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Pre-Christmas: Water Misadventure

January 12, 2009

I landed in Vancouver on the 20th, at roughly 11PM.

Mother came and got me, we grabbed some dinner, and I slept. A lot. Exams and Drama were pretty draining.

We saw Acidalia and her family at YVR, though, and I made a commitment to go to church that morning so we could hang out and catch up. She left the airport, sans luggage, and half an hour later, I did the same. Air Canada had misplaced my bag. (In fairness, it was pure good fortune that I made it at all; I had to be rebooked onto my standard flight both at the inital departure from Pearson and in Edmonton – I checked in just after the flight was assessed as delayed to next window, and my ticket was processed as such. They moved me around on the Edmonton end assuming I wouldn’t make the connection. Goddamned snow storm was starting.)

…Got up early the day after, just to set up, and was standing in the kitchen when I heard a funny noise. Water. Dripping. I was puzzled, but found it to be coming from the ceiling above the sink. …And that stopped; only to be replaced by a more impressive flow down the chimney on the far side of the room. That too stopped to be replaced by a steady flow from the lamp fixture in the center of the room. We placed buckets, turned off fuses, and called our neighbour for assistance.

Knowing our roofing urgently needed work, we called an emergency roofer and set to to find the leak. We checked the flashing around the chimney, finding it in terrible shape but not leaking. Then we figured it might be leaking from the secondary little roof-thing outside the bathroom; the shingles there are in pretty terrible shape.   So we patched and repaired and “fixed” to what extent we could, which did little to slow the flow of water into our kitchen ceiling.  And then I hit the flusher with my knee and the kitchen went mad …

…Fuck, it was the plumbing, not the roof.  So we called a plumber and cancelled the roofer, then knocked some holes into our ceiling to let it drain easier.  We stuffed some flashing into the ceiling cavity to channel the leaking water into the sink, rather than onto the roof, and just sat back to wait.

When the plumber arrived, he felt it necessary to cut a large hole in our kitchen ceiling in order to examine the problem.  Turns out one of the drain pipes (1910 formed lead, of course, the hardest type to replce.  Seems they could heat-shape those to make corners nothing we have now is capable of.) had a small hole in it, which probably dripped steadily since it formed, but with the winter’s cold, the pipe had frozen below the hole.  This not only strained the hole larger, but left the hole as the only way out of the now backed-up pipe.

The plumbers drained the pipe, but pretty much left it as-is; they shut off water feeds to the upstairs and told us that it would be a large (Read: expensive) job to fix in nice weather, let alone while so many people needed emergency plumbing.  He advised us to just leave it until it’s all dried out and then get them back when the season’s calmed down.  “Oh, and don’t use any water on the top floor, or it’ll leak again.”

We were very glad that we finished the basement addition when we did.

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