Christmas was fun, Christmas was great. The first day back to homeschooling was good, despite us not having the table yet. We worked around it and got work done. Then…then there was Tuesday. Ace woke up and realized there was no heat. It was -20 outside. This was a problem. He put a call in to the company the prior owners used and they said they could get someone out today, but it wouldn’t be until later that afternoon or evening. So we lit a fire in the fire place, bundled up the kids, put them under blankets on the love seat, plopped the iPad in front of them and then gave them all the warm food and drinks we could think of. I’m sure you’re asking “why didn’t you just go somewhere with the kids and warm up? Well, first, it was dangerously cold outside, we’d had multiple days of snow and I don’t think it was particularly safe. It was so nasty the public schools had called off for the 2nd day in a row. We were safer at home. Second, Ace had to go over to the condo to make sure that was warm enough.
We’ve always struggled maintaining a decent temperature in the downstairs there. So he had the heat set up, and the portable heater set up and the wall heaters on and he turned on the gas fireplace for a while. He had hoped it would be a few hours. He was gone the entire day.
We did finally get the heat fixed in the house, it was a simple matter of flushing the boiler. We didn’t know we were supposed to do it, it wasn’t on the handy list of things to know the prior owners had left for us. But it was an easy fix. We’ll get over it and now we know. So a day “wasted,” we were ready to get back on track the next day. Or so we thought.
Because it was so cold, we asked our neighbor to check up on our unit. She checked it before she left for work in the morning and we received a phone call that there was water on the carpet. Ace was on shift (of course), so I gathered the kids (I’m not a morning person, I am not rational or nice…so this process did not go well. I bribed them with donuts.) Driving there was a hair raising experience, ice, snow, crud, slush, EVERYWHERE. When I arrived in the condo there was water GUSHING out of the walls, the ceilings…there was standing water on the floor. I’m still shocked that I didn’t burst into tears right then. I had to get in gear. I had been trying to get in touch with Ace since I first heard from my neighbor that there was a problem. I felt like a stalker, I was calling every 3 minutes. I was hoping his phone was going off in his locker and one of the other firefighters might walk by and then tell him that his phone was going ballistic. No such luck.
Not only did I know now WHICH engine he was on, I didn’t know the phone numbers for any of them ANYWAY. So I did what any good person would do in 2014, after calling one friend and her husband, I posted on FB, tagged every person even remotely related to our department and made the status public, asking for the phone number of the 2 engines I thought he might be on or in the alternative…TELL ME WHERE HE IS!! I felt ridiculous. But the more I couldn’t find him, the more panicked I got. I FINALLY tracked him down…5 houses later. I told him if any of them teased him to please kick them squarely in the nuts for me. By the time I called his assigned house (which I didn’t call first because he so rarely goes there on rehires) I was near tears, the poor Lt. who answered the phone. Also, I talk REALLY fast when nervous or stressed. But he founds him for me. Thank you! As soon as I got him I burst into tears. I used all the fucks and shits and hells and bitches I could string together in a sentence. (I had gone downstairs and the kids were upstairs with the iPads, so they didn’t get a vocab lesson.)
There was a flurry of phone calls, I don’t even remember. Ace called the plumber who had worked on the condo via the condo association over the summer, and found that they could get out today but not for a few more hours. I received a phone call from a plumbing company that may or may not have been the same one, but the neighbor had contacted the management company who contacted this plumber. She said that yes, the water should be turned off at the main and then we tried to identify where that was.
I won’t even go into the cluster that followed. But then there were snarky emails from other condo owners about whether or not we should have turned off the water at the main or somewhere else. We do not have individual water turn offs, no matter what she thinks. Apparently there are ones to each tower (ha, that’s an exaggeration for sure) but they are on the ceiling in the storage area, and have no spigot handles, so you actually CAN’T turn them off there…if you can find them. I didn’t find out about them until later in the evening. Not to mention the plumber said “yes, turn it off at the main.” And in this scenario, I’m following the lead of the professional.
Ace’s mom saved the day and picked up the kids and kept them overnight. It was a life saver. What followed was a lot of waiting for the plumber and panicking about damage. And just being overwhelmed. And worrying about how would we keep the downstairs warm if all Ace’s efforts the day before had failed!
After a day of no heat in the house, and Ace having spent so much time and energy trying to keep the condo warm, this was such a disappointment. My mental energy had already been spent for the week (if not possibly the entire month). Thankfully the plumbers showed up before noon. I took them downstairs and the poor plumber looked at me and says “uhm…you know that this is all….” and I responded “fucked beyond belief? Yes…I’m aware.”
He seemed a tad relieved that he wasn’t going to be giving me shit news that I wasn’t already aware of. He and his partner got to work and before 2:30 they were done. The culprit was a hot water pipe with a substantial burst. There was no ceiling left in the bedroom closet, the lake in the bedroom was receding a bit, there were two giant holes in the wall and the ceiling above the doorway was ripped open. The other bedroom was wet, and there is ceiling damage and carpet damage, but all the walls were still there…so uhm, yay! The family room carpet was wet over 1/2 through and the water had seeped under the stairs to the (empty) under stairs storage area. And despite all of this, there were two bags, two cloth bags, full of the Princess Ahem and General Tank’s school work from last year. And they weren’t touched. And all of our other stuff had been moved out. We are SO lucky. And we are smart and have insurance, so the repairs will be covered.
This will make it so we can’t put the condo on the market as soon as we wanted to, but it’s okay, we can work around that. Tomorrow, when I have the energy, I will write about the start of the water abatement and restoration process and the 2nd burst pipe that was, THANKFULLY not in my condo…or my house! In the mean time, here, a happy picture of a chalk drawing from this summer. It was warm then. And dry.