Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Longer Hanging

Well, my watery adventure this morning was nothing nearly so fun as a swimming pool failure, nor was it as nasty as a dunny* death. It was, well . . . let me tell you a story.

After breakfast, I washed my hands at the kitchen sink. I love my sink, by the way. It's a beautiful, deep, indestructible Kohler porcelain job, set at a 45-degree angle into the corner, with two windows behind it, looking out into the backyard. There's a wonderful spot there, behind the sink and in front of the windows, that holds all of my houseplants. They thrive there, with the indirect sunshine, and near-constant humidity from the heavy use of hot water there. (With a family as big as mine, you use the kitchen sink a LOT.) And after sitting, forgotten and forlorn, in the dark of the Bellingham garage for nearly a month, they deserve it. (I only believe in houseplants that can fend for themselves.)

But where was I? Oh yes, washing my hands.

So, I washed my hands, and turned off the water, like any normal human being accustomed to a kitchen sink would do. Then I heard this incredibly fast, near-deafening, hammering sound. I stood there completely stunned, my brain racing a million miles an hour. It wasn't a hammer, because the noise was continuous . . . but it pulsed and pounded . . . Finally it sunk in that it was coming from behind the sink . . . from BELOW the sink. The hammering was hitting the underside of the counter!

I tore open the cabinet doors in front of the sink, and looked back to see, to my horror, that the plastic supply tube leading to the faucet had been blown out of the compression fitting on the supply valve, loosing a stream of full-municipal-water-system-pressure straight up onto the particle-board under-surface of my countertop. Looking down, I saw a sheet of water just cresting the front edge of the cabinet and spilling out onto the vinyl, rapidly spreading out over the floor.

Squinting in the spray, I climbed in under the sink and took a short shower while cranking the shut-off valve. I started hollering for MrC to get towels, for Vern to get downstairs, and generally feeling like a deer in the headlights . . . unable to leave the ever-spreading water, but knowing I had to get SOMETHING to sop it up, and fast. The hand and dish towels hanging by the sink were saturated in seconds, while the burgeoning lake laughed at my puny efforts. Finally, gut-wrenching seconds later, Vern threw down a couple of towels from the master bath, and MrC appeared with the towels from the kids' bath. (Where he disappeared to between going upstairs and appearing with the towels is beyond me. He had plenty of time to walk sedately down to the Haggen and back to pick up some Ben & Jerry's.)

Nabbing the terry cloth boon, I threw them at the flood plain, and then hit my knees and began tearing everything out from under the sink. (Note to self: from now on EVERYTHING under the kitchen sink stays in baskets or boxes. No more of this "Throw it all in there" stuff.) Mushy cardboard boxes of steel wool and magic erasers, scrub brushes, plastic gloves, dishwasher detergent, sponges, dishwasher accessories, (could someone please tell me why I need two silverware baskets?), a stock pot too tall to fit in any other cupboard, and the list goes on.

With all the hud** cleared, I began sweeping the water out of the sink, trying to keep the particleboard and drywall as dry as possible. It's a little unnerving, doing that while knowing what water can do once it has been in contact with the cut edges of melamine-finished cabinet interiors, not to mention drywall. It was only after I had sopped up most of the water on the cabinet floor that I realized I was kneeling in puddles lined with wet towels. I then set to work trying to chase down the last of the errant pools which had formed around the perimieter of my terry cloth bog.

And thus began the day that was sucked down the "household repair" black hole.

Overall, it could have been much worse. That supply line could have blown free while we were gone last week, and poured water into the house for hours or days. (Be still my beating heart.) My trip to Home Depot only took an hour, and I got exactly what I needed (and what the builder should have used in the first place): a braided-steel supply line with built-in compression fittings on each end.

The silver lining? I was able to finally go to the welding-supply store just a couple of blocks down the street from Home Depot and get 316 TIG welding rods, a.k.a. blocking wires. 18 36" wires in three different gauges, for $8. PVC and caps to hold them: ~$5. Now, all I need is a box of nickel-plated T-pins from an office supply store, and I'll have a blocking kit for about $14. I'm in lace-knitter's nirvana. ;o) Photos to come soon, once I find the memory card that doesn't send my computer into an epileptic fit.


*Dunny: Ever see the second Crocodile Dundee? A dunny is what sits next to the bidet.
**Hud: a Utahrnish*** expletive. Syn: junk
***Utarnish: that which belongs or pertains to the vernacular of the Utahrnians****.
****Utahrnians: the select portion of the population of the state of Utah which evokes a strong desire to leave Utah.
(Authors note: Not everyone who uses the word "hud" is a Utahrnian. After all, I just used it, and I definitely don't live in Utah. (Anymore. ;o)


Shan said...

Oh man, that is just BAD. But it could have been much WORSE and at least you kept a cool head about you.

Lucy said...

Oh you poor thing! sounds like a total nightmare. Thank wool it didn't give up the ghost while you were away! Take some deep breaths and knit for a while to calm yourself. I'm very interested in the Tig wires - blocking wires theory...

TopHat said...

I love your silver lining! And I'm living in Utahrnian Paradise right now and I've never used "hud." Maybe I should get out more?

Thimbleanna said...

Wow. Sorry it wasn't the swimming pool. Your story brings back such memories -- the very same thing happened at my mom's house years ago -- I was just a few days home from a C-section -- the men were at work, it was me, mom, a 2 yr. old and one week old. There was no shut off under the sink. We were running all over -- mom finally ran out into the street and a guy passing by stopped to help and opened the water shut off at the street and turned it off. What excitement!

Really? People WANT to leave Utah LOL? My sons are both just dying to move there -- having grown up visiting a lot. Time will tell...

Tiggywinkle Knits said...

You are L.U.C.K.Y.! Our broken toilet ran water for at leat 3 hours one night before DH woke up and found it. Oh, and that toilet was on the top floor of our 3-story townhouse. Yep, water through all 3 floor. Took 4 months of de-construction, dryout, and restoration. Thank god for $500 deductible homeowners insurance!