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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wet Ceiling Report: My Wife, The Plumber...

So if it isn't one thing, it's another. This weekend, we had to replace the dishwasher, and I get home from work last night, and my wife says that the tiny little wet spot on the ceiling in our kitchen is getting worse. Worse to the point of starting to fall down.

I waited until the sun went down so as to lesson the heat up in our attic. You see, I had surmised that somehow, some old plumbing work done by a seeming reputable company had perhaps become messed up, and I would be able to climb into the attic and shine a flashlight on the exposed pipes, thus revealing their slowly revealed incompetence.

So, careful to hand me my cell phone on the off chance that I might have a heart attack while wandering through the hot upper part of my garage, my wife bid me farewell and best of luck in finding the leak.

I swear, it's hotter than two fat people porking in a steaming tub of lentils on a sunny day in Albuquerque up in my attic, and it didn't take me long to decide that wherever the leak was coming from, it wasn't visible from my vantage point, hunched over trying to keep from banging my head on the sloping roof. So I retreated to the kitchen and tore down the ceiling.

I am always fascinated by looking at the inner parts of the house, the pipes and wiring you aren't supposed to see. For instance, if you live in a KB Home, there is a good chance you will find $30 to $40 worth of empty aluminum beer cans stuffed behind the sheet rock. In my case, I could see that our builder did a fairly respectable job, and further, that my little leak had not yet attracted any termites. Either way, I was perplexed that I could not find any obvious leak which would have resulted in the really moist ceiling.

Not one to give up so easily, I asked my wife to run up stairs and turn on the tub. Water running, no obvious leaks, I then turned my attention to the toilet and the sinks in the bathroom. Perhaps some weird flow would make the water find its way across the pipes and only leak once they had gotten to a point directly under the tub. Again, no luck.

Now I thought that maybe the issue was that someone had to be in the tub putting weight upon the drain. I had hoped to have my wife stand there, turn on the water and perhaps do jumping-jacks, thereby emulating the behavior of my son as he showers. Though she wasn't up for that, she did start to experiment with some of her own theories.

She took a bottle of water and started splashing it around outside of the tub in the same way water might escape the shower curtain. I could hear the water above me, but again, no flood of wetness around the pipes above me. At this point, I was starting to think I would have to pull out more of the ceiling to track down the problem. I was considering all sorts of possibilities, like drunken rats pissing in my ceiling or perhaps some elaborate Candid Camera moment where Allen Funt would magically appear, pointing to a hidden camera and a little micro-sized tube of water that had created the damage, though I quickly ruled that out when I realized he was dead.

Finally, my wife had recalled a conversation several months earlier with my son reporting that his shower head was "sort of messed-up". But she had also recalled telling him to fix it. So that couldn't be the problem. But, on a whim, as I stood like an idiot staring into the dry pipes above my kitchen, my wife went and turned on the shower upstairs.

Suddenly, it was like a rush of water raining on my face, not from any breaks in the pipes, but from water shooting back behind the shower head and streaming down the length of the pipe behind the tile upstairs, directly into my waiting eyes and face. I banged several times on the floor above and I think she got the clue to turn the water off.

So, important note: No matter how cheap it is, never purchase a used shower head from a garage sale. If they are selling the special deluxe water massage thing for 75 cents, there must be a good reason to pass it up.

Oh, another thing: When you tear down wet sheet rock, you may want to rinse off a bit before going into HEB at 9:45PM looking for a new shower head. It ain't a good luck.

1 comment:

hbl said...

"it's hotter than two fat people porking in a steaming tub of lentils on a sunny day "


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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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