The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The plumbing from Hell
The water main to our house broke three days ago, due to the roots from our very large and beautiful crepe myrtle tree getting in the way. No doubt the crepe myrtle would argue that the pipe got in the way. The result, however, was that we had water all over our driveway, and not in our house.

In a panic over the ensuing water bill, we shut the water off (after filling up the tea kettle, of course.) In a panic, we called our very accommodating neighbour, who also happens to own his own plumbing business, thinking that we were out of luck, since this happened on a Sunday.

Despite it being Sunday, our wonderful neighbour loaded his shaggy English sheep dog on his truck and showed up later that afternoon to fix the burst pipe. Within a half an hour, the gale force winds and hail storm started, but not before a hole was dug and the broken pipe exposed. There was no going back now.

"I'll have to get a part in for you," he said. We don't have normal residential pipes on our property. They're classed as rural agricultural and there were none in town.

Our plumber made the mistake of thinking that the town adjacent to ours, which has more than population: 5,000 in it, would carry it. We had no water for the rest of the day. I was starting to feel icky. And I've never been so thirsty. Normally, I drink about a litre per day. For some reason, with no water, I became incredibly parched and drank all of the Diet Coke in the house. I know this was a psychological reaction to the lack of water, but, there you have it. We went to bed that night, dirty and thirsty.

The next day, the plumber sent 'round a couple of his employees, who said that everything should be fixed by noon. By this time I was dying for a shower, the toilet hadn't been flushed in a day, and the dirty dishes were aromatic. I was hoping that I had enough clean underwear to last me a few days.

The big town didn't have the part available, so, they had to get the part from a major supplier two hours away. Noon came and went. It started to pour with rain again, turning the work site into one big mud pit. I had visions of pioneers carting water in buckets from wells and streams, but we didn't even have that.

There were tree roots that had to be removed. I had to relieve myself in the outside "dunny" or outhouse. Visions of being bitten in the ass by redback spiders crossed my mind as I gingerly straddled the toilet seat. I wondered how many spiders were watching me heed the call of nature. It was disconcerting to think of all of those eyes upon me, but I somehow managed, and was proud of myself, considering I hate outhouses enough to put me off camping.

By 4 in the afternoon, the plumbers still hadn't shown up with the needed part, and I was past the annoyed stage and well into the irrational, panicky stage. I called Dan:

"You'd better pick up a couple gallons of water on the way home," I told him, forgetting that you can't buy water in gallons here. They sell by the litre. "And forget about me being able to cook dinner."

Dan called our neighbour, who assured him that someone should be there within the hour to finish the job.

Six o'clock came and went. It was starting to get dark. My hair was greasy. I felt parched, despite all of the tea I had drunk that day. The dirty dishes reeked. And a mosquito decided to try to breed in the one bowl of water that I had set aside for brushing teeth. I caught it and caused its untimely death.

Finally, at 8:30 pm, we were rescued. The water was back! Finally! Hot showers, clean dishes... life is normal again.

Next time I see our plumber, I might have to kiss him.
posted by Melanie O. at 1:55 PM -
  • At 11:41 PM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    I am glad your plumbing is working. Now wait until you get the bill. Opening up the earth can be expensive.

  • At 5:44 AM, Blogger Karen said…

    Where are you living that you have an outhouse out back!?

    It's amazing when things like this happen how we realize how truly fortunate we are to be able to take these things for granted. Glad to hear you're all fixed and clean again!

  • At 8:35 AM, Anonymous LivinginOz said…

    Hi Karen - we live in a little country town outside of Sydney, in a house that's over 100 years old. The outside toilet is a bit of a relic, but thank goodness it works. :)

  • At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Karen said…

    I actually tried to get a job as a steward on a farm that only had an outhouse for the cold Maine winters, I'm not sure how much I would have ended up enjoying that!

  • At 10:02 AM, Anonymous vicki said…

    Do Crepe Myrtle's grow that large in Australia? Always on a Sunday

  • At 10:06 AM, Anonymous LivinginOz said…

    They do, Vicki! Ours is huge - and the darn thing didn't flower this year (we've had a rather cool summer.)

    True - these things always happen when it's least convenient.

  • At 1:46 PM, Blogger Kanani said…

    Gosh, you almost want to keep "spare pipes" on hand just in case something like this happens again!

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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