Sometimes out of pure laziness I like to pull out and post an old e-mail from the days before I became a blogger. I was reminded of this one (from April 11, 2005) today as I cleaned the bathroom faucet that is at the center of this tale.
* * * * *
Happy Monday, everybody.
Each Monday I am asked by well-meaning friends at work, "How was your weekend?" The answer they expect, and usually get, is, "Fine." In order to save those unsuspecting souls from an agonizing hour-and-a-half while they steal glances at their watches and try desperately to get away, I have decided instead to unload on you guys. After all, you can just hit "delete" and be done with me.
Friday work days end as early as 4:00 around here, though lately I've been staying late to try to catch up. This past Friday was no exception, and I didn't leave until 5:45. Ran a couple of errands and picked up dinner (Friday night treat) on my way home.
When I drove up, Handyman Dan's pickup was in the driveway. Hmm, the new bathroom sink faucet -- the old one disintegrated about two weeks ago -- must have taken longer to install than he planned. Walked in to the house and at first all seemed normal, but then Chas said that the electricity had been out since around four o'clock. Not surprising when you live in the country and a violent spring storm descends, as it did that afternoon.
"Oh, well, good thing I picked up dinner, then, right?"
Before I went into the bathroom to check on Handyman Dan, Chas casually mentioned that we'd had a flood when a pipe broke. Ahh, my calm husband. Into the bathroom I scurried. Hmmm, bathtub full of sopping wet towels, big garden watering can inexplicably waiting by the door, butt crack smiling up at me from under the sink cabinet -- yup, broken pipe.
As Handyman Dan explained everything to me and we worked out The Plan, the electricity suddenly came back on. "Whew! That's a relief," thought I.
Maybe the phrase "farm plumbing" would be the best explanation, as in jerry-rigged: adj. see also "farm plumbing." Our house on the dairy gets water from the dairy well, but also draws water from my parents' well across the street. Why? See also "farm plumbing." So when the electricity came back on, the well pumps kicked on, and soon a nice fat stream of water was again pouring into the soggy bathroom cabinet. Turning off my parents' water was not an option, because of the many livestock water troughs (and tenants) on the system that had been without water for 3 or 4 hours. So I manned a bucket, dumping it out in the toilet when it got full, which it did about every five minutes. Other than the several times I got distracted and rushed back to find water spilling out onto the bathroom floor, I was on constant Bucket Watch for about 3 hours.
Handyman Dan came back from a trip to Lowes in Chico (easily a 30-minute trip one way) and began fixing the pipe. Another big oops -- I'll spare you the details -- and by 10:30 p.m. he determined he'd have to finish in the morning, after an early-morning trip to Orland Hardware. I imagined myself on Bucket Watch all night and just about cried, but my dad came over and saved the day, cutting up his too-small garden hose (again, see "farm plumbing") but managing to make it work. So the tap drained through the hose into the bathtub all night.
True to his word, Handyman Dan came back the next morning (I was holding my breath). By 11:30 the next morning we again had water, and could finally use the shiny new faucet in the bathroom. Oh, to be able to wash my hands again! But each time I got near a faucet I cringed, expecting it to explode any second. As Dan said, once you mess with antique plumbing, it all falls apart. It's just hanging out in the walls waiting to betray us. A rust-water shower was the only consequence, however, and I relished it after slopping around in the bathroom for hours. Chas and I even managed to make it to a 3:30 wedding Saturday afternoon -- in Woodland, which is almost a 1 1/2-hour drive.
Just talked to Chas on the phone, and Handyman Dan is back to finish the job. Wish me luck that I won't have to wade into the house tonight. At least it's a glorious sunny day today and I won't have to worry about any tornados -- oh yeah, did I forget to mention that the reason the electricity was out in the first place Friday was the huge super cell thunderstorm RIGHT OVER OUR HOUSE? The tornado warnings that afternoon -- both of them -- could have been a lot more concise if they'd just said "watch for tornados at Chas and Laurie's house."
Still haven't figured out what Chas and Dan were doing with that watering can.
* * * * *
To follow up, Handyman Dan proved to be a train wreck, leaving a gaping hole in the wall under the sink. He also installed a new back door, but did such a crappy job that there's a half-inch gap between the door and the lower doorframe, through which ants, rain, spiders, sunlight, and extreme temperatures freely migrate. When it rains we break out a stack of old towels to mop up the standing water just inside the porch door. In the summer the door barely closes, and we often find it standing wide open, to the joy of the wild outside cats. In the winter the door hardly opens. Thanks, Handyman Dan!