It turns out all the science stuff I teach my students has come back to bite me on my soggy Uggs. Stuff like water becoming less dense when it freezes, which is a sciency way of saying water expands when it gets cold. This is a wonderous thing, except when the freezing occurs inside my pipes. I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. Yup, frozen water — expansion — bursting pipes — WTF!
It all started with an extremely cold night, frigid wind chill, and an old house with old pipes. The next morning brought sunshine, bitterly cold temps, and no water. Nada, zip, nothing. I had to get ready for work! How was I going to take a shower, wash my hair, all that good stuff? A snow bath was called for. It’s not as exciting as it sounds. A shoveful of fluffy, puffy snow melts to about 1 cup! It takes a lot of cups to fill a bathtub. It was a very quick bath, more spashing than bathing. My ducks would have been proud.
I put a heater in the basement, to try to get the pipes thawed and called my good friends Harvey, Juliet, and Freida (names changed to protect their sanity) who headed over with containers of water for the toilet, a gallon of drinking water, a torch, coffee and a muffin. Harvey and I headed down into the basement just in time to witness the base of the water meter exploding. The laws of physics dictate that water will flow along the path of least resistance. In this case, into my basement. (Oh yes, while we were in the basement dealing with Niagara Falls, Sparky took the bag with the coffee and muffin off the counter. (Sure, he can’t jump onto the bed because of his hips, but he can get onto the counter. Really!?)
I called the town emergency water division, since the water meter is their property. Hmmm, seems, because it’s in my house and it’s my fault the basement got so cold (really!!!!????), the cost was mine to bear. One hundred and forty dollars later, I had a new meter base and was off to work, la-te-da!
Next day, bright shiny Sunday morning, I decided to check out the basement. WTF!!! Again!!!??? #$#$##$$#%%!!!!!!! Another pipe had exploded! This time on the opposite side of the basement. Two inches of water and more spraying in. Note to self: Next time wear Wellies, Uggs are not waterproof.
Thinking quickly (okay, I hadn’t had my coffee yet so, thinking slugglishly) I turned off the water main. I called Harvey, but, since he has a life, he couldn’t come to my rescue. I was on my own. This seemed like a good time to break down and cry. What’s a little more water?
Now, you might say in a nasally voice “Well, you wanted to buy a house” (someone actually did and, yes, his voice was nasally). My response: Yes, I DID want a house. A place that was mine, all mine. This isn’t my first rodeo. I know home ownership is a fun house of things going wrong. Afterall, as the saying goes, s — t happens! But, damn, it’s the being on my own that gets tiresome. Whine, whine, whine. More tears. Blah, blah, blah.
Pity party over, I pulled myself up by my soggy Uggs and headed to the local hardware store. Oh good, a condescending clerk. Just what I needed. I’ve shopped this store before and it’s hit or miss when it comes to the clerks. Some of the men are wonderful–kind, patient, and willing to educate me on how to make things right. Others, weeeell, not so much. When the first clerk wouldn’t help me, I asked the nice man in the next aisle for assistance. He got me a clamp and plumber’s epoxy. I was on my way to a dry basement.
I must admit, things could have been worse. I feel, however, I must add that while all the water stuff was happening my oil tank sprouted a leak. Long, tedious story cut very short, I’m left with two Ziploc bags full of heating oil that needs to be poured back into the tank. Who knew there’s a funnel for just this purpose? I purchased one today. Seems there are funnels for all types of jobs. I wonder if they have something to funnel money into my purse, instead of out? I’ll have to ask the next time I’m at the hardware store, which will be tomorrow because the toilet tank won’t fill. Arghhhhh!