Water-blog and a Book Club

Normally I’m a punctual person, but a couple of weeks back, I showed up nearly an hour late for a book club. I had a very good excuse, though. And enough time has passed that I can laugh about it… a little. Here’s the story:

I was getting ready to leave, putting a few things away, and I noticed the fridge was slightly askew. Now I have a thing for lines and symmetry, so when I saw the side of the fridge cutting across the tiles instead of running parallel, I needed to fix it. First I hauled out the fridge and checked to see if something had fallen behind there. All clear. I was rushing, and I jammed that hulking fridge back in place with a little too much vigour. Did I make note of the thin copper tube that brought water to the water dispenser? No. I didn’t give it a second thought until water started spraying out from behind the fridge. In my haste, I caused the tube to bend and break.

I looked at the clock. It was time to leave. “I need towels,” I shrieked. Water was spreading over the floor. I quickly tossed everything out from underneath the sink to locate the shut-off valve. And of course, it was stuck. I called my husband, expecting some magical advice. He told me to keep twisting, and as I was twisting, water started leaking into my palm. “That can’t be normal,” I told him. “Yes, that’s normal,” he said. “Put some muscle into it.” So I put some muscle into it, and the entire knob snapped off in my hand. Water started spraying out from underneath the sink. Yes… that made two locations.

Now over the years I’ve had recurring dreams about water. Clean water, dirty water, hair-filled water, rising water, stopped-up water in sinks and bathtubs and toilets. Basically, water beyond my control. And at that moment, I felt as though I was inside a bad dream. “More towels,” I cried, as I watched the second puddle of water working to reach the first. My husband was still on the phone, and he told me to turn off the main valve to the house. Where is it? In the basement. Just follow the pipes in the ceiling. Simple.

I dashed downstairs as my three year old skated about on his bare feet, enjoying the new dual sprinkler system. And could I find the right pipes? Could I find the main valve? Of course I couldn’t. It took me considerable time as I was looking along the ceiling. Moving boxes. Climbing up onto shelving. Following pipes. And then finally, as I was wandering around staring upwards, I tripped over a structure jutting up from the cement. A strange looking thing… with a valve! “It’s on the floor,” I yelled into the phone. “Yes, didn’t I say it was on the floor?”

All water to the house off, and I bolted out the door. Though I arrived a bit damp and frazzled, I enjoyed a wonderful evening with a fantastic group of women in a nice, dry home.

In the morning, off to the hardware store I went. I loathe paying for professionals when I think I can do something myself. So I purchased a new compression shut-off valve, tubing for the water dispenser, and other supplies. Once I figured it out, it was a relatively quick fix. Good thing, too, as there was a mound of laundry up to my hip. Not a dry towel in the house.