Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Price of Humility

Like something from a Looney Tunes episode, I turned a relatively easy faucet repair and leisurely morning into a wild, adventurous, difficult to believe, painful but hilarious experience.  I can say that now because "the incident" is over.  During the incident, time stopped, panic set in, and there was nothing but horror.  I have no idea if two minutes or twenty passed.  I just knew I had to make it stop and it needed to be fast.

You see this particular faucet repair is one I've fixed before.  It is the shower in the Master bathroom.  It requires that you dismantle the handle components, reposition the stop valve so that the water turns completely off when you turn the handle to said position instead of slowly leaking all day and all night driving you mad.  I've done this off an on again for the last two years.

Tired of this particular fix only working for a short period of time, I decided this time to dig deeper.  To dismantle the entire fixture and figure out how to permanently fix it.  That's when it happened.  With one small turn of my wrench...


A veritable geyser pegged me in the chest and began filling the shower pan faster than the drain could expedite it away.  I screamed, "RACHAEL HELLLLLLLLLP!" at the top of my lungs as I tried desperately to put the piece I just removed back into place.  It was useless.  The force of the water pressure was so great that all I managed to do was cause the water to spray in several directions not unlike putting your thumb on the end of a garden hose.  My screaming for help was riddled with a panicked tone due to three equally concerning facts at this point.

  • The water hitting me with great force is dangerously close to overfilling the shower pan. The last thing I need or want is to turn a minor repair into a water damaged second floor with major financial repercussions.
  • I am in my pajamas and completely soaked.  That is no big deal at first but as this story continues it will become a factor.
  • The water keeps fluctuating between severely hot and severely cold.  This makes me constantly GASP for breath as I continue to call out to both God and Rachael for help.
Rachael finally comes in to see the Looney Tunes debacle and dials her dad whilst screaming, "What did you do?!!" repeatedly at me.  I didn't think it was a good time to discuss what got us to this point so I took her inquiry as rhetorical and exited the shower stall, closing the glass door behind me, crossing my fingers that the drain would keep the water level from spilling over the threshold.  I knew I needed to find the shut off valve to the house.  (Special Note of Advice:  ALWAYS DO THIS BEFORE STARTING A PLUMBING PROJECT).

I started to run through our room but quickly lost my footing due to the slippery conditions of my soaked body and the already normally slick laminent floor.  This was a head over heals, land on your back with nothing breaking your fall kind of splat that only Wiley Coyote could compete with.  I knew when I hit that the ramifications of the fall would come back to haunt me but I didn't have time in that moment to take inventory of my physical well being.  Like a newly born colt, I flopped around sliding and slipping finally regaining my upright position and continued down the stairs and out of the house.

This is where being in wet pajamas becomes all the more interesting and hysterical to any lucky neighbors that might have been glancing in our general direction.  At the street curb, kneeling next to what looks like a sewer cover but a bit smaller, with the word WATER on it, I tried to pull the metallic disc up.  Then I notice it seems to have a key hole.  "This CANNOT be!  Who has a key to these things?"  I decide that there must be a different access panel.  This one looked like a city worker or meter reader would be the only one with capabilities of cracking. 

I scan my yard, standing in dripping wet PJ's, and I see the shut off to my sprinklers.  That won't help.  But there behind it in the flower bed, next to the house, was another circular green lid that might be what I'm looking for.  I dive into the mulch and rip the lid off, and there it was.  A valve.  Not sure its the one I am looking for I decide it needs to be turned off regardless.  After several righty-tighty twists, I can no longer turn the valve further...I go back inside and loudly inquire,  "Is it OFF!?"

It was.  It was indeed.

By the way...they were Superman Pajamas!  God's humility lessons for me know no bounds.


Anonymous said...

Priceless,I have been down that road myself. The flopping around like a new born colt was my favorite part. The superman pajamas take a close second.
Thanks for sharing.

tonymation said...

As I was reading this I heard myself think... did you turn off the water at the street. I'm glad you didn't though, cuz then I wouldn't have had the belly laugh when reading your story.