Table of Contents
- The nightmare begins
- Friday-a good day?
Good endings can most definitely come at the end of some bad days although it sure doesn’t feel like it at the time. Yes, they were terrible days. But they all ended well if you don’t count the expensive.
So, here’s how it went. I referred to these days yesterday.
The Sunday of the bad week, my husband went up to our cabin because our new pump was going to be installed. However, it wasn’t done on Monday as we’d hoped and so our water supply was iffy at best. We had lots of jugs of water and figured we would just make it work.
I would come up Tuesday morning because we drive separately the first trip of the year to the cabin because we leave one vehicle up there all summer so I have one available to do my thing when my husband fishes all day. It’s an old truck but we’ve kept it going.
I should add we shut down the cabin in the winter, turn off the water and blow out the water lines to avoid any problems when we come back in the spring. If you don’t keep a cabin heated, you can’t leave the water on. And with the cost of propane, that’s a non-starter for us.
So that Tuesday morning, I’ve cleaned out the refrigerator, got every thing loaded but needed to hit the “john” one more time. I noticed when I flushed that the water level in the toilet bowl seemed to not fill up as much as it should which I hadn’t noticed it before.
Talking to my husband, he said, “Just turn the water off till we get back.” Except I couldn’t. It was too tight. So, I had to turn off the main water supply. That cut-off valve is in the basement next to our irrigation pump. My husband built around it a number of years ago for aesthetic reasons. The side is screwed in at about four places but naturally the screw sizes were all different so that meant multiple trips upstairs to get the right screwdrivers. Fun! I finally got the cover off and turned off the spigot.
Now, I’m on my way up north. In the meantime, we learn they aren’t going to install the pump till at least Thursday. So that meant heating up the water my husband brought up for clean-up and for dishes. We weren’t too happy about it but we knew we had enough water till then.
Pump is installed
It’s Wednesday. Tuesday had been a quiet day. I am surprised I’m doing so well with jugs of water for dishes and “sink baths.”
The pump guy comes. He works pretty fast and about 1:00 the pump is officially installed. He turns it on but it isn’t maintaining pressure. It’s supposed to maintain sixty pounds of pressure and it’s only 45. He says, “That means you have a leak somewhere.” Hmmm.
Looking for the leak
So, he says he might be able to come back tomorrow and up us dig but that we should try and find it ourselves. But he says we should find the electrical line and the propane line so if he can come back, he doesn’t hit the lines when he digs. Well, we start digging. After digging two good-sized trench at least a foot deep, we managed to find both. But no water line. No puddles.
Still looking for the leak
It had been raining on and off but now it starts to rain harder. My husband says, “Let’s dig on on the other side of the cabin.” We head to the other side and immediately when we step on the ground it feels way too soft, like it’s waterlogged. But we have to remove the bottom flashing around the cabin first so my husband can get to the pipe to check it out. That proved difficult as well but we got it.
Find the leak
Now some serious digging begins, in the rain. We get down a foot, finally locate the pipe and are pretty sure this where the leak is. But, of course, we need to turn the pump on to know for sure. So my husband turns on the pump and the water gushes out really hard. Right at me. I am now thoroughly wet and muddy. But, hey, we found the leak. Right?
The pipe under the sink has to be replaced and the flexible piping thread through the former hole through the floor and out under the house. But, of course, the new pipe is a fraction too big. We have to make the hole bigger. But how?
My husband can’t even see the hole itself unless he were to completely crawl underneath the cabin which would almost be impossible. I come up with a brilliant plan. He gets his drill. He takes his hand and begins feeling under the house and when the hole gets dark from where I am, I yell, “Yep, that’s the spot.” He begins drilling from underneath and I scrape around the part of the hole I can get to. Finally, I get the pipe threaded down the hole so he can see it. He pulls it through. Clamps everything off and we test with the pump on. The repair holds. It’s a good ending to a miserable day.
Later that day
So hubby then has me turn on the water in the sink to see how everything looks and you know what happens, don’t you? The u-shaped trap is leaking. We drive to the nearest store where they have plumbing, find the parts and hubby fixes that leak. That was an easy fix.
By this point, we are muddy, dirty and in desperate need of a shower. We have no running water but we clean up in the sink because the pump pressure isn’t maintaining pressure as it should so we want to wait for the guys to come back the next day and test it. We fall into bed exhausted.
The pump people come back. We explained the pump isn’t maintaining pressure. He flicked a switch and yea, the pump worked. My husband said, “You didn’t even tell us there was the switch.” We had just been turning it on and off with the handle. The pump guy looked kind of chagrined. But he also said, “You still have a miniscule leak somewhere though but it’s maintaining pressure.” Famous last words. We decided we could live with that. We took showers that night and the pressure was great.
Friday–a good day?
A good morning
Thanks goodness, the next morning we had coffee with some good friends and that was wonderful. The nightmare was over. There couldn’t be anymore leaks. We were convinced the pump guy was wrong and, anyway, the pump was guaranteed. It was a great visit with our friends and we ran some errands and had a nice morning. We came home and had a nice afternoon. I worked in my she-shed editing my soon-to-be-released next book.
