Boy, as nice as the temperature has been, this week has really sucked.
Yesterday at almost precisely 6:30 PM the Lair’s water started running again. I rejoiced, went outside to check for leaks caused by freezing, and found a bad one. Tried to turn the water off at the shut-off valve I’d so thoughtfully installed two years ago: It wouldn’t move. And it was a good one! Expensive, not one of those crappy plastic ball valves. Yearg!
Okay, okay. Grabbed a shovel and a spotlight and hustled up the ridge to the cistern. Dug a big hole in my ineffective insulating dirt until I found the valve cover. Cleared it off, shut off the water, went back home. Today I dug out the water line at the Lair and determined what had broken. Wouldn’t it have to be the fitting for that valve and spigot I’d installed as a safeguard? If not for those, there probably would have been no problem.
Rounded up the parts I needed for the repair. To my shock, I actually had those parts. Of course I didn’t have any PVC cement, because when you need that it’s always dried in the can. Drove out to D&L’s and borrowed cement. Stripped down to minimum and crawled under the Lair with my tools. The shut-off valve up top doesn’t seem to work 100% either: I’m now laying full-length in freezing mud. Finish digging out the line with an e-tool so I can get some flexibility. Track the extent of the crack. Cut out the misbehaving fittings.
Whenever I can’t keep water from pooling up in a pipe, I’m never sure my repair is going to hold. Add to this the fact that I’m working in a very short crawlspace that’s near-liquid mud, and I’m having trouble keeping my fittings clean. I do not want to go to all this trouble, then screw up the repair.
Meanwhile the clouds are getting more and more threatening, and there’s even thunder. I figure I’ve still got time, but I figure wrong. Suddenly the sky opens up: Torrential freezing rain and hail. Seems like the temperature drops twenty degrees in a few seconds. Ghost, being non-stupid, knows enough to come in out of the rain. Little Bear, on the other hand…
I look to my left, and Little Bear is lying in the middle of the front yard looking miserable. I can a) stay here under the house, finish the repair and not get any wetter than I already am. Or b) go rescue my stupid dog, which will put the repair off (maybe forever, if the weather continues to deteriorate) and oh by the way I’ll get really truly soaked.
I’m such a putz. I low-crawl out of the mud and into the downpour, then shoo the dogs into the Lair. Grabbing towels, I find that LB’s undercoat isn’t even wet. I’m not sure he knew it was raining. If ever a canine was born to be a sled dog…
I, on the other hand, am now shivering uncontrollably. Hey, I’m getting old. By the time I’m changed and warm, the rain has stopped but the last thing in the world I want to do is crawl back into the mud. But I borrowed what seems to be the only functioning can of PVC cement in the whole neighborhood and promised to return it today. Down we go.
So the good news is that I’ve restored running water. The bad news is that, the storm having done as much damage as it could, the sky is now clearing which means it’ll get cold tonight, and there’s not a scrap of insulation on the exposed pipes. I can’t let the water drip indoors because the drain still isn’t cleared, but I can rig a hose and let the water drip from the yard spigot. That’ll at least keep the cistern manifold from re-freezing till tomorrow. I hope.
I really hate winter.