Thursday, September 14, 2006

Out Of Control ...

Yesterday, I woke up to rain. More rain. The fourth day of rain. What the hell? Did continental drift shift my house to the spot on the globe where Seattle should be?

I went downstairs to empty my dehumidifier and noticed water coming in my secondary sump pit. Oh, that's not good. That means the primary sump pump - in the crawl space, where more things that just me crawl - wasn't working. Oh, shit.

So I grabbed a flashlight and shone it through the opening. There was water. There has never been water in my crawlspace. I hauled myself inside and duck-walked to the sump pit and manually engaged the float to turn on the pump. And it pumped. And the float did the wonky thing it does in which it doesn't fall directly down but falls at wonky angles and gets stuck in the sump pit under the drain tile. So I stayed in there awhile, babysitting. The situation seemed well enough in control.

But it kept raining, and I soon had to do the same thing again. This time, though, I tried twisting the sump pump a bit so the float wouldn't fall under the drain tile. Except that in doing that, the PVC pipe that's connected to the sump pump itself became disconnected. Shit.

I came upstairs and called the plumber.

"OK," said the friendly plumber lady on the phone. "We'll get someone out."

"Do you know about when?"

"No, but we'll get it fixed today."

No problem. I work from home. I wasn't going anywhere in the rain.

I popped downstairs from time to time. Water was still coming in my secondary pit. But that was to be expected. I had standing water in my back yard. I never have standing water in my back yard. And the soil around here is mostly clay. Drainage? What drainage?

So I was on the phone, always keeping an ear on the sound of the water downstairs, when something started sounding different. I hung up. I went downstairs.

Water was coming through a crack in a wall. Shit, shit, shit.

I ran upstairs and called the plumber.

"Hi, the situation is getting worse," I said, trying not to sound too panicky.

She told me I was next on the list.

Literally pacing, I called my mom. Not that she could do anything, but I couldn't just be in my house, with water coming in my basement, with me unable to do anything about it. We were on the phone about 20 minutes, trying to talk about everyday things when the plumber pulled up my driveway.

"The plumber's here," I said.

"Bye."

I went outside to meet him. He opened the door to his truck and I saw sump pump boxes everywhere, like he was the FedEx version of overnight sump pump delivery.

I told him what the problem was. He grabbed what he thought he'd need. "Should I bring my boots?" he asked.

"Yeah, probably," I said.

He assessed the situation, having crawled into the icky space, and determined what happened and what I'd really need. Made another trip out to his truck, but not before asking if I had something he could wipe his feet on, so as not to mess up the carpet on my stairs. Nice guy.

On his second trip back downstairs, I asked his name. I wanted to know who was saving my house from its watery threat.

"Oh, sorry," he said, sticking out his hand. "I have a lot on my mind today. Dave."

Dave. Of course, Dave. Apparently, 95 percent of all new men in my life are named Dave.

He got to work. I was his helper, as much as I could help. His radio went off several times while he was in my crawlspace. Yesterday was a bad day for homeowners, a good day for the plumbing trade.

I told him that I call them for everthing, about the bad early experience I had when I moved in with another plumber and how his company ended up solving the problem and that I've come to them ever since. Dave, being the owner, was glad to hear that.

We joked back and forth, as much as we could, given the day. "Yeah, people like me only call when we need something, huh?" I said. "We never just call to say 'hi.' "

Dave made everything all better, made sure everything was working as it should, gathered his tools and headed up the stairs after thoroughly wiping his shoes.

"I'll just have the office send you a bill," he said.

"Oh, OK," I said. "Dave, you're getting a Christmas card this year. And cookies. And a gift. And my first-born child." We laughed. He hopped in his truck and headed to the next house in need.

And a very palpable sense of relief washed over me. I realized just how much I hated that there was absolutely nothing I could do in my earlier situation. I didn't have the know-how to fix the problem and I couldn't summon help any earlier than it could arrive. All I could do was wait.

I am clearly not a good waiter.

But the rains stopped. For the most part. Today, it's just a little drizzly. But it's supposed to stop. And then, we're supposed to see the sun.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thgings have to clear up I am golfing Saturday! Golf is not meant to be played in a swamp.

P. O. B!

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose you want the republicans to have prevented the rain?

4:20 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

My God, you're an ass.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I am!

4:24 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Aw, well, look at that. We agree on something! I *knew* we had something in common. I think you're an ass, and you, in fact, *are* an ass!

4:28 PM  

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