We take a nice, albeit hot, evening walk and are so looking forward to our showers. We My husband is getting ready to strip down and get into the shower when he asks, “Did you have the shower on today and get water on the floor over here?” pointing to a spot along the wall.
“Nope,” I say. We look at each other.
Hubby takes off the vents, spots the leak, fixes it and puts everything back in place. Easy-peasey. But as a precautionary measure I suggest we call a plumber to look at it. Of course, it’s Friday and it’s almost five so what are the chances? But, lo and behold one agrees to come out on Saturday. You know what that means, don’t you. Overtime.
But we get our showers in and flop into bed once again. So far we haven’t enjoyed our time at the cabin much. We’re trying to count our blessings.
Malachi, the plumber
The plumber shows up that Saturday. He looks twelve but he is twenty-seven. His name is Malachi and I remark how much I like his name. He responds, “Last book of the Old Testament.” I ask him if he’s a Christian ’cause I could kind of tell, and he says he is. He’s just great and was the fastest plumber I’ve ever seen. He tells my husband he did a good job be he agreed we should replace the old pipe with some new pipe to be on the safe side. He’s done in a matter of about ten minutes.
“Let’s test it before we put the vents back up,” Malachi suggests.
We do and another pipe further down blows water like out of whale’s whale hole. Malachi is now thoroughly wet. We want to sit down and cry but Malachi says it’s good he came because now he can fix that one, too, and we’ll be good to go. Yea!! We are ready to be done with all this.
Leaks are fixed but…….
The day before, my husband had noticed my brakes lights wouldn’t go off in my old truck. He said it needed brake fuel so on that Friday we met with our friends, he picked up a quart. After Malachi left, he put it in the truck and told me he was going to take it for a spin to see how it acted.
He comes back and tells me, “Hmm, the brakes are almost gone.” I don’t believe him because that’s how I am and tell him I will drive it myself to see. He hops in the passenger side because he probably wants to see the look on my face when I find out he’s right and I’m wrong. We’re like that, both very stubborn. When I try to stop at the top of our driveway before turning onto the road, the brakes go almost to the floor before they take hold.
Hubby was right and I’m not happy. I love my old truck.
Problem solved and fixed
So, now we are trying to figure out what we are going to do with the truck The nearest down is about thirty minutes away. We consider towing but for an old truck? My husband finds a garage on the highway about ten miles away and calls them. They say bring it in Monday. Monday comes and he leads the way in his truck while I follow in mine. We take all the backroads at about twenty miles an hour, figuring that at that speed if my brakes fail altogether I will be able to steer to a stop alongside the road. We get to the garage, drop off the truck and get a call in a few hours it was ready. It was the brakes but it wasn’t an expensive repair. We were thrilled.
When we got back to the cabin late Monday afternoon, we were beyond tired. Tuesday morning we got up and headed for home. Home never sounded so good. We felt sad because we’d had such a miserable week at our usually very peaceful cabin.
But now, remember the toilet? We arrived home unpacked, got the laundry started, and turned on the water. My husband examines the issue and knows he can fix it. He bought the “innards” that go inside the tank and repaired it in no time . He asked me to check it out. I flushed the toilet and the water didn’t come up much higher than it did before. We both agree it’s time to call another plumber just in case. You sure don’t want a problem with an upstairs bathroom. We are not having a good time.
A quick fix and a good ending, albeit expensive
Believe it or not, I get one willing to come out the very next morning. He does. And he tells me that yes, my husband did everything right but the problem wasn’t the level of the water in the toilet bowl, it was the toilet itself. It needed replacing. I don’t hesitate. I asked him when we could get it installed, because we have family coming that very afternoon, he says he just has to go get it and he’ll be done in an hour. He did and he was. It works great.
Whew. I get exhausted just reading all this. I would like to say my husband and I never said a cross word to each other this whole time. Are you married? Enough said.
I would like to say we prayed about every detail. Are you perfect?
But here’s what I will say. After the second leak, we both felt more trouble was on the horizon. Somehow you could just tell things were going to spiral out of control. We did stop midway (after shutting off the pump), to pray about it all. After that, we felt sane and ready to tackle anything. We asked for strength to do the next task and not to get too discouraged.
Malachi, the plumber.
We got to meet Malachi and hear his story and about his six-month old baby girl, Everly. He was a joy and a blessing. I won’t say it made up for the week but it helped.
We realized that when you live in a home about 120 years old and a toilet that has been in the house as long as you have lived there, 35 years, you just might have a problem. The same with the cabin that is at least that old. And when you put in a new pump with more pressure and you have old pipes, well, new pump=more pressure=old pipes=disaster.
Life has challenges. There are good days and bad days. That week was annoying and as frustrating as they could be but not for one minute did I not count my blessings. I am blessed with people I love and who love me. I am blessed we could afford these repairs. Mostly, of course, I am blessed because I know God is ever-present.
We are able to laugh about it all now (till we pay all the bills), but we’re good if there are no more problems for a while.
I hope your day goes great.