I think God didn’t want me to feed my bees this past Sunday. You know what they say, “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
Well since Sunday was going to be in the high 60’s and Punxsutawney Phil has declared we will have an early Spring, I thought it would be a good time to feed the bees some of Don the Fat Bee Man’s brood builder syrup.
However, when I went out to get the Carboy out of the shop, I noticed the yard was full of water. Then, I looked under the house and that was when I found the leak.
The water main, just under the edge of the house had busted. I immediately sprang into action. I threw on some shorts and dove under the house to find the hole.
The pipe turned out to be about a foot under the soil. I dug down (by hand) and uncovered the source only to find the pressure had burrowed a hole beneath the pipe deeper than my arm could reach (and I’m 6’3”).
Using a bucket, I commenced to bale the water out of the hole. I baled for over an hour – until I had displaced all the water from the backyard to the front yard.
When I finally could see the galvanized pipe, I used a caliper to measure it. We have a small lumber company in my town but it’s closed on Sunday’s. So I hosed off in the yard, then I got a quick shower, and headed for Lowe’s (30 miles away). An hour and half later, I was back home.
I bought the pipes I needed and a hand sump pump that was truly worth its weight in gold.
The section of pipe I cut out was between two joints and so I didn’t want to cut on the other side of those joints, as it meant even more issues. However, the two compression couplings were exactly the size of the area between the two joints. So the fight was on.
After an hour of work, it was all hooked up. So I got my wife to turn the water back on but as she did, the water came bursting out from between the two Comp Couplings. So I had to start over.
Well as I tried to take the couplings off, I dropped the rubber gasket down the hole and it was lost forever. It was 5:30pm by this time, and I was out of day light and will. So I surrendered.
The next morning, I woke up and headed to the local lumber company but it turned out they didn’t have the part… so back to Lowe’s I went.
I was so tired and sore as I walked back to the hole, that if I had any other option I would have taken it. Nonetheless, when you are the man of the house, failure is not an option. So I manned up and crawled back into the mud.
To my relief, in 20 minutes it was fixed – and somehow, my body felt better. Now some might say, that this is a sad story but I think they’d be wrong.
The hole in the pipe was just outside of the crawlspace, so I didn’t have to work under the house. It happened on the warmest day this winter – last weekend it was in the 20’s. And I get the feeling that if I had of fed the bees too early, it might have caused a catastrophic problem (only God himself knows for sure).
No, this is not a sad story. Old pipes rust and crack – that is just natural. However, I was blessed to have all this happen in the best possible conditions and because of that, I do feel blessed.
Not to mention that it’s been six years since my heart attack, and even though I passed all my stress-tests last year, my confidence in those test is not exactly 100% (given some of the errors that were made).
However, with the extreme stress of a broken pipe and the 5-hours spent vigorously working to dig the hole, bale the water, and then stand on my head to repair the pipe… well I fell confident I am in good health… or at least as good as a fat guy can be in.
What a great weekend it turned out to be.