What do you get when you combine an ill-maintained house from 1979, a basement that will be used as living quarters, and water?
A big freaking headache is what you get. Come on in, sit a spell, and I’ll tell you a story. Actually, I’ll tell you two stories. A two-for-one deal, if you will.
A couple of days ago, the prep work started to Myrtle’s exterior in preparation for a new paint job. One of the crew members plugged a hose into a lower spigot outside of the basement and began to pressure wash.
This was happening in the early evening, so Matt and I had already returned to the camper. We received a text message from the project supervisor with photos of the basement. The photos showed a river of water pouring under the baseboards in the corner where the spigot is located, and a good-sized lake of water in the middle of the concrete slab.
Let me just say THANK GOODNESS this happened after the original floor had been demo’d but before the new floors go in.
The water was shut off, we gave instructions to the painting crew to not use that spigot, and planned to talk to our plumber the next day.
The next morning, it was my shift at the house. It was a party of a day with literally a dozen vehicles parked in the yard, street, and nearby cul-de-sac area. It was my first time meeting some of the crews and there were folks from so many different trades working at the same time that my head was spinning trying to keep it all straight, while also fielding 300 questions coming my way.
(not gonna lie, though, it was all very exciting and actually kinda fun)
I was set up in an empty room – one the ceiling scrapers hadn’t yet reached – with Jasper next to me with his tablet and headphones. I started to hear the sound of a pressure washer outside. Cool, I thought, the painters are here!
Then something compelled me to jump up and sprint to the basement to double check that the leaky spigot was not the one being used. I got downstairs to see a flood of water pouring into the basement. I flew outside and around the house to find whoever it was pressure washing and tell them as politely as I could muster to TURN OFF THE WATER NOW.
Later, with a new stream of water in the basement, our plumber took a look at the leak from the inside and outside. We thought the sheet rock was dry and that the water was coming in under the baseboards, but then…
… the plumber, without warning, put his fist cleanly through the wall. The back side of the sheet rock was sopping wet. He yanked some of it out and determined that the old piping used had suffered some hairline cracks, likely due to a hose being left connected throughout the winter and freezing.
“This’ll be a fun task!” He said. I stood nearby with my stomach starting to feel sick. “Fun” in contractor language usually means expensive.
So we have a plan to fix it – at least it CAN be fixed – but I’m not gonna be very trusting of that area of the house for quite some time.
Fast forward to this morning. We learned last minute that the team of ceiling scrapers would be working on a Saturday. I planned to leave Matt with the kids and head to the house. Myrtle has a long way to go to earn my trust, so we are implementing a better-safe-than-sorry approach to work being done by being present for as much of it as we can in case major issues arise.
We were in dire need of some clean laundry, so I loaded up my laundry and planned to get that done during my time at the house. The movers had hooked up our W/D’s in the laundry room, so I should be good to go, right?
Ha ha. Ha.
I pulled back the drop cloth (every inch of the house is covered in ceiling crap right now) and verified that both units were plugged in. Check. Then I looked behind them to make sure the hoses were connected. Check.
Then I turned on the water supply and heard the sound of running water that didn’t stop. That didn’t seem right. Then water started to gush out from under the units… gallons of it.
I let out an expletive that’d make my mama blush and jumped up onto the top of the washer to reach over and turn off the supply, stopping the flow of water. But it was too late. The floor was covered in standing water.
To make things even more fun, it wasn’t just water. All that ceiling crap I mentioned earlier? Well, all the little scraps mixed in with the water and created a monumental sticky, pasty mess.
But wait, do you want even more fun? The only thing I had to clean it up with were two rolls of paper towels, which would have made that amount of water just laugh.
After spewing some frustration in a stream of texts to Matt and my dad, and after being reminded that there’s a Dollar General just a block down from the neighborhood (but seriously, when is there NOT a Dollar General within spitting distance?) I jumped in my car and headed out with visions of damaged subfloor , walls, and baseboards dancing through my head.
I got back to the house, pulled the dryer away from the wall – it was the water supply for the steam feature that had been leaking – and started mopping up the mess with the cheap towels. I was, thankfully, able to get most of it up, though how much seeped under the baseboards or beneath the tile floor remains to be known.
My dad arrived to help assess the damage and troubleshoot the problem. In the end, I can’t blame this second leak on Myrtle. My dad discovered that the movers cross-threaded the hose when they hooked up our washer and dryer on moving day.
At least now I could get my laundry done, right?
Ha ha ha. Ha.
Up until then, I hadn’t even tried to power on the units – I had only opened the water supply. The dryer powered on with no problems on its 220V plug, but the washer was a dead stick. I smacked my forehead in an admission of stupidity.
Of course there’s no power. The adjacent room, our master bathroom, was completely torn apart from the demolition. Disconnected light fixtures, open junction boxes, bare wires, etc. Of course the power had been shut off to that room, and likely the laundry room is on the same circuit, being right next door.
I wasn’t about to go flippin’ breakers not knowing what exactly is going on in the master bath regarding safety, so I just had to laugh at the utter failure of my attempt to be productive while being present for the workers.
Well-played, Myrtle. Well-played.
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