Water Woes

Liquid water isn't much on our minds in February, but this week, it certainly keeps rearing it's head!

This is my personal blog, and as such, does not represent the opinion of anyone else, the station nor my family.

This week has been one for the books.

Not only have we had the most sustained snow in the MOV in perhaps a decade, it piled up and made my family walk in a narrow trench in and out of the house.  It has been years since we had to shovel snow as much and as regularly as we have this season.

And I'm not complaining. It's just that I was born and raised in Michigan and lived in a house where the walks were smooth and regular, and the land was flat (thank you glacier) and shoveling was not THAT big a task. Now, I live on a hill, and while the rainwater runs away fast, the frozen driveway always becomes a challenge for both driving and walking down to the school bus.

But then the melt came.  Some call it the January Thaw, except this year, there wasn't one until two thirds of the way through February!  And what a melt it has been.  Over the last three days, the entire snow pack has dwindled away, revealing the snow brush that vanished...and the ear buds that my son had lost a week ago while getting out of the car.  Now, it sets in a bag of dried rice, trying to get the moisture out so that we can try it again.

And don't think that my son is the  only one to loose his electronic device to water.  Do you know what happens to an I-phone dropped into a toilet?  Neither do I, but thank goodness we had insurance on that one unit.  Another arrived on Monday via UPS, despite it being President's Day.

The third incident was the mater of my tenant's kitchen sink. I got a call last night informing me that the sink had been leaking for some time, and that they found an overflowing small bucket under the cabinet that had been there for a long time.  Now the wood is all warped, and there's some mold that I really don't want to talk about...and the linoleum squares that I put down to protect the wood have all buckled and warped too.

So I went to the hardware store to look to see what's available. HUNDREDS of faucets...

After pricing a replacement, it occurs to me that when I last replaced this faucet, I had gone the cheapest route possible, buying an off brand and installing it myself. I swore I wouldn't do this again, so I asked the clerk for recommendations. He indicates that there are several of similar styles, priced from $70 to 100 bucks.  I don't know about you, but for a basic inert kitchen faucet, this seems a lot to me.  And I recall why I went the cheap route, and that I am going to be paying for it this weekend. The boards all have to be replaced, and the linoleum squares either replaced or re-glued down.  Sigh.

And then the fourth instance this week.

I went to the local gym to do a little treadmill work out, and as I walked into the men's locker room, I noticed something was flushing. After a half a minute, the water hadn't stopped running. So I started looking around and found that one of the two urinals was running...and running.  Not over-flowing, just running.

Quickly, I walked around the locker room and determined there was no one else in the facility. I looked outside and to my surprise, noticed there were NO men anywhere. In short, I have no idea how long the water was running.

Now, I have a pretty good idea how a toilet is plumbed and how a flush valve works, but there is no shut off valve for the public to reach.  So I did the next best thing.  I took off my shoe.

Now, I had seen this done once before, so I wasn't worried, but I looked around both before and after I did it.  I grabbed the toe of my shoe and brought the heel down on the top of the chrome plumbing valve atop the fixture. Whump.  I stood back and waited. Nothing changed. The water kept running.  Whump. I hit it again firmly.  Nothing changed. I pulled the flush lever and waited. Still no change. Then I whumped the flush lever once and waited.  Just as I was about to whump the valve area again, the water slowed, the flow stopped and the urinal quietly gurgled to a stop.

I have no idea how long it had been running, but it was reset now and safe. I put my shoe on and went out to the front desk, intending to tell the girl there what had happened. She interrupted me and said that nothing could be done about the flushing until maintenance came over to service it. Then I told her about the shoe whump. She stared at me, "You didn't!"  Yes, I had.  "You're kidding me!"  No, I wasn't.

She insisted on seeing, so we walked into the men's locker room and she admitted that the flow had stopped. I explained to her that  I had just jarred the float valve free and it shut off.  She was impressed.

I'd hate to see the water bill this month.  Plus, I wonder how much in plumber's fees I just saved them.

It's been a watery month so far!


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