Monday, January 04, 2010

It never rains…

So, this morning I was out of bed at around 9am, and I was having what can only be described as a really good day.

While Sunny was sleeping in I played an hour or so of Modern Warfare 2 when I thought I heard the sound of rain. I looked out of the window…but the sky was clear blue and the sun was shining. I shrugged. Sometimes when it's windy, the sound of the wind going through the trees and the dead leaves blowing around can sound like rain.

Later, when Sunny got up, we curled up on the couch and watched a few episodes of Doctor Who. After a while, I went to make coffee and noticed the water pressure was a little low. I thought nothing of it.

Then, at around 4pm, just as the sun was beginning to set and the temperature dropped from f**king freezing, to 'Jesus-Christ-Bananas-it's-cold', Sunny came back from the bathroom and said:

"I think a water pipe's broken. I can hear water running under the house."

I went outside to find the yard on one entire side of the house completely waterlogged, and a glance under the skirting showed a water pipe literally gushing everywhere.


It appears that fate has heard me mention on numerous occasions that I know nothing about home maintenance (especially plumbing) and decided I was going to have a crash course.

My heart sank. I don't know if you've ever been underneath your house, but it's not a pleasant place. What's even worse is an old house that's out in the country. In the summer time I know for a fact that not only is the underside of our house unpleasant and dirty, it's also home to spiders, snakes and more recently, a couple of groundhogs.

So I counted my lucky stars when I pulled aside the skirting and saw that the pipe was not a main water pipe and easily fixable. We used to have an outside spigot for a garden hose that had broken off and had been capped. It was that pipe that had burst and it was only about six feet from the edge of the house…and from when the spigot broke off, I had a rough idea of how to fix it.

The repair, it turned out, was actually very easy. I just cut off the damaged portion of the pipe, primed the end and the cap and cemented it into place.

The downside, of course, was that I was doing all this while lying on my stomach in a very cramped, dirty and all together unpleasant space. Just to make things a little more awesome, I was doing this with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees and I was lying in about an inch of freezing cold muddy water.

Oh, and a little hint for you… if you ever have to work with PVC pipe cement, don't open the bottle and leave it open while you work when the floor joists and cramped conditions mean you're essentially working in a 2 foot by 2 foot by 1 foot high box. After 30 seconds I was a little light headed. By the time I was finished I was high as a kite and had a splitting headache.

So, of course, I come back into the house and I'm freezing cold, soaking wet and covered in crap from under the house. I couldn't wait to get out of my clothes and into a nice hot shower…and that's when I remembered that we had to turn the hot water heater off so it wouldn't burn out…and it wouldn't do me any good anyway because the PVC cement takes two hours to set up. So I just had to dry myself off as best I could and sit covered in crap until we could turn the water back on.

Then, just after we'd turned the water on, and I'd convinced myself the cap wasn't going to fail, I walked into the bathroom when I heard the unmistakable sound of a cap bursting off the end of a pipe. I felt my insides freeze, ran back to the living room…

…to see the noise I'd heard was Sunny dropping something on the living room floor.

Yeah…I could've slapped her for that.

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