Steve Eighinger

Surviving a plumbing disaster

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 28, 2020 12:01 am

It's not a secret that I am not the handiest man in the world. When trying to talk with me about something mechanical you might as well be speaking a foreign language.

If you remember, I'm the guy who once put 102 pounds of air pressure in my two front tires and wondered why my car was bouncing — literally — down the road.

I'm also the fellow who once "built" a utility table for the kitchen, which immediately collapsed the first time he sat something on it.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

So what might be one of the worst things to happen to a guy like me? While anything you might be thinking is likely accurate, let me connect the dots regarding this most recent disaster.

Midway through Sunday evening, I had just walked back to the man cave. My wife, the living saint (for putting up with me) we call Kathy, was at the opposite end of the house. I heard a noise from the basement below, something that would have registered somewhere between a "pop" and a neutron bomb.

My gut said this was not a good thing.

My wife's scream seconded that feeling.

I went running downstairs and found that a pipe had burst, and water was spraying everywhere. For some reason, I thought trying to reconnect the pipe with the part that had blown off was a good idea. All I accomplished was soaking myself while the water continued to exit the piping with quite a bit of force.

By this time, Kathy is suggesting -- in a rather strong fashion -- to "turn off the water!"

Good idea!

But where do I do that?

How do I do that?

"There's a valve or something!" she pleaded, as we both got wetter.

I'm sure there is a valve, I thought to myself. But again, a foreign language.

Kathy was smart enough to call her brother Dan, who IS mechanically inclined. He told her where and how to turn the water off.

Fortunately, Dan only lives four or five blocks away, and he hurried over to inspect the situation. He was certain he could fix the problem Monday morning. He would need to make a trip to a plumbing-supply place and asked if we would be OK for the night without any water.

We convinced him we would be fine. Shortly afterward, we both realized we couldn't use the bathroom. Those are stories, however, for another column — but let's just say I found out how convenient it is that our backyard and the surrounding area is extremely dark in the middle of the night.

Much of the rest of Sunday night was spent mopping and sopping the water that had spilled into the basement. At one point, I could see Kathy was getting quite tired (and I wanted to watch the midseason premiere of "The Walking Dead'), so I convinced her we needed a rest. (Hey, don't judge me. I had waited about three months for the zombie killings to return, and that water wasn't going anywhere for an hour or so.)

Somehow, we made it through the night, got up early Monday morning and "washed up" by using about a dozen containers of bottled water. Along with being unable to use the toilets, we also had no shower/

When Dan returned — complete with all sorts of supplies — he displayed his mechanical wizardry by fixing the pipes and restoring running water to our house in world-record time. I can't tell you how good that shower felt Monday morning.

For all that went wrong Sunday night, it could have certainly been worse. Much, much worse.

Remember, I could have missed the midseason premiere of "The Walking Dead."