Friday, January 6, 2017

This Is My Emergency Face

Hysteria is impossible without an audience. Panicking by yourself is the same as laughing alone in an empty room. You feel really silly. ― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
I had an interesting night last night... but first...

I've been trying to drink a lot of fluids over the past few weeks, especially while I was home in Winnipeg, where the cold weather and dry air usually turn my skin into sandpaper and my insides into an aching mess. Since I returned to the Island, I've continued this extra-large fluid consumption to help me feel a little more like myself after all of the holiday excess. The natural result?

Well, I have to pee a lot. Like, nearly every half hour, during the day at least. And a couple of times during the night. I'm ok with this. I drink a lot of water regularly anyway, so I'm no stranger to scoping out the nearest restroom wherever I go. I take it as a sign that everything is tickety-boo.

So, last night, around 2:00 am, I wake up and I lie there, scanning my body, wondering if I need to get up and go to the bathroom. I doze for a bit, but then realize I should probably get up, so I sit up, swing my legs out of the bed, and wait for my brain to wake up enough to get up.

Then I hear it. And the hubby turns his head and says, "What's that?"

It sounds like rain... heavy rain. But heavier than heavy rain.

"I don't know," I say.

I get up and wander around, turning on lights, stopping and listening as I go. I make my way downstairs, where the noise is louder. It seems to be coming from the front of the house. I open the front door and peer outside. Nothing. I am standing there when the hubby comes down and says, "It sounds like a burst pipe."

I've never had to deal with a burst pipe in my whole entire life, but as I'm standing there, I realize I can feel the floor vibrating slightly. Next thing, we've opened the closet and he's shoving things out of the way to open the hatch to the crawl space, and I'm moving the stuff out of the way to make room for him. He opens the hatch, jumps down, and says, "Yeah, it's a burst pipe."

I peer down, and there are two hoses that have separated, and one is spewing a waterfall out of it... pressure so hard that it's shooting upwards to the floorboards.

We turn off valves, but we can't find the main. We rent this house, and neither of us can remember where it might be. We call the landlord, who is new to us as of this year, and it's the wrong number. We call another of his numbers, and it's out of service. Meanwhile, we're running around, turning things off, trying to figure out what to do.

We call an emergency plumber, who says he's on his way, and then we call our former landlord, the guy who built this house, who very kindly tells us how to turn off the main and then gives us another phone number for the new landlord. Meanwhile, the plumber arrives and helps us turn off the main. He jumps down into the crawlspace and inspects the damage, while I make my way back up to the bedroom and sit on the bed, breathing deeply, trying to get my senses back.

After about an hour, the plumber has replaced the coupling for the two hoses with a different type, and we turn on the main and find that it's holding. He tells us that there's a drain down there, and the water is already disappearing, but that we'll need some fans for the crawlspace to keep the air circulating for at least 24 hours to get rid of the moisture. "You'll need two. You can rent them and get insurance to pay for them."

But we actually own three circulating fans. Don't ask - we just seem to collect them up. And I crawl down there with one and set it up pointing in the area where the water is draining, then we set another one up in the opposite end.

Before the plumber leaves, he says, "Thanks for being so calm."

Were we calm? I guess a lot of people would be yelling and and in hysterics in this situation. But, apart from having to shout over the roar of the water, I guess we were relatively gentle folk. I didn't feel calm, but I remember being told as a child that staying calm was a good way not to throw up at a birthday party.

Words to live by.

Anyway, here's the crawlspace. We don't keep much down there: a few suitcases, a Christmas tree we never put up, a couple of bins. We hauled those up before the plumber came, and he was pleasantly surprised at how clean and tidy it was... for a minor disaster scene:


The landlord called this morning after finally receiving our messages and our emails. We got the phone numbers straightened out. He arranged for the plumber had to return because the hose was still leaking this morning, but after changing out one of the pipes (which he thinks was damaged during its original installation), things seem to be holding.

Tonight, we're sitting here with the fans running. I keep jumping up at any sound of water. I'm making dinner: fresh pita and roasted vegetables, which I will mix with some leftover ham, oregano, basil, garlic, and ground coriander to make a kind of ragoux. The heat from the oven makes me feel better:


And all of this made me think about a few things:
  1. Renting has its upsides. Our rent includes our water use, so we don't have to pay for the extra water. It also means that the emergency plumber call is not on our dime.
  2. I'm glad we were home when this happened. I've never turned off the main before travel, but we're leaving for California next week, and you bet that thing will be off when we go... and will be off whenever we're gone for any time longer than a night.
  3. It really is important to have extra water on hand in case of emergency. When the water was off, I was looking around the kitchen, noticing that we had a Brita pitcher full of water, plus a half dozen small water bottles and a couple of bottles of sparkling water as well. While it would have been easy to go out and get more today, it would be good to get at least another flat of water bottles, just in case it was a real emergency.
I think we'll eat dinner now. And then I'm gonna knit. That's enough excitement for now.

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