Welcome to the land of leakin'.
When one lives in Hannibal, Mo., it doesn’t take long to reach the Land of Lincoln. From my house, the trip has recently gotten considerably shorter.
Of course, instead of Lincoln, I’m meaning “leakin’,” as in what happens when water finds access to areas it is not meant to be.
Leak No. 1 has been around for some time. According to my wife, Nancy, the kitchen sink has leaked to some degree or another for years. It was not uncommon to see her pulling out large containers from beneath the right sink and pour out water into the left side of the sink, which fortunately didn’t leak.
Last year when we had a plumber out to do some other work, we included the sink on our project list. When the plumber left, the leak didn’t. When we called him back out, he smeared some plumber’s gunk on the pipe and the leak stopped – for a while.
When the leak returned recently, instead of calling the plumber back to apply more gunk, my wife decided to take matters into her own hands.
Nancy could have looked to me to take on the problem, but after 37 years of marriage she has figured out that sending me under the sink with a wrench would have more than likely resulted in the left sink leaking, too, when I was finished.
Comfortable with my ineptitude when it comes to plumbing matters, I did accompany my wife to Lowe’s last Tuesday as she looked for replacement pipes. Try as she might to explain to me in simple English what she was looking for, Nancy might as well have been telling me in Arabic. Inevitably whatever I picked up was either the wrong length, wrong diameter or wrong type of pipe.
Eventually one of Lowe’s associates volunteered to call in the store’s plumbing expert on duty. When he arrived, Nancy was off exploring the plumbing supplies on another aisle. Standing there with the old pipe in my hands, I might have looked like I knew what I was doing, which of course I didn’t. Consequently when he arrived I just smiled and said, “Please wait just a minute while I go get my ‘contractor.’”
Armed with the correct replacement pipes, Nancy made quick work of the kitchen leak.
Leak No. 2 won’t be quite so “easy.”
Last fall, when the remnants of a tropical system rolled through, some of the water it deposited started leaking into our basement computer room. It was the first time in years we’d had such a problem.
When the basement didn’t leak during or following subsequent rains, I assumed that it was a one-time fluke. Of course I was wrong.
A couple of weekends ago when we received a slow, soaking inch or so of rain, guess what room in my house started oozing water again? If you guessed the computer room, consider yourself very astute.
This repair won’t be nearly as simple as fixing a leaky sink. To gain access to the foundation, at some point in the near future I’ll be found armed with a shovel, digging a trench to the very bottom of my house’s foundation in the area that it’s leaking so that some black sealant goo can be generously applied. While I’ve considered suggesting that such manual labor is considered equivalent to water boarding in the eyes of some human rights organizations, I don’t think my bride will buy it. Needless to say, my back is aching just writing about it.
Eventually the basement computer room will be dry again and the Land of Leakin’ will be no more. Of course, I haven’t been brave enough to venture up into my attic lately.