Thursday, January 27, 2011

Water works

"Um, honey? I think we may have a leak in our front yard."

At Sam's declaration, I looked up from where I was reheating some potato soup for the two of us.

"What do you mean our front yard has a leak?" I asked, humorous visions of old Daffy Duck cartoons popping into my head.

Or maybe it was Donald Duck.

"Well, come take a look."

With a sigh I set the two bowls of steaming soup aside, already knowing that my day was about to become substantially more hectic.

Looking out of my front door, I could already see that there was a river of water flowing down our driveway. While not unheard of, in the past it was always proceeded by a goodly amount of rain, and we'd been dry (except for the non-stick snow storm earlier in the week).

"At first I thought maybe the car had sprung some kind of a leak this morning, because when I left there was a huge ice patch under the jeep. But that's obviously not the case," Sam said.

"Why didn't you mention it earlier?" I asked, watching my foot slowly sink in a particularly muddy patch next to the rock garden.

"To be honest it slipped my mind until I pulled back into the drive. I need to give our landlady a call," and suiting words to actions, Sam pulled out his cell phone.

I had to reheat the soup again before we had a chance to eat it.

*   *   *   *   *

"You've sprung a major leak--you can see the indicator on the meter spinning out of control. I can leave the water on if you'd like, but that'll result in an astronomical bill."

Unthinkingly I reached up and pinched the bridge of my nose, trying to stave off the impending headache. Our landlady and the gentleman from the water department stared at me, waiting for my reply.

"Go ahead and turn it off. We can find somewhere else to stay if necessary," I decided. After all, one of the major reasons we'd moved back here was to be closer to friends and family. If this had happened when we'd been in the city... well, some things are better not contemplated.

While the water worker went to shut off the water, the landlady said, "I'll send my son and my carpenter out to track down the leak. We'll get this fixed for you as soon as possible."

"It's alright," I reassured her. "It's just one of those things that happen."

*   *   *   *   *

Sometimes it's easy to forget just how much we rely on indoor plumbing. Still, we'd managed to make it through one night without it, and my parents had come on down to keep us out of trouble for the weekend.

As my parents and I pulled back up to the house after lunch, we saw the landlady's son digging up a portion of the yard.

"Well, I found the leak," he told me as I walked up. "First spot I decided to check and there it was. Unfortunately, I cut your cable line."

"It's okay, we don't watch TV," I explained to him, looking down at the split cable sticking up out of yard.

"We'll be back out tomorrow to lay a new line for you. This old galvanized pipe... well, it's amazing it lasted as long as it did. We'll just go ahead and lay whole new PVC for you. You should have water back by tomorrow evening," he said.

"That'd be fantastic!" I told him, then left him and my father discussing how to lay the new pipe. It was pretty cold outside, and I was eager to go inside with my mother.

Mom asked me something about the weather, so I went to the computer to pull up the weather report.

Nothing. No response. Just 404.

With a look of dread I turned to the modem. Sure enough, looking back at me was a flashing red light.

He'd accidentally cut our DSL.

*   *   *   *   *

Mom and Dad had gone on home a couple of days earlier, and, indeed, they'd managed to get the water back on to the house by the end of the weekend. Sam had gotten up to go back to work, and I was trying to persuade myself that, yes, it was time to drag my lazy bones out of bed.

Sam sat down on the edge of the bed, lightly poking me until I rolled over and looked up at him with one cranky eye. "Yes?" I asked.

"Um, honey? You need to get up. We've sprung another leak in the front yard," Sam explained.

Suppressing the desire to start cursing, I proceeded to get up and dressed before heading outside to see the latest carnage.

This time the driveway was dry. However, the rock garden all along the side of the house had standing water, and right next to the hatch to underneath the house, we could see the water pouring out.

Sam called the landlady and explained what had happened before going and turning the water off himself.

*   *   *   *   *

Later we found out that when they hooked up the new line, apparently they'd left one of the pipes running back to the garage uncapped, which was what caused all of the leaking. By lunch that day they had everything fixed, water wise anyway.

The DSL... well, that took another week.

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