Monday, January 30, 2012

Not In Our Control.... In Our Control....

Sometime this past weekend, it occurred to me that perhaps I should spend some time clarifying -- or explicating -- or some sort of fancy-schmancy word -- the whole concept of "not in our control".

This concept is something I have discussed a bunch of times on this blog, including in my blog about New Year's resolutions (read here) or my last blog about how fra-gee-lay our life is (read here). Yet I realize I have neglected to, well, "expound" upon the idea.

And all of you know how much I love to expound! Give me a soap box and I am on fire. Fire I tell ya!

Of course, in reality my desire to go into detail about the idea of things that are "not in our control" and things that are "in our control" is because I have spent this past weekend experiencing the fruits of Murphy's Cabin striking again..... That is, I have spent the past weekend without water -- or, without much water.


Not in our control......... In our control....

Other people's behavior ..... our reaction to other people's behavior....
(ie, telling the grumpy clerk to go stick it up their arse)

Making other people love us ...... loving ourselves......
(ie, Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!)

Hollow's desire to wander ....... breathing deeply and only worrying a bit ....
(ie, she will come home, she will come home, she will come home)

Wildlife behavior..... our reaction to wildlife behavior
(ie, getting away from the very disconcerting sounds of coyotes nearby rather than remaining seated on the log, and posting on Facebook while yelling "Go away")

The extremes of weather...... our reaction to the extremes of weather
(ie, not leaving the door open to the basement "mechanicals area" on one of the coldest nights of the year)

Um, yes.

~ ahem ~

~ cough, cough ~

Oh fine. I admit it. I managed to leave the door to my basement mechanicals area wide open on Friday night. W-i-d-e open. And it was cold. Damn cold. Antarctica cold.

And believe it or not, I was not even drunk. At least not yet.....

It originally started out logically enough. I had run out of room upstairs to have my big coffee table in the living room, so decided to move it down to the basement. So after the pups' evening walk, I went to the basement, turned on the lights and opened the door so that I could go get the coffee table and carry it downstairs without having to set it down to get the door or the lights. I went back upstairs, tried to pick up the coffee table, managed to budge it only a smidgen, made a mental note to get help from a friend, and gave up. Shut the front door, and proceeded to get out of my outdoor clothes......


I woke up Saturday morning to discover no running water in the cabin. Um, crap.

I get dressed, go outside and downstairs, walk into the basement, and my first thought is not "Why the hell is the door open?!?" Nope. My first thought is, "Why the hell are the lights on?!?"

Yeah, not just a hat rack. And no, only a natural blonde when I my provided my age in months. Yeaaaahhhh.

As yes, it did actually take me until after I realized that the pipes were frozen to finally register that the door had been open when I came downstairs.

~ sigh ~

My first thought, was "I can handle this. Really I can!" ~ big smile of false confidence ~

Oh alright, I'll admit my first thought was actually "Frick. Crap. Shit." Possibly several times. Possibly in several different versions. Possibly in several different orders.

So. I went upstairs, turned the heat for the radiant in-floor heating of the room directly above the frozen pipes wayyyy up. Then proceeded to go take the desperate dogs for their morning walk. Returned, checked on the pipes. Yup. Still frozen.

And no. I was not surprised by this.

Went upstairs, found a hair dryer, and went back downstairs and began heating the pipes by hand. After five minutes, got bored of this.

Did I mention I have the attention span of a gnat? Oh yeah, this would probably be obvious since I managed to open the basement door and then completely -- completely -- forget I had done so not 3 minutes later.

Um. Yeah.

But, being a productive gnat, I began to search my basement for something more useful, like a space heater. As I had discovered I could have a firm belief in the previous owners having left behind lots of productive things. Seriously, I have half of a plumbing store's inventory down there!

And why yes, what did I discover in a back corner, on a top shelf? A space heater that looked like it was from the Eisenhower era. I suppose this should have concerned me..... But did I mention that I have the attention span of a gnat? So yeah, that thought only crossed my mind ever so briefly.... Instead, all I cared about was whether the damn thing turned on when plugged in.

Tada! Working space heater! So, I plugged it in and placed it next to a portion of the frozen pipes. I wiped my hands satisfactorily and went upstairs, half thinking I should whistle a little tune.

Which I did not do.

Instead, I got upstairs, felt a little less smug, and decided to call my ~ wonderful fabulous brilliant amazing ~ handy man. (And no, he does not read this blog, nor even know about its existence, so that was just gratuitous complimenting.)

I explained he had a stupid client (and no, I did not get any reassuring comments from him at this point, only a sort of snort), and was hoping I could check with him as to whether I was handling the situation, um, "correctly." He said he'd be over in a few hours.

I wiped my hands satisfactorily, and went upstairs to my office, half thinking I should whistle a little tune.

Which I did not do.

Instead, I got upstairs, began to tinker around in the office, and heard a strange noise. I cocked my head, and listened again. Huh. I think that might be the sump pump. Now why would the sump pump be going off?

Um yeah. Not just a hat rack. I swear.

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!

I race down my spiral staircase, out the front door and down to the basement. Water is pouring, spraying, flooding every where. The sump pump is frantically pumping away to get the water back out of the basement. The space heater is sitting in the direct line of one of the sprays of water, the house furnace in another.

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!

The culprit? The house's water system pump (which is not the pump that brings the water up the well and into the house, but the pump that takes the well water from the holding tank and pumps it up and into the house) has cracked. The water from the well holding tank is quickly flooding out and into the basement, while the well pump has turned on and is trying to pump more water into the tank.


I try to close the valve at the bottom of the water tank, but of course its frozen open. I find a valve labeled "deep well pump" and turn it off. The spray finally begins to lessen, and eventually becomes a drizzle. I'm soaked, the basement is soaked, and the house pump is a loss.

Frick. Crap. Shit. Now we're talking money.

Did I mention I have a wonderful fabulous brilliant amazing handy man? He showed up, assessed the situation (shook his head), took notes (shook his head), made a shopping list (shook his head), and said he'd be back (shaking his head).

He was back a couple of hours later with a small pump he had at his house, a bunch of additional plumbing supplies, and pizza. I offered a beer. Seemed a pretty fair trade.

He then worked in the basement jerry-rigging a temporary pump for me to ensure I had at least some water until the plumbing supply stores opened on Monday morning. He worked on a Saturday night from 7 pm until near 9 pm. When he left (shaking his head), I had running water.

Yep. Wonderful fabulous brilliant amazing.

Okay, so maybe the pressure was pretty nonexistent.... and by nonexistent, let me explain: water pressure is rated as "pounds per square inch" or "psi". Most pumps provide household water in the 40 to 60 psi range (ie, the pump turns on when the water drops below 40 psi, and turns off at 60 psi). The new pump? It was providing water at 5 psi.

Yes, you read that right: five. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

But.... I had water. I had indoor plumbing again. Wheeeee!

So, the lesson of the weekend.... as I sit here on a Monday night, having paid a pretty penny earlier today to buy a brand spanking new top-of-the-line pump, eagerly looking forward to my handyman arriving tomorrow bright and early to install said pump, is to remember one very very important thing:

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

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