By Karen Anderson, Club Humorist
After three decades in Seattle, I’ve made my peace with rain. I can happily meander through mists, plod through puddles, and drive in downpours. Mostly I like to enjoy a cup of tea while the rain renders the world outside my window a great big blur.
Yes, I’m just fine with out-of-control water – as long as it stays outside the house. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t.
I’m not talking about easy-to-fix water problems, like a leaking P-trap under the sink. I’m talking about sneaky water problems. The ones that attack at night. The ones with mysterious sources that have me too embarrassed to call Home Owners Club right away (though I eventually do).
Such as: The Great Water Heater Flood.
The mystery began 12 years ago when I tossed a pile of dirty laundry, including a quilt, on the floor of our basement laundry room. When I came down the next morning to wash it, the pile was soaking wet. The water heater had broken. But instead of flooding the laundry room, it had merely flooded the heap of laundry. Talk about luck!
A new water heater was installed, and life went on merrily until this snowy January, when I came downstairs late at night to find the laundry room flooded again. Since I’d somehow neglected to dump laundry on the floor, the flood had spread from the water heater through much of the basement before exiting through a floor drain.
I shut off the water heater, left a voice mail for the plumber, and roused the Scholarly Gentleman. We moved furniture. We mopped. We deployed a wet-vac. And then we lived without hot water for three days until the plumber arrived to tell us … our water heater was perfectly fine! The bad news? The source of the flood was our waterlogged yard.
There was an engineering solution to our problem, but it wasn’t instantaneous. So, when more snow melted two days later, we got to mop and wet-vac again. By that time our clean-up technique was far more refined, and we were able to reward ourselves with nice, hot showers!
We also had: The Puddle Problem.
We got up one morning to find that the dishwasher, run the previous night, had a puddle in front of it. A week or so with no further puddles got our hopes up. But then it happened again. I scheduled a repair and resigned myself to a week of doing dishes by hand.
Late that evening, we heard a clanking sound in the kitchen. We ran in just in time to see one of our cats running out. There was a puddle of water around its water bowl. We watched as the spilled water flowed across our kitchen floor and formed a new puddle … right in front of the dishwasher.
Always the optimist, the Scholarly Gentleman observed it’s easier – and cheaper – to relocate a cat’s water bowl than it is to repair a dishwasher. The cat’s water bowl is now in the basement. But far, far away from the water heater.