On January 31 of this year, I wrote this post, about the pipe that burst in a crawlspace between the kids’ bedrooms. At the time I just wrote. The pictures were on my phone, and I don’t write this blog from my phone (I need a real keyboard to keep my momentum going once I find it), and I didn’t have time to get things from my phone to this site because I am not a child of this age and I wasn’t born with that knowledge.
(Interruption – I’ve just been scrolling back in time to get to the photos I took at the beginning of this almost-done-but-never-really-done home improvement/surviving the madness saga of 2015, and took a look at the pictures I took with my phone the day BEFORE everything happened. Here’s one:
It’s a picture of some Buffalo chicken egg rolls I came up with one night for dinner.
The calm before the storm, spicy and deep fried.)
Anyway, I have a little more time, and I’ve figured out how to do a few things with pictures that are on my phone, so here is a look back in time to January 30 of this year, the Day the Water Fell…
Though the burst pipe didn’t begin here, this is where I realized there was something wrong. I came downstairs and there was water streaming from the ceiling where that light fixture is in the picture above. I put a trash can under it, and later, after I’d called Bill and he came home from work, and he drilled some holes in the ceiling (to see how far the water went above the ceiling), this is how things were looking. You can see all the water (the dark brown stuff) in a bucket and a water pitcher. I think I took this picture while Bill was in the boiler room shutting off the water to the house. This was relatively early in the day, and we were trying to figure out exactly what sort of pipe was leaking. It took some trial and error. And drilling in ceilings.
Our kitchen door. At this point Bill had pried off the top piece above the door to see where the water was coming from. This area was my first clue that something was amiss (I saw a few drips there as Julia was leaving for school), but I didn’t think it was something going on inside the house. I thought it had something to do with the flashing above the door on the outside. Silly me!
That’s the ceiling in our kitchen. The line of dripping water is just above the cupboards near our stove, and kind of above the area in the basement where the water was coming through the ceiling down there. And kind of above this is our second floor bathroom. At one point we were thinking (well, our nephew, Joe, suggested this as a possibility for the leaking – he was still at work at this point in the story) that it might have something to do with the shower upstairs – either the pipes bringing water to the shower, or something to do with the drain. At his suggestion, we tried running the shower for a while to see if that affected the leaking in any way. Somehow we determined that the leaking had nothing to do with the shower or that bathroom.
Bill drilled some holes in the ceiling where the water was leaking in order to relieve some of the pressure on the ceiling itself.
And we caught the water in Revereware pots. Assorted sizes. We had to rotate them a lot, emptying the full ones frequently as the water fell.
Then we switched to this under-the-bed storage container, because the pots were needed elsewhere.
Bill drilled a lot of experimental holes to follow the path of water, and, as I said before, to release the pressure on the ceiling.
Some areas only had a little bit of water…others had more.
Look! Rain! In our kitchen! Our joking was stained with a lot of don’t-show-fear sarcasm. We each, Bill and I, deal with a crisis in our own way, of course. A lot of my method is to try to find the humor in it, to look for a bright side, or to keep my spouse from losing his mind, as mind-loss scares the children. Not that they were home, of course. They were still at school, blissful in their ignorance.
Speaking of looking for a bright side, here’s one, sort of – allowing the water to drain through the holes Bill drilled in the ceiling in the kitchen helped to stop the water from leaking into the basement. The water was travelling across the ceiling in the kitchen and then somehow draining down a wall into the basement and across that ceiling. (I wonder how many bazillions of times I will type the word “ceiling” as I chronicle this saga…) In the picture above, the leaking into the basement had stopped, and we pulled back the carpet to see how wet the padding was. It was pretty damn wet. We set up fans and dehumidifiers, and Bill pulled up more of the carpeting. We draped it over non-wood things (like a rarely used weight bench) so the carpet could dry out. That took a while to work, as the moisture in the carpet just drained from the draped parts back down to the floor parts.
Back upstairs, Bill started sawing out sections of ceiling.
Soaking wet sheet rock with tufts of insulation. Pretty.
He kept cutting.
Later that evening, Joe came over and he’s the one who figured out what had happened. A pipe in our heating system, located in the little crawlspace between Alex and Julia’s bedrooms, had burst.
Here it is:
Joe fixed it for the night, and over the next couple of days we had the pipe properly fixed.
But that was just the beginning.
To be continued….