Friday, December 14, 2007

Thoughts on shovels and pipes and the joys of home ownership

"You shovel like a champion ... but that doesn't make you a superhero."
--Mystery Men

Well, I beg to differ ....

In case we weren't sure before, winter decided to make its presence rather emphatically known yesterday, and I was treated to my inaugural digging-out-the-car-after-the-plough-has-been-past.

Conflicting thoughts running through my head as I spent over an hour bending my back to the task: "Good thing I don't have a nine o'clock class this morning"; "Why couldn't this happen when I have a nine o'clock class I could cancel?"

Ah well ... next term, I'm sure there will be a number of cancellation opportunities. I suppose I could make a point of getting up an hour earlier, but that doesn't seem likely.

Thought running through my head this morning when I saw that the plough had deposited a fresh load of snow against my car: "Sysiphus had it easy."

Still, I was quite proud of my shovelling, and made a point of taking some before and after pictures.

Further contradictory thoughts running through my head mid-shovelling: "Wow, I really need to get back to the gym." "If this happens frequently, I'll never need to go to the gym again."

And in the category of "Sometimes Stupidity Reaps Unexpected Benefits": When I came outside to take the "after" photos, I accidentally locked myself out of the house. D'oh! But fortunately my neighbour with my spare key was home. My front door has proved difficult of late, not accepting the key when it freezes up; not wishing to stand outside with my hands over the doorknob until it thawed, I let myself in through my back door.

My back door leads into my sun room, which is not well insulated. I opened the door to an odd hissing noise. Then I saw the water pooled on the floor. Then I saw the burst pipe near the floor that was gushing water about a foot up the wall. Then I dissolved in despair and panic.

Thoughts running through my head upon seeing the burst pipe: "Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck."

Locking myself out was actually a stroke of luck ... I'd been planning at that point to leave for the day, and conceivably would not have noticed the burst pipe for hours.

My sunroom has a door in the floor that leads down to my basement/crawlspace, which is also where the shutoff valve is ... which, as I discovered, lacks a knob but is instead a short piece of metal with stripped threading. The water at this point was cascading down in a rather impressive waterfall that I had to duck through several times to get the water shut off.

Interesting mathematical equation: sweat from exertion of shovelling + uninsulated room + cold water + 1.5 hours of heavy shovelling = really really sore back this morning.

I took a picture for posterity's sake, but it unfortunately doesn't show the water well. If you look closely you can see the ripples in the deep puddle at the base of the stairs.

At any rate, I guess you could say it was an eventful day, with several important lessons -- the first one being, keep the heater on in the sun room, however much more I'll be spending on my hydro bill this winter.

The second one is that I should have become a plumber. $160 for five minutes work replacing the pipe. I'm tempted to calculate what my hourly wage worked out to this past semester, but I think it will just make me depressed.


Rebecca said...

That sounds like the worst possible end to the semester! I hope the rest of your day is much better!

Chadwise said...

Keep your water running! Often pipes in older houses will burst because water has frozen and then thawed or gone through cycles of this. The freezing then thawing puts undue pressure on the pipe and eventually it'll burst. I'm not sure if that's how your pipe actually ended up bursting, but it could be the reason. To avoid the joys of broken water lines leave your water running just a tiny bit all day, enough to keep water flowing through the line. We have to keep the water running at the House of Arrogance or the pipes freeze - and will eventually burst.

Em said...

For your difficult frozen lock, spray WD-40 into the hole and it should work much more smoothly.

Nikki Stafford said...

Unfortunately, I don't have any advice like these fine folks, but just wanted to say this post made me giggle in sympathy... and it's nice to see I'm not the only one who's had days like that one. :) I hope things are better now!