Just before arriving at the Art Institute of Portland yesterday (see previous post), my wife called me. I was expecting her to put the kids on and wish me a good day. What I heard instead caused my brain to pause for a few seconds:
How do I shut off the water to the whole house?” She asked.
The answer is simple, the explanation takes time. Apparently one of our kids had broken the bathtub faucet off and there was water spraying into the air and flooding our master bathroom…quickley.
The problem with my reply is the location of the shut-off valve. It is conveniently located in my office closet, behind the bookshelf and surrounded by 200 lb. file cabinets. Not only would it take time to dig into them, there’s no way my tiny wife could even begin to get to the valve.
(note to self: finish unpacking office furniture and provide easier access to master water valve.)
Explaining to her how to get the right tool and open the meter box to shut off the water there, well, I just didn’t have it in my to have that conversation while water is pouring into our house. After suggesting she call the neighbor, I looked up the non-emergency number of local fire station and asked if they could go shut off the water and clean up our flood.
Later in the day I spoke with the officer from the fire engine that responded to my house. He told me how they had offered to knock a hole in my wall to fix the pipe. I thought he was joking, but it turns out he wasn’t. He was totally offering to demolish my house for me.
When I got home, I went into the basement, pulled aside some insulation, and found the tubes that serve as water supply pipes in my house. I identified the one supplying the broken faucet and applied a clamp to it. I was able to turn on the water and restore normalcy to our house. This will also buy time for me to get parts to fix the faucet.
All in all it was a productive day.
The best version of the story I like is my Darling Daughter’s:
I was just holding the faucet like this and trying to keep [Smiling Son] away from it. Then I moved it like this…and water just SHOT! up into the air and I ran away!”