On the way home from work I dropped Hubbins off at a coffee shop near our house so he could do some homework (he recently went back to school!). I came home to change out of my work clothes and unload some boxes we had in the trunk, to make room for groceries. I said hi to the kitties and filled the bathroom sink with a little cold water and closed the drain to give Rajah a little drink (he loves drinking out of the sink). Both faucets were off (this is important).
Then I went on my merry way to the farm stand to get produce. I was gone for 30 or 45 minutes.
When I came home, there was a firetruck in the street right in front of our driveway. The neighbor lady was standing in her driveway looking up at our laundry room. There were three firemen outside the front door, and one was up on a ladder, about to break a window on the second story to get in. Hot water was pouring from the ceiling of our entry way, from the bathroom and laundry room (directly above the front door).
I jumped out of my car and the neighbor lady shouted, "Here she is!"
A fireman said, "Hello, Ma'am, do you live here?
"Yes!" I said.
He shouted up to the fireman on the ladder, "We have the homeowner!" Broken glass averted.
I opened the front door. Water was running through the ceiling. There was water at the bottom of the stairs, all our shoes were wet, and the area rug was completely soaked with standing water on top of it.
The firemen and I ran upstairs. In the bathroom, the sink (still plugged) was overflowing onto the floor and the hot water faucet was on full blast. The first fireman turned off the faucet and unplugged the drain.
Another fireman said, "You better call your landlord."
I grinned weakly, "we own this place."
"I think you're pretty lucky," the third fireman said, "If there is a positive side to this, the water just went straight down and out, it didn't ruin the carpet on the stairs."
They told me the neighbor had called 911 when she discovered hot water pouring from our house. Not just out from under the front door, but falling from the second story onto our front step. She knocked on our door and was dripped on by a tropical waterfall.
The firemen and I went back down to the entry way. Water had run down the inside of the wall and created a big bubble in the paint. I've always hated that paint, but it was thick enough to hold probably 4 cups of hot water. The firemen recommended that I pop the bubble and avoid any more damage to the sheet rock. I ran to gather towels.
When I came back, they took my name and phone number. One said, "Well, we're going to leave you now. Good luck!"
I said, "Thank you so much for coming. I would have had a heart attack if I'd come home to this by myself."
I was bewildered by it all but so relieved our house was not in flames. I asked, "Do you get many calls for water?"
"Oh yeah. You'd be surprised." (Little comfort.)
They left. I moved my car from the street to our driveway. I went inside and started cleaning up what I could. I used every towel we own. It was hot and steamy. I was sweating and crying. I don't know what was worse, finding a home owner's emergency or calling my husband and telling him, "The bathroom flooded. There were firemen here. It's bad."
Hubbins walked home while I cleaned.
He found me and about 20 towels, all sopping wet. Mr. Calm Cool and Collected called the insurance company and the water damage cleanup folks.
The cleanup crew spent today dismantling the bathroom, tearing up laminate flooring (which we laid two short years ago) and removing all the damaged drywall. Our toilet and sink are on the back porch. The whole bathroom area is sealed with floor-to-ceiling plastic. There are giant de-humidifiers and fans running.
It looks like ET in here, that scene near the end where guys in HazMat suits quarantine Elliot's house. I have to unzip a plastic barrier to go downstairs.
|Former sink location|
|Former toilet location|
|Zippered plastic hallway|
Please make sure all your sinks have overflow drain holes. Ours didn't. Now it's full of rain water on the porch.