Friday, January 8, 2010

Broken Pipe

Well, today hasn't been my favorite day :)

This morning the kids and I woke up at 7. We headed downstairs and I said to Avery and James, "It sounds like rain today." It has been raining off and on the last few days.

We turned on the cartoons and I sat around for a little while catching up on e-mail and such because we didn't have a computer yesterday. We got breakfast were doing all of the things we normally do when somebody knocked on the door and rang the doorbell. This was about 8:30 in the morning. Well, I wasn't about to answer the door. First of all I was in my pajamas, but we also get a TON of solicitors here. More than I've ever had if you combine all of the other places I have lived. Then came another knock and ring. Those salesmen can be persistent! And then I didn't think anything else of it.

A little while later Al called me and I don't remember what, but something made me open the blinds to our front window. I said, "Holy cow, Al! There is water flooding our front yard, the sidewalk, and the street!" Then I got this sinking feeling, realizing that it wasn't rain I had heard...

I ran to the back window and couldn't see much but I could tell that there were sprays of water and I looked at the ground and it was completely flooded.

I threw on Al's heavy coat and some gloves and went in the back yard looking for any lever that I could turn off. It was like a geyser going off! There was some serious force to the water. I got drenched from head to toe, trying to turn the levers, but to no avail. That water was sooooo cold.

I ran back inside and called a neighbor that has the same floor plan as ours, asking where to turn the water off. She said to look in the garage, but I didn't see anything. Then I called the city and told them we needed help. She said they would be over some time to take a look, but that they were very busy. Meanwhile we were continuing to irrigate our street.

A knock came again and this time I opened the door. It was a guy from down the street that I've never met before. He said he had stopped by earlier but that nobody answered. I could have kicked myself. He was so nice and said that he was going to try to turn the water off for me. I went out with him to offer any help I could. He told me to go back inside with the kids and he would figure it out. He finally got all of our water shut off. I thanked him profusely (cookies to be delivered shortly!!). As he left he chuckled and said, "Your water bill is going to be outrageous." Yeah it is. The water here is so expensive and we've been cleaning the streets for 2+ hours straight. Not to mention our yard probably won't need water for months.

After lots of phone calls and texting I got a plumber to come out to the house this afternoon. It turns out that a pipe to our sprinkler system froze and broke. It is freezing here. I know it doesn't compare to Idaho, but for Houston it is really cold. The plumber says they haven't seen a freeze like this since 1989. And the houses here are not built for this kind of weather. It's Texas for crying out loud!! There are icicles all over our air conditioning unit and pipes outside, thanks to the geyser.

The estimate that the plumber gave me to fix the sprinklers is crazy. We won't be fixing that any time soon. We really don't even need a sprinkling system here. And we've been without water all day. Al just got home and he is going to try to get us up and running again. Luckily the one food storage item we could afford is bottled water, and so it's been okay! And I am just so grateful that the plumbing problem wasn't something to do with the house. That could have been a nightmare.