Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mud, Sweat and Piers (and Beams)

It's a good thing I've been putting off writing the Christmas letter, because honestly, we just hadn't had near enough disasters yet.  I mean, I know there was the transmission repair, and the roof repair, and the water heater thing, and the washing machine thing, and Joan's emergency oral surgery, and then the--the thing I can't remember; actually there may be more than one thing I can't remember.  I mean it all ran together this year.  So, anyway, I was about to write the Christmas letter and I was going to use the oral surgery as kind of the topper, the thing, the "hey, how do you like them apples," and then, out of nowhere, we started to hear this weird little hissing sound.

It started out kind of soft, so soft we might have been imagining it.  It sounded a lot like the hose was on in the back yard, but it wasn't; I checked several times.  Then it got a little louder, and it started to sound like a gas leak, only it couldn't be a gas leak because we'd smell it, wouldn't we?  I mean, natural gas smells like rotten eggs that have been sitting around in a sea of farts for three or four days.  Hard to ignore that kind of smell.

So if it wasn't natural gas, it had to be water, right?  But where was it?  No puddles of water anywhere in the house.  No soft spots on the walls, no water oozing up through the floorboards.  No idea.  But it was getting louder.  Call Ernie, the plumber.  Like, immediately.

Ernie showed up an hour early, like he always does, startling heck out of Joan who wasn't quite awake yet.  He went through the house, listening to everything, looking at everything, wanting to see everything that was hooked up to water.  He agreed with us that nothing was running.  He said he would have to go under the house.

Under the house.  Oh God, I hate those words.  I picture swarms of gigantic six-leggers waiting to pounce on innocent people like me.  Even rats and snakes and spiders aren't as scary as the prospect of giant bugs.  But I didn't have to go down there.  Ernie had to go down there.  Luckily, Ernie is not a very big guy, because the trap door that goes under the house is not very big.  As it is, the door was underneath sheets and towels and a big plastic bin that was full of more sheets and towels.  But, we got it all out of the way and opened the trap door. And then Ernie said, "You guys got a lake down there." 

Yep.  It's the Night of the Broken Pipe. 

Ernie couldn't do anything until we got rid of the water, so we shut the water off and called ServPro.  They showed up, ran gigantic blue anaconda snakes through the house and sucked out the water-and plenty of mud, too, and some stuff that made a creepy rattling sound that I decided I really didn't want to know about.  (Rat bones?  Giant six-leggers?)  Insurance might or might not pay for this, oh joy, oh rapture.

Oh, and when I say insurance might or might not pay for this, I mean the suctioning-out of the water.  Not the repair of the actual pipe.  Since it didn't break inside the house and damage anything, we're S.O.L. on insurance coverage.  Not that I'm complaining; I do have flood insurance, but I don't wanna actually use it.  And I'm kinda fond of my laminate flooring and stuff.  So, yeah, fine that we have a pier-and-beam foundation, and not a slab, and that the water stayed in the crawl space with the rat bones and the six-leggers.

Ernie was back the next day with a backhoe and several shovels.  I got to miss this part because I was at work, but I was here today when the actual digging-up of the old pipe happened.  Turned out, our old pipe was in such crummy shape that the only thing to do was to replace it all.  If they just patched the leak, the water would have gone down the pipe and found another weak spot and we'd be back in this same quandary a week from now.  How much does it cost to replace an entire small house worth of pipe, you ask. Uh, about three thousand seven hundred sixty dollars and fifty-eight cents.  I have the number tattooed on my brain. 

Mind you, while all this has been going on, we haven't had any water at the house.  That's been all kinds of fun.  Filling the commode from five-gallon buckets purchased at Home Depot, brushing our teeth with bottled water bought in flats from Kroger.  We took showers at the gym.  Yes, I know normal people would go stay at a hotel.  But, we are not normal people, and see above re: three thousand seven hundred sixty dollars and fifty-eight cents.  Merry Christmas to you, too.

So, anyway, if you were thinking of sending us anything for the upcoming Christian holiday, money would be great.  As it is, I think we can pay Ernie but I'm not at all sure about ServPro.  I got a Christmas bonus at work last week.  It was a really nice one.  It's gone.  As for the rest--well, it's good to have friends.

In fact, it's so good to have friends that we're going to sell this house and move in with them, because it doesn't seem like we can't afford to maintain it anymore.  The house, that is.  Stay tuned.   

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