Our very first AirBNB renters are checking in to our lake house this Friday, so we decided to head down this weekend to finish up a few little projects. It was meant to be a quick trip since it was storming outside and the kids couldn’t swim anyway. In and out, no big deal.
After an hour drive I, of course, had to potty as soon as we arrived, so I headed to the bathroom while my husband unloaded the car. As soon as the door swung open I noticed a big brown spot on the bathroom ceiling that had not been there before. I’m like “Babe! We’ve gotta problem!”
Jeremy felt around on the spot and came back with damp fingers. Yep, you guessed it. Water leak. Ughhhh. We went to the upstairs toilet and discovered it had been slowly dripping water from the connection where the supply line meets the toilet. We grabbed a few towels to soak up the water while my husband headed back downstairs to find a tool to fix the leak.
We are ill-equipped to handle much at the lake house without our basement full of random tools at hand, but he rummaged around in our little closet under the stairs and came back with a pair of needlenose pliers to tighten the connector.
But FIRST, my Eagle Scout husband walked all the way up to the main road to shut off the water main to the house just in case anything were to go wrong. Take note here, because it is a bit of a hike (or a fer piece, as my Papa would say) from the upstairs bathroom to the water main at the end of the driveway.
I went downstairs and piddled around the kitchen for a while until I heard Jeremy holler triumphantly that he had fixed the toilet. He asked me to come upstairs and “make sure the leak didn’t come back” while he walked back up and turned on the water main again.
“Sure!” I said, quite naively.
And this is the part of the story where things took a massive turn for the worse.
I was sitting backward on the toilet, shining the flashlight from my phone underneath the tank when suddenly the pipe EXPLODED from the force of the water pressure being turned back on. The connection hose was flailing about wildly like a loose firehose and spraying water EVERYWHERE.
Walls. Ceiling. Floor. Vanity. My nostrils. My bra. EVERYWHERE.
This upstairs half bath is tiny- maybe 3′ x 6′ or so, and within a few seconds that hose had ricocheted water off of every single surface while I sat there with a terrified look on my face like one of those green piggies watching Angry Birds slingshot his rickety tower to the ground.
I threw my phone out into the hallway so it wouldn’t get wet, but then I realized I had no way to let my husband-who was all the way up at the end of the driveway- know that he needed to shut the water back off. So, I started SCREAMING at the top of my lungs for my son to go tell Daddy to turn off the water.
Instead of springing to action and running outside to tell Daddy, Garrett bumbled up the stairs to check on me and came skidding in there sideways like Kramer from Seinfeld.
“GO TELL DADDY TO TURN OFF THE WATER!!!!!!” I screamed, in a voice loud enough for half the county to hear.
Garrett skidded back downstairs while I scrambled around looking for anything to stop this massive waterfall happening all around me. The hose was too short to fit inside the front of the toilet or the top of the tank, so I took the towels and tried to squeeze it around the pipe. Of course, that just made things worse.
I spied the small metal trash can and tried to use it to contain the water, but it filled to the brim in about .002 seconds flat, so then I was left holding a full bucket of water in one hand and a firehose in the other.
Finally, blessedly, my husband heard my desperate screams and got the water shut back off at the main. By this point, there was about 2″ of standing water on the floor all around me and it was raining fat drops on my head from the ceiling.
I was soaked. Garrett was panicked. Caroline was crying. Jeremy was sweating. It was a HOT MESS. There was water dripping down the walls, ceiling and light fixture of the downstairs bathroom directly below us.
Thankfully I have a knight-in-sweating armor for a husband who knows how to replace toilets, so we didn’t have to hire a plumber and pour that money down the drain. He went back down the next day with all the right tools and replaced the whole kit and kaboodle. It should be working properly now, just in time for our first guest to arrive for Labor Day weekend.
I will have to meet the painter down there to rip out the waterlogged sheetrock in the downstairs bathroom and repaint the ceiling first, but that is a small price to pay considering how badly it could have ended. Can you imagine if that had happened when our AirBNB guests were there and didn’t know how to shut off the water main? Oh, Lawdy. I need to add that to the instruction manual.
So, that’s the night that the pipes went out in
Georgia Alabama. Don’t trust your hose with no backwoods needlenose pliers, or the ceilings in your house will leave waterstains on your hands.
Welcome to old homeownership, huh? Hopefully, this will be the worst thing we experience for a while. Fingers and hosepipes crossed.