Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Trouble with Dribbles

My sister-in-law was visiting this summer. You may remember that I posted some great pictures of her children as part of my summer update. The visit was not without its tribulations.

Teela: There is a bad smell in your basement
Me: Yeah, it's your room. The one with the toddler and the baby sleeping in it.
Teela: My baby doesn't smell like THAT!
Me: If the diaper fits...

Note the suspicious looking pipe...
Sewer, diapers -- it's all the same right? Two days after the above conversation, we found water on the floor of the guest room.

Me: Are we sure this is water?
Teela: #$@!

We quickly packed our guests off to Liz's house and I tore apart our beloved and oft used guest room. I ripped open the sodden drywall to discover some mold and quite a bit of trouble. The biggest problem was that there was no sign of where the water was coming from.

A plumber arrived and promptly chipped a hole in our floor.
Plumber's Gift
I imagine you can tell, it was not a pleasant sight. Nor did it smell nearly so good as a baby's diaper. As it turns out, the problem had been brewing for a long time and it was likely only the extremely wet conditions this year that lead to its discovery. A hole had eaten its way into the bottom of the pipe and so a lot of water was seeping out under our floor. The wet season meant that the soil couldn't sustain its historical levels of absorption. Hence our problem.

Our $120/hr friend replaced the elbow in the pipe, patched the concrete and collected his reward. I slapped up some drywall to make things livable and we invited Teela, Merlin and Viola back to finnish their visit.

The next time we smelled something strange, I didn't try and blame the baby. Rather than send Teela packing again, we just stopped using our kitchen sink for two weeks. Apparently their were more holes further along the pipe.

I could go on describing the months of dehumidifying, washing dishes in basins and wheedling with insurance adjusters, but the memories are nicely starting to fade, and I think I like it that way :) Let us just say that we have some new pipes in the basement, the drywall, studs, insulation, baseboards and paint have all been repaired and I have started working extra shifts at the library to help pay for our plumber to travel to New Zealand.

Insurance covered the damage to the walls and tile, but none of the plumbing stuff.