Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Eeyikes! Nightmare!

Today was worse than yesterday by maybe 50%, maybe more. (And I hear there are primaries under way, eh? What's the haps? Haven't been able to keep up with the numbers at all.)

Anthony and Justin arrived right on time and went right to work. Justin showed me his eye, no longer red and weepy, and said that it had been driving him nuts most of the night, that whatever he'd got in it wouldn't come out, and then all of a sudden it was gone. I felt kind of silly playing pseudoDoc to a young lunky plumber who wouldn't wear goggles -- I'm sure he didn't have any -- but hey, they were promising to get the majority of the work done by the end of the day, so why complain too much?

Eh, maybe I shoulda.

No injuries today that I know of, but they were here from 8:00a till almost dark, close to 6:00p, and we still don't have any water. There was a lot of sawing and pipe wrenching this morning -- I thought all that was done yesterday -- and a lot of galvanized pipe was piling up on the driveway, pipe-age I thought had all been removed yesterday. 'Nother guy was out digging trench for the new feed line from the street main, and had quite a challenge getting under the front walk. Anthony and Justin went under the house after finishing with their yanking and sawing inside the house, and were under there most of the rest of the day. At one point, whatever electrics they were using under the house overloaded the circuit and they were plunged into darkness (apparently the bulb blew out and that's what caused the circuit to trip). Worse, the smoke alarm kept going off as they heated the pipes for joining. Finally took the battery out just to make it stop. Of course I made them promise they really weren't trying to burn the house down.

The noises under the house, the cursing, the wrenching, the banging and carrying on were even more abundant than yesterday. And it didn't seem like they were making much progress at all. Then Justin came up for air and went into the bathroom to fuss with the piping under the sink, and I swear he was there for three solid hours. Then it was back under.

When 3:00p rolled around, and nothing at all was connected, I became, as they say, "concerned." The toilet was still in the bathtub, there were no fixures installed anywhere, the kitchen sink supply piping wasn't in on one side, because they couldn't get it seated, the waterheater was disconnected, and the main from the street was disconnected, the new pipes were laid in the trench not linked to the house or the city main. In fact, someone from the city had to come out and replace a nipple on the shut off valve or no new piping could be attached.

And the cat was missing.

He'd gone to hide behind the tub (figuring the wall was opened up just for him, you know how cats are) and when the plumbers started making real noise in there, he bolted out, scaring Justin, who literally screamed. He went chattering off into the hall, "Do you know what just happened! Do you know? A CAT came running out from behind the tub." I said, "Did you see where he went?" cool as a cucumber. "Outside?"
The door wasn't open, so that was unlikely. I suspected the cat had run back behind the tub once Justin was out of the room. I didn't see him again until a half hour after they left this evening, then he emerged from under some shrubbery outside, as if he'd been there all the time, and he was ready for supper.

When the plumbers realized we'd only prepared for two days without water, and there was no sign they were going to complete the job today, they went into furious overdrive to connect the toilet, tub and sink in the bathroom and the waterheater. Also, it seemed like a good idea to reconnect to the old main line in the front yard, so as to have a flow into the house. It was a frenzy. Finally, about 5:00p enough was connected to try the system. Justin was stationed in the bathroom, Anthony at the main valve at the street, me headed to the laundry room between them.

And I heard this sound, like the sound the water heater made when it failed. Oh no. When I got to the laundry room door, a puddle of water was coming out from under the washing machine. I hollered to Anthony to turn it off. It took him a while, and the water gushed up the wall. In all the frenzy, no one had thought to cap the washer lines, and so water was fountaining up from the pipes, and we had a flood. Justin came and started sweeping the water out, Anthony came and looked crestfallen. When he realized where the water was coming from, he cursed lustily and got to work capping the pipes. That took a few minutes, while clearing out the water took considerably longer. Finally, it was time to test the mini-system again.

Leaks. Everywhere. OMG. That was it, no water tonight. They cleaned up and left. I spent another half hour sopping up the water in the laundry room. Then I left, too.

Got me a big greasy burger and fries, and a bottle of water. And another bottle of water, a big one. And another one.

Anthony and Justin said they'd be back tomorrow morning, planning to finish by early afternoon. But... We're looking at the new damage, on top of the damage when the water heater originally blew out, and it's tough to reconcile.

Did I hear somebody say we should fire them and call another company to fix and finish?


To be continued...


  1. Um, do you have a fire extinguisher? Just in case...

    I am almost afraid to read your next update.

  2. Based on my experience, it sounds like you're moving along right on schedule. You likely only have about three more unanticipated disasters to go. Sorry, Ché, this is the way it goes. One of the reasons when you think remodel, you need to lie down until the thought passes.