Sunday, March 2, 2014

Plumber's surprise

Ah, a Sunday afternoon surprise. Like finding a Brussels sprout in your chocolate pudding. I was poking around in C.'s studio for an extension cord, and heard a funny noise... like water running. I hate it when that happens. Poked my head around the corner and saw water shooting out of a copper pipe, surrounded by ice spatters and cascades. So the old washer hookup, in the main electrical panel room off of the classroom with the stairs, had frozen and busted in the last few days.

I tried mightily to figure a way to patch it. (With plumbing epoxy, which I still can't find? With an old inner tube and pipe clamps? With a rainbow and jelly beans?) No, I have to go down into the crawl space and find a shut-off valve.

Man, I've grown to hate the crawl space. And it isn't really a crawl space. It's less than a crawl space. I call it that because I don't know the name for the kind of ground-covering action that is dragging yourself on your belly with your elbows. It's that kind of space. Plus there's asbestos, so I have to wear a respirator which makes my glasses steam up so I can't see a damn thing. And dragging myself along by my elbows is pretty much the exercise my doctor wants me to do to improve flexibility in my arthritic back, and it hurts like hell on the living room rug. It's worse in the crawl space in the dark with steamed-up glasses and Darth-Vader-respirator breathing and the floor joists just over my head and the sound of water escaping. I expect to have the old back freeze up, and, eventually, when C. notices I'm gone and finds me by the tiny pathetic tapping I've been making for hours under some far-off room, the paramedics will have to cut out a section of the floor to hoist me out in that Stokes stretcher. Of course, I'll be frozen to the foundation where I've wet myself, and they'll have to use the jaws of life to extract me.

So I put on my filthy crawl-space outfit I have hanging in the gym for just these occasions, and worm my way to a valve and shut it off. And worm my way back out and peel off my filthy crawl-space outfit and hang it up for next time.

The fire is warm. I have a hot cup of tea. One of the zucchini loaves has chocolate chips. Tomorrow I have to go back to work. The end.

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