Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fun Times and Frozen Pipes

I came home yesterday evening to take a small break before the Monday night Holdem for Habitat. I had been thinking of it from time to time during the day. Tonight was going to be my night....my opportunity to qualify for this years big tourney in the fall.

As I walked into the door, I heard a hissing coming from the area of one of the heating vents. Pulling off the vent, I checked to see if something was blocking the air but all seemed well. Judy was messing around with her new camera and taking pictures of me doing my work. I stood up as she started up the fireplace. She had felt the heating unit pulling cold air from the fireplace so she wanted stop the draft. We talked in front of the fireplace as she showed me her pictures.

I noticed a weird oder and looked down to see the flames pushing out into the room right under me. The draft was pushing against the heat of the fire. The heat won and the flames retreated back up the chimney but my left eye began to burn. I figured that it must have been from the gas emissions that had just flamed out at me but figured that it would just go away.

It didn't. It only got worse as I started up the game for the evening. I tried to ignore the eye but it gave me nothing but grief. Fortunately though, the cards did not. I was having one good hand after another and quickly was building up quite a stack of chips. My table quickly diminished and I split it up and combined the tables.

My luck then changed and my chip stack dwindled but allowed me to the final table. Three of us ended up in a lengthy battle. I was second in chips and had a Ace Ten suited in my pocket. The third stack guy could barely make the blinds so I pushed all in hoping that Big Bob (winner of the last two weeks) would wait while I took the other guy out. Bob did not. He followed me and I saw with glee that they both had only Jacks. Bob had a Jack Nine. So what comes up on the flop but two more Nines.

Crushed, Bob helped me clean up and I headed home. My eye was still really bothering me. As I came into the house, I heard the same hissing. It was then that it hit me. It was not heat but water that was making the sound. I rushed to the crawl space and threw it open to find water everywhere. I realized that the area was where the landscaper had set up my sprinkler system. I ran outside and took a closer look. I noticed that the pipes were plastic and had little insulation on them. I could hear the break just inside the foundation.

I ran out to the water main and tried to turn off the water but couldn't make it budge. I knew I needed something else. Some big Tool. Before I attempted it, however, I filled up one of the bath tubs for backup water. I found a large crescent wrench and a heavy duty set of pliers.

I went out while the bathtub filled and with a little ingenuity thought that I had turned off the water. I came inside only to hear the hiss still going strong. Going back to the meter, I made another startling discovery. I had just turned off the neighbors water! Fortunately for me, he never noticed as I, after some struggle got it back on.

I then called a plumber friend, Jake Firkus, and got him out of bed to make sure that I was doing the right thing. He told me that all I needed was a quarter turn to get the water off and that he would have someone out first thing in the morning. I managed to get my water off and came back inside and to bed.

But my eye would not let me rest. All night long it throbbed and watered. I did manage a little sleep in the early hours. True to his word, Jason (Jake's cousin) arrived at my house. He tried the crawl space but the area of the break was under water so we attempted to reach and fix it from the heat vent area to no avail. We could only come within inches of it. Jason crawled back under the house and found the pipe closer that headed towards the trouble area. He cut and capped it with the promise to come back in the spring to fix the shoddy work that had caused the break.

After he left, it seemed to all hit me and I told Judy I was going to stay home for a while and rest. A short nap was interrupted by a phone call. Checking the number, I realized who it was....the landscaper. Man, how news travels. I didn't feel up to the answer to I just put the phone on silence. I guess the man at the restaurant was right back last summer when we talked about my landscaping. "You will be sorry", He said, "You should at least pick someone who has his name on the side of his truck."

He is right. I should have. And, by the way, my eye still hurts.

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