#SOL15: The Unexpected

I left work last Friday with a short list of weekend “work to dos” and eagerly anticipated BOTH some reading and writing time for myself.  By the time I arrived home, I had my plan of attack.  Two tasks Friday night, one for Saturday and one for Sunday. Piece of cake.  Time allocated.  (Planning for a win/win)

However, it was not meant to be.

I had not even backed into my parking spot in front of the garage when I was intercepted and told, “Oh, no, it’s a mess!”

I remembered the frozen water line to the master bath toilet the night before.  We put a heater in the bathroom, turned the sink water on and waited.  No luck.  I left a note before I was off to work and texted to make sure that the note was received.  Out of my hands.

Hopeful that the dripping sink would help open up the cold water line

As I unloaded my bags from the car and walked to the house, I wondered, “Was it the water line? Something else?  Maybe our dog made a mess?”

If it was the water line, just how much water will drip from one frozen water line?

dripping wat

Cold weather causes many difficulties.  A week of subzero temperatures where the HIGH for two consecutive days was below zero, had resulted in a frozen water line to the toilet in the master bath.  Simple?  It’s a one story house. Durable? Yes. Walls are 8 inches of concrete surrounded by 2 inches of styrofoam on both the inside and outside (12 inch thick walls). The water line was inside an interior wall.

Not the first time!  Frozen water line in the kitchen about five years ago resulted in a patch in the hallway.

The patched seam in the hallway was more distinct because I could see it from the front door.  There was water on the kitchen floor (about a half inch) and varying depths in the two bathrooms, the master bedroom and closet and the guest bedroom.  Water was everywhere but the living room!


Squish, squish

Water, water,

Water, everywhere . . .

An industrial shop vacuum with help from neighbors quickly pulled 60 gallons of water off the floor.

Squish, squish

Water in my shoes,

Cold, wet, tired,

And weekend plans hijacked.

How much water can come from one burst half inch water line?

4 more dumps of the 16 gallon cannister on the industrial shop vacuum.

Where on earth can all this water come from?

Fans found.

Fans deployed in every room.

Break time


Cold, Tired, Wet!

Suddenly, a crash

And this was the view of the ceiling in the bathroom . . . .

Drywall on the floor.

Exhaust fan hanging . . .

Total mess!

water ceiling


No tasks completed Friday night.

Saturday a trip to Menard’s for plumbing supplies and replacement insulation.  More water vacuumed off the floor.  Sorting, pitching, cleaning.  Sunday was a repeat of Saturday.

No tasks completed Saturday or Sunday.

unexpected road

Changed plans and no reading or writing.  Time for a new plan . . .

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work.

32 responses

  1. Ah shoot, that doesn’t sound fun. And we complain here in LA when it gets into the 40’s. I hope that warmth, dry air, cooperating plumbing and a good book are all in the new plans, and the reality as well.

    1. 40’s by the end of the week here are a great promise of what is to come. It’s the row of dominoes that keep falling as you pick up and clean up this . . .that goes on and on.

      There will be a book in the new plan!

  2. Lord, what a bummer … I’d say, at least you got a story out of it, but that sounds as if I am making light of it all. I hope you get it all fixed soon .. so you can do that writing and reading you needed to do in the first place.

    1. Actually, being able to write about it helped. It’s not the end of the world; just a huge inconvenient mess!

      And now work needs have returned with a vengeance! ARRGGGGHHHH!

  3. Ugh. Sorry to hear about this mess and hijacking!

    1. Hijacked plans . . . yes, that’s what happened. Going to make one hour for myself today!

  4. Oh no!! I could feel your pain as I read your post. Wayward water is no fun.

    1. OMG . . .wayward water is so apt! The force of water is amazing . . .and so much MORE appreciated when it goes to good! (not as newsworthy!) 🙂

  5. Is everything back to normal now so you can start planning for your upcoming weekend? Monday off too?

    1. It’s kind of like the new normal – I still don’t have any of the weekend work done so that’s still on the list. No holiday here for Monday; in fact a grad class (me as teacher) begins then so time will be rationed even more.

      House – water in the right spots. Drywall will be replaced today. . .

      One day at a time. One hour today and then even 30 minutes each day until the weekend is my current goal. Back to my #olw15: Focus!

  6. Fran, looks like your disaster derailed your to do list. This is an unfortunate problem that causes much grief and stress. During Hurricane Irene my finished basement living spaces flooded and I remember the feel of soaked feet. One day in the future you will recall the incident and think of it as one more detour on the road to life. For now, you just have to have faith as you wade through the muck! Sorry!

    1. Carol,
      Obviously I had the WRONG plan for the weekend. LOL! The sound of squeaking from my shoes is just so wrong when inside my house. . . . It could have been worse. . . “faith and patience are both at the top of my current list!

  7. The best laid plans… Although we never had a pipe burst, we did have a sump malfunction in our basement that led to three inches of water throughout the basement – which runs the full length and width of our rancher. What a mess! Hope you have a better weekend coming up.

    1. Ouch! We had a sump pump in the basement of our old house. Depends what line that is attached to . . . the degree of mess! 3 inches of water is a lot! Thankful, ours was not that deep when found!

  8. Fran, oh my word, this is a disaster!! What. A. Mess. Ugh. I hope you guys got it all cleaned up and repaired. Your tone in this piece is almost… calm. Accepting. I would have been crying! Here’s to a warmer winter for the next few months…

    1. Dana,
      So lucky that my husband is a carpenter/builder. . . I was so not calm Friday night as I surveyed the situation. However, action was required. No time to “admire” this situation and consider a change. Immediate action. . . sometimes that sense of urgency can be channeled in a positive way. (Halfway back to normal helps!)
      Thanks for commiserating with me!

  9. Oh boy, what a whirlwind of activity – none of it of the sort you’d anticipated or wanted. I somehow see you dealing with it all in a cool, unflappable way. Hope things warm up a bit, Fran – we could use a respite.

    1. Tara,
      My hour today will be my respite! Already plotting about what I want to do with my time . . . And I was not cool or unflappable . . . So looking forward to temperatures in the 40s this coming weekend!

  10. Oh Fran… I am sorry. Love the squish squish- not that it happened, but your word choice. I felt cold and tired and wet and frustrated and hungry right along with you. Hope things are looking up.

    1. Lisa,
      I felt a bit Dr. Seuss-ish for awhile. Was trying to think of a character to be with me on my “adventure” but that required way too much thinking. My prayer for tonight is “no more squish squish” – that will be a huge step in the right direction!

      It could have been worse – could have been gone for the weekend and returned to a swimming pool! Sure allows a body to re-focus on what is really important!

  11. What a mess … and yes, an inconvenience. But new walls and ceiling. New paint. New decor. It will feel fresh and new soon enough I hope!

    1. I like the idea of fresh and new. Maybe some different decor is in order! THANKS!

  12. I hope it’s all fixed now! I really hate when things out of the blue disrupt your otherwise well thought out schedule!

    1. Handling interruptions . . . kinda like school snow days, fire drills, assemblies . . . hopefully, no water on their inside floors!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  13. Wow! Quite the adventure. I have to admit, I would much rather read about it than live it. On the plus side, this would make an excellent mentor text when you are teaching narrative writing!

    1. Susan,
      It was actually one of the “easiest” narratives that I’ve written. Something to be said for the “passion/emotion” involved!

      Thanks for the great idea!

  14. Oh, Fran, so sorry for all that mess and trouble. Here’s hoping for warmer temps and no (bad) surprises!

    1. Thanks so much, Allison! So many kind thoughts that have made this so much more “bearable”! I also hope that I am done with surprises for a bit!

  15. Oh Fran that ceiling, those floors, shop vac! We had our toilet overflow twice and the damage that caused was huge. I can’t imagine your situation. Miserable! I hope this weekend will have some spots of rest for you. Thanks for taking time to share. Love to read your words!

    1. Julieanne,
      As we were cleaning up, I was thinking of you and your state – short on water – and me with a surplus! Would love to share but that’s kinda hard across the miles! Being able to turn it into a story has helped. . . also wondering how the story would be told from the point of view of a drop of water that escaped the frozen pipe! (Teacher mind never rests. Author mind always looking for something to write!)

  16. What a mess! This just happened at my mother’s house, and the water spread from one end of the house to the other. Hope you’ll have a little time to catch up on your work this weekend! (And that nothing else happens to derail your plans!)

    1. Thanks, Catherine!
      The dehumidifier is still running 24/7, but it seems to be improving daily! Water and absorption rates are something I had never considered before!

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