Sunday, May 31
My mom stopped by my house to run some errands and to help me in my garden. We worked outside for several hours — deadheading flowering plants, pulling up weeds, taking pictures of the box turtle that has been living underneath the canopy of hostas that have happily unfurled their leaves in the warmth and rain of this Maryland summer.
When we were done, I turned on the soaker hoses to three of my flower beds and set the sprinkler to water the fourth. This required turning on the water to the spigots at both the front and rear of my townhouse. Since the week had been a dry one, and I wanted the plants to get a good soaking, I let the water run for just over an hour or perhaps an hour and a half.
Thursday, June 4
It was a mess of an evening, coming home from work. Miss Kitty was plaintively crying out for her dinner, I had Mom on the phone and my hands were full, headed up the stairs to de-hood MK and set her food down behind the closed door of my bedroom. My friend Sarah beeped in and as I was attempting to click-over the phone line, MK darted underneath my feet and I stepped on her.
She screamed. I screamed. Sarah wanted to know what the hell was going on over here.
I told her I’d call her back, and clicked back over to Mom while running downstairs to see if I had broken any of MK’s toes or simply her feelings. She was hiding behind the television in the living room, and as I stepped on the carpet near the TV stand to flush her out:
“Oh no! Oh crap, oh crap. Fuck, this is bad. Oh crap!”
“What is it?”
“Mom, this isn’t good. Water! Oh crap! My living room…”
“I’ll get your father. We’ll be right there.”
I immediately knew what had happened and was ashamed for my role in it; I know better. The hoses and splitter attached to the spigot on the back side of the house never got unhooked last winter. Or, I unhooked the hoses but did not open the valves to the splitter — either way, the damage was done. Water in the pipe froze when the temperatures dipped to the single digits this past January, and the pipe burst. When I spent that hour-and-a-half watering my flower bed last Sunday, in reality I spent a hour-and-a-half watering my living room.
Mom and Dad arrived in short order, but with enough of a delay that I was able to flush Miss Kitty out from underneath the bed and make sure that she was alright. The ever handy Andy took quick stock of the situation, and deduced where he needed to create a small hole in the wall to locate the offending pipe. We peeled back the carpet and padding, laying it over paint cans to force it to dry out, and aimed a fan on both the carpet and the wallboard.
When I first moved into this townhouse, the pipe attached to the spigot on the front of the house burst in the wall… so I know that my Dad is more than capable of fixing this particular issue as well, but first comes a weekend of drying out the wallboard and hoping we can salvage it all.
The one saving grace in all of this is that my living room is set on a concrete slab. There will be no damage to the underlying floor in the living room, although it looks like I’m going to have to replace all of the carpet and padding, and I’m probably going to go ahead and prep the room first by painting the concrete floor to seal it. This will stop any new moisture from permeating the new carpeting once it is laid down. I’ve already called the insurance company and made an appointment to have the room measured for carpet. The rest of this drama will unfold over the next few weeks as I figure out how much work it is going to take to “do this right” — I’m already anticipating scraping and repainting baseboards prior to the carpet install.
Isn’t home-ownership fun?!