so, if you've been following along,
margaret and i capped the sprinkler system. you can see the
video of that below if you're so inclined. we have been
getting our water - since the lawnmower incident - from
a temporary line that was put in by a Water Bureau employee
and when i say temporary line, i mean a hose that runs from
the meter box at the curb over the sidewalk and across our lawn
into an outdoor spigot, which has been closed off to allow
water to enter into our house.
since the entire ordeal was stressful and further since we did the work
ourselves w/ no plumber involved and further yet since the last time
we did the work it necessitated calling the Water Bureau back out b/c the employee
who came to check determined that we had not capped properly (which was in fact the case since when the water was turned on at the street water sprayed into the yard from under the cap) left our water off but took the temporary line (!)
necessitating us calling the after hours Water Bureau crew back and dealing w/ a crusty dispatcher who eventually sent us the guy who put our temporary in in the first place, etc etc --- we were nervous about having the temporary taken away.
But you can't live all your life w/ a hose running across your yard and sometimes you just have to step up and put in the call. Yesterday afternoon, I put in that call
and we returned home that night - margaret went to yoga so she picked me up - somewhat trepidatious about how it would go.
Sure enough, when we pulled up the hose was gone. The temporary was out.
We set our groceries on the table and went to the basement to turn the main water valve on. We ran up to the tub to run the water for a couple minutes, to let all the sediments and whatnots drain out. We turned the knob. Water.
Gushing beautiful flowing water! Lush and potent and gushing and signalling an end to this chapter of homeowning, to this cruel initiation and rite of passage and ha ha we made it through okay and...wait...wait a second, water slowing, water slowing, it's trickling, now it's just dripping. okay, it's almost stopped.
We must be doing something wrong. Take it easy. No big deal.
Back to the basement. The valve closed and reopened. A variety of sinks tried.
Same thing. Only a trickle.
Baffled and befuddled we trundle to the curb, toss up the meter box and - armed w/ screwdriver and crescent wrench - turn the meter. Maybe they left it turned off? Maybe that's the way they do it? We run back in, trying all variety of combination of street meter and main valve in basement and this sink and that sink etc etc etc but nothing is working. Our hearts are sinking into a swell of frustration, aided in part by our cat tearing through plastic to eat the tops of several slices of bread in a recently purchased loaf that didn't get put away b/c of the water drama. What cat eats breads?
Margaret phones the water bureau to see if maybe we're doing something wrong. The same crusty dispatcher answers. He has limited concern and patience for our mini-drama, clearly not interested in sending someone out but after several back and forths and have you tried that's and is your main valve on he reaches his breaking point and submits to send someone. He takes down our address. Wait. Wait a second. Are you near Powell? We are. A truck hit a fire hydrant at powell. There's no water for anyone near there. It'll be hours until the water is restored.
Ha ha ha, we laugh as we walk Maxwell through the neighborhood, down to the park, what are the chances on the day we call to have the temporary taken away that there's some water casualty in the neighborhood and we have water we just can't get to it yet? Ha ha! Just our luck. A continued part of the lesson plan. No big deal. Nothing to fret about. We'll wake up tomorrow morning and I'll go out to the curb and turn the meter on and we'll have our glorious water. Everything will be just fine
and so why don't we go get dinner after we drop maxwell off and...wait...wait a second....
As we're walking up the hill, back home, we see a Water Bureau truck pulling up. Impossibly it's the same guy who has been out twice before to our house. Yep, it's him, getting out of the truck just as we're at the front of our house. Hey man, we say, HA HA we just talked to your dispatcher and he shouldn't have sent you out. But you don't have water, he says. No, no we say, it's okay, there's that accident on Powell so our water's shut down in the neighborhood. That accident has nothing to do with you guys he says. It doesn't? No, you're nowhere near that accident. There's something else the matter. There's something else wrong. Now why don't you tell me exactly what happened when you got home. A vague sense of something bad is flashing through us. Something bad is coming.
We tell him exactly what we did when we got home. This valve, that sink, this meter. Hmm he says as he takes his instrument and turns on the meter forcefully and asks us to run inside and try the water now. We do. Same thing. A trickle.
Back outside. Uh-oh he says. This could be bad.
Bad? Bad how?
There's a plug somewhere in the line. It could be anywhere. He thinks. He thinks. He's reaching the bottom of his bag of magic tricks, the point in the transaction where you have to hand off the problem to another person or agency. Wait. Let me try something.
moments later, armed with a cache of plumbing instruments and pipings, he has rigged a hose to blow backward through our line - the idea being that whatever sediment/mud/whatever is clogging it will get flushed out. If this doesn't work you'll need to call Risk Managment and see if they'll pay for any/all of your troubles. This triggers an image in my mind, the bloat of City bureacracy and endless forms in triplicate and no end in sight but before i let despair in I think, why not wait and see if this works, this crazy jerry-rigged backwards waterline blow-out thing. It..just..might..work!
My man is ready to go. A valve is turned, some water is ejected. But no plug. No.
No. Nope. It did not work. No, it did not. The ship has left the shore, the door has closed, hope a mere indulgence. Visions of an uprooted yard and endless phone calls come to roost on our shoulders like black crows. A new line will have to be put in. A plumber will have to be called. Money will have to be minted to help us cross this vaccuum, this abyss, this inky black endless swamp that i created w/ my careless mowing, my thoughtless clomping across the yard. Tiny black seeds inside me are sprouting depression as...
He is not ready to go.
He asks to come inside and look at the basement. Seconds later
we are standing down there. He is looking at the main valve. Thinking. He is looking at the main valve where the pipe comes from outside and curves down in an S shape at
the handle. Suddenly, without warning, he knocks on the pipe at the S with a few sturdy clangs of a crescent wrench and we both hear it, he and i: the water flowing though the house.