“Stop Freakin’…Call Beacon” – Part 1

The title of this post is the tagline of Beacon Plumbing and Mechanical, Inc. which advertises heavily on 710 KIRO Newsradio here in Seattle.  That’s the station TB is most likely tuned to in her car.  Thankfully she listens to the radio and heard their ad as it ended up saving us a significant amount of money.

TB and I had our very own Waterworld sequel today courtesy of a busted water pipe on the side of our home.  Let’s start at the top.

I awoke at 7:30, followed my typical routine of preparing for work, and had my breakfast shake in hand as I lingered into the garage to board my vehicle for my 10-minute commute.  My car wasn’t there.  TB had taken it to her morning workout routine since she had left her car at work while she was out of the office at a team offsite in California.  Great!  A hostage in my own home.

I returned to my home office and started doing the telecommuter, virtual office thing hoping TB would return soon so I could get to my real office.  I can accomplish just about everying I need remotely, but being in the office gives the work day a more dynamic nature that is often extremely beneficial.  The doorbell rings…

On my way downstairs I can see it’s my next-door neighbor, let’s call him Kyle.  Kyle has never stopped by unannounced before so I hurry to the door to see how I can be of assistance.  As I step off the last stair onto the main level of our home I hear, “Blar, blar, blar, blar, blar!”  The telltale sign of an armed home security system whose motion detector has just been tripped.  During my “typical routine” I set the alarm as I linger into the garage (burglars beware) and I must have forgotten to disarm it after realizing TB had taken my car and I returned to my home office to work from home for an hour or two.

Mortified, I hurriedly disarmed the system — the shrillness of the siren as it reflects off walls, wood, glass and marble could wake the dead, indeed.  As I opened the door, I hit Kyle with the “I’m not really an idiot” grin to which he nods reaffirmingly.  He then mentions that he was out on his balcony having a smoke and noticed I have water pouring down the side of my house.  He offers, “Your air conditioner has probably frozen over.”

Our neighbors are haters.  None of them have AC, we do, and, by Seattle standards, it has been really hot, really often so far this Summer.  You do the math.

TB mentioned just this weekend how our other neighbor (you remember Jan, right?) made “Air Conditioning is Unnecessary” the topic of their last encounter and tried to downplay how the heat had been impacting her household.  “Oh, we just hang out at the mall all day or go see a movie and sleep downstairs.  No big deal.  The AC probably doesn’t get up to your master bedroom anyway since cold air falls and hot air rises, right?”

Haters.  They have probably been wishing ill on our AC for weeks now.  Maybe we should have them over to share a BTU or two. 🙂

Kyle and I proceeded to the side of my house. Both of us are dressed for work (dress shirts and slacks) and I am a little embarassed by the overgrowth of weeds we have to navigate through to get to the AC unit and the water leak.  It’s already hot outside and I find myself hoping our AC isn’t broken (“What will we do?!?”) and I’m sure Kyle is thinking the opposite (“Hate!  Hate!  Hate!”).  Sure enough there is a lot of water gushing from behind a rock wall a good 15 feet downhill from the air conditioner.  If I didn’t know any better I would have assumed the previous homeowners forgot to tell us about the waterfall they had installed.  Oh, no!!!  (“F_ck!” is actually what I was thinking.)

His good neighbor deed accomplished and smug, knowing we’d been feeling the heat this evening, Kyle bid me adieu and headed to work.  (I am actually really grateful he saw and told me about the water otherwise the damage could have been much, much more severe.)

Just as I’m walking back toward the front door of our house, the garage door begins to open.  I must have shot TB the most vitriolic, virulent glance she’d seen in some time as she pulled my car into the garage.  I don’t know how much of it was one of those, “Where the heck have you been with my car?” or “Oh, now you return!” or “You wouldn’t believe the type of morning I’m having!” or “We’re f_cked!” looks but it probably contained significant portions of each.  She knows the look and despises getting it as much as I despise giving it.  Lucky for us, it is extremely rare but today it paid a visit.

Sensing something was very wrong and I was going to be very pissy, I could see TB inhale before asking, “What’s going on?”  I don’t remember exactly what I said as my mind was reeling and I was in problem “solver” not problem “briefer” mode.  You know the mode when every question seems like a dumb question and how you answer such questions betrays your true emotions despite you thinking you’re doing a terrific job remaining patient and mild-mannered?  She shot me her look which I know well as it’s never very far behind mine.  It clearly and crisply says, “Look!”  It was enough to make me inhale before answering her next question.

I told her the little bit of what I knew and the lotta bit of what I didn’t and my gameplan.  I did some yellow pages roulette, found a plumber dispatcher who said she’d have someone out in the next one or two hours, paced a bit, check my account balances :smile:, paced some more, then decided to take matters into my own hands.  I hate not knowing.

I changed out of my school clothes, grabbed a shovel and some gloves and went to work.  Digging is hard work.  Digging in 80+ degree direct sun is crazy work.  In 30 minutes I had dug a 1/2′ wide x 2′ deep x 4′ long trench along the path of the water leak.  I still hadn’t found the source of the leak but I was on a path taking me directly toward the AC unit.  Unfortunately, the AC unit was still a good 10′ away and the source of the water leak was going deeper and deeper.  F_ck!  I kept digging.

In another 45 minutes I had a 3′ deep x 8′ long trench dug alongside the house.  I was dog tired.  The water was unrelenting.  I still hadn’t found the source of the leak and didn’t want to shut-off for fear of not being able to identify the source.  TB, ever the trooper, came out in her “outdoor” clothes, grabbed a shovel and started digging.  She made some significant progress in a fairly short period of time.  Lucky for me, I think she forgets she’s a girl sometimes. 😉

In another 30 minutes we had a 4’x9′ trench dug.  Keep in mind we were lifting mud, not dry dirt, and both of us have desk jobs.  We were still unable to see the source of the leak and were just a few feet from the AC unit.  I said to TB, “The broken pipe could be a lot further and a lot deeper.”  She said, “Yeah, it could.”  I told her I was going to be optimistic and we would reach the broken pipe soon.  We did.

Stay tuned for the rest in Part 2.

2 Replies to ““Stop Freakin’…Call Beacon” – Part 1”

  1. A cliffhanger!?! I hope I don’t come home to a broken pipe tonight, without learning the most valuable part of the story…

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