Saturday morning was the girls last Jackrabbit session for the winter. It was Family Fun Day. We skied the Pinder, Sugar Bush, Mockingbird, and White Pine extensions at Hiawatha. The club had a bonfire going on the trail system as well as hotdogs and cookies and hot cocoa. It was really cold and a bit windy, but the sun was brilliant and made up for it.
After skiing we headed to the Norris Center locker room so we could all quickly take showers, because we still had no running water. Then, it was off to the Family Fun Fair put on by CEF at Sault Middle School. We were amazed at how fun this was! They had a clown tying balloons, face painting, popcorn, crafts, and all sorts of carnival games and prizes. The girls were glad they went.
We didn't go to church on Sunday because Steve desperately wanted Uncle Ben to help him under the house, and Ben was planning on leaving in the afternoon. When he came over they pulled out the pressure tank and the pipes and pressure switch that were connected to it. But, while they were wrenching on them trying to remove a pipe they wound up breaking the pressure tank. Fortunately, Aunt Amanda was up visiting and happened to be in town. So, Steve called the hardware store and ordered a new tank and Aunt Amanda delivered it. Uncle Ben stayed a bit longer, but then he had to head home, and the system was still not put back together. Plus, the main line still needed to be thawed using an ingenious idea we copied from YouTube (I will share the video at the end).
Uncle Ben left his coveralls for us, and Steve asked if I could venture under the house with him and help. I really didn't want to, but I donned the Dickies and grabbed a headlamp and headed for the crawlspace unwillingly. My reasons for not being excited : First, it was really cold out. Second