“Help, somebody help!” What are those kids yelling about now, I wondered, thinking it was my grandchildren. Then I remembered, the grandchildren are at home.
My daughter came down the hall yelling, “I need help.” What in the world? Is the house on fire? No, but it might as well be. I rounding the corner to see Old Faithful erupting in my bathroom and a river coming from under the sink.
Water was squirting from a broken pipe. By then the water was an inch deep on the floor. The little knob that shuts off the water wouldn’t turn any further. We needed to turn off the main water supply.
“Go under the house and turn off the water!” We were getting pretty panicked and the water continued to flow. My daughter grabbed a flashlight and took off to the crawl space. Soon she was back. “I can’t find it.”
The water was getting deeper and starting to run out the door into the bedroom. She called my son. “Come home! We are having a flood. We need you NOW!”
A plumber, I’ll call a plumber. I grabbed the phone book and looked for one with a 24 hour emergency service. Here’s the one that I just paid over a thousand dollars to work on the septic tank. I called. “We are taking calls for tomorrow,” he said.
“I have a busted pipe and water is flooding the house. I can’t wait until tomorrow. Can you just cut off the water?”
“Sorry, I don’t have anyone available.”
I called the next emergency service plumber and got an answering machine. “If you are club member and this is an emergency, press 1.” Plumbers have clubs? What the H…!
“Should I get the neighbor?” asked my daughter. “Yes, yes, anything!”
Thank God for neighbors with good sense. Our neighbor came and looked, then ran back home and got a tool to cut off the water at the meter. I knew that plumbers did that, but I had no idea how to do it.
We grabbed towels to soak up water. Every towel in the house was soon wringing wet and the rug in the bedroom was squishy for several feet from the door. I remembered that the carpet shampooer would suck up water, so I grabbed it and started vacuuming.
“It was like a waterfall under the house,” my daughter said. “Water was coming from every crack.” Oh, God. I was soaked to the waist and my daughter was too. We took everything from under the sink and threw it in the shower.
The neighbor said all we needed to fix it was a small part, so honey, who had been as useless as the rest of us until now, took off to the hardware store instead of helping clean up the mess.
Meanwhile, my son arrived after it was all over. When honey finally came dragging back with the part, he went in the bathroom and fixed it.
“I’m turning the water back on now,” he said. “Be sure it doesn’t leak.” Fortunately, it didn’t and the crisis was over, except for washing three loads of wet towels and running fans for a week to dry the rug.
Eventually everything dried out. I was planning to replace the rug soon anyhow. The part was only $10 and I didn’t have to pay a plumber.
This Saturday we are all going to get lessons in how to shut off the water in case of an emergency and I’m going to buy one of those tools to do it with, regardless of cost. The next time I need a plumber, it will not be the non-emergency, “24/7 emergency” service.
We’ve had flash flood warnings due to the rain, and river flood warnings due to the runoff, but they forgot to mention flash floods in the bathroom due to broken pipes.
Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss