A week or so ago, Juanita and I talked with one of our neighbors. She had been called away for a long term assignment at her work, and wouldn't be able to spend the winter here in Allenspark. We suggested, that if her home was going to be un-lived-in for the next couple months, the water should be shut off, to prevent any major problems. Sounded like a good plan to her so I called the local water district to shut the water off at the curb-stop. The Water District Guy (yes, singular, it's a small district) told me he'd get right to it, as he was going to Australia to visit family for the next 6 weeks. Late the next day, I checked the water at her house and nothing came out of the sink. Good. Next trip to town, I'd pick up some RV antifreeze for the toilets and sink traps, and hope for the best. The lines hadn't been blown out, so there was still a chance something would freeze if the power went out, but damage should be minimized.
Next, I caught a cold. I spent 2 days in my sweats, coughing and whining.
Yesterday, Juanita and I finally took the antifreeze over and walked into her place.
"Oh! Dear Me! My Goodness!" Well, I said SOMETHING along those lines.
"Water, water everywhere, and 'nary a drop in the sink."
I slogged through the bedroom to the bath/laundry room, which at that moment was doubling as a 150 sq. foot walk in shower. I snapped on the light.... Okay, some habits are hard to break. Standing in 3 inches of water while being sprayed with a flood of cold water is not the best time to operate ANY electrical appliance or device. The light didn't work anyway. But I could see that the oil filled electric space heater sitting in the middle of the lake was still on.
"Oh! Dear Me!" and I back-peddled out of the room without touching any pipes or OTHER electrical devices.
"Me Oh My!" The water hadn't been turned off, it had been frozen. Remember the power failure on New Year's Eve? It had just taken a few days to thaw out (It's -8 degrees this morning as I'm typing this. Hard to believe ANYTHING could thaw.)
Okay- the main shutoff is in the meter-pit out back. An 8 foot deep, 5 foot diameter concrete pipe in the ground with a 4 foot diameter 5 inch thick concrete lid covered with snow. No problem, I know approximately where it is. Finally got the lid found, brushed off and broken free. Slid it over and saw...wait for it....WATER.
The meter-pit had 5 or 6 FEET of water in it. No way I was getting in there without arctic diving gear.
I wandered back home in my squishy wet boots and socks and called the Water District to leave a message. I figgered in 6 weeks someone with a great tan (it's summer in Australia) would show up and stop the flood. The machine gave me another number to call for the Substitute Water District Guy! Score! I called and he picked up. He had dropped by his house to warm up. Apparently the District had a major leak that they couldn't find, so he had been going door to door, reading meters and looking for evidence of a leak for 2 days. The day after the Primary Water District Guy went on vacation, the leak had started.
The Substitute Water District guy told me he would round up the other guys and come on over (cell phones don't work up here...).
I pulled on a set of muck boots while I was waiting and went back to see if Noah had shown up with any lumber or critters.
I went into the shower room, giving wide birth to the heater, and (using a flashlight this time) found the indoor water cutoff behind the water heater, just under one of the major leaks. I wrapped a knuckle on the valve to see if I was charged from standing in the lake with the heater. No shock. Good. I turned the valve off.
I stood dripping off for a moment, and then went outside to wait for the boys.
I really hate plumbing.