipe to replace the brick housing (You need something to surround it so you can reach down and turn the valve if you need to.)

However, this means we have to cut the pipe to length, prime and glue one end in place, and then get the other side primed, glued and placed before the part dries.

We didn’t make it. One side stuck irreversibly before we could get the other end in.

Cue second trip to Lowes for two more couplings.

We try again, and almost the same thing happens.

Cue third trip to Lowes.

I won’t bore you with the details, but it took us 8 hours in the freezing cold just to get the new pipe in place. We still had two hours to wait for the glue to fully cure, so came home to wait. My Brother in Law said he’d come over when he finished work to turn the water on and check it.

He did, and it leaked.

The only thing that made me feel a little better is that he tried to fix it today, it took him a couple of hours…and his job leaked as well.

At least the water’s back on. Two days being unable to use the toilet will make you very happy to get the water turned back on.


OzzyC said...

When I bought my house, I knew that I'd have to do minor repair jobs around the house, but I never expected that I'd turn into an unpaid plumber. Well, that's what's happened over the last five-odd years

rayray said...

You should get a medal, working in that sub-Arcic weather enduring what you did!
Or at least 'mom' cooked meals for a month.

poor snakey

MC Etcher said...

Good grief! What an awful way to spend the day. You're a great in-law, to help out with something like that.

I don't know that I would be as helpful. Having absolutely no mechanical experience helps excuse me from such things, thank goodness. And the fact that my nearest in-law is 2500 miles away helps too.

Paulius said...

Actually, I'm living on my mother-in-law's property, and we're paying a measly $25 a week rent...and we only started paying that a month ago!

Having to do a little DIY in the cold once in a while is only fair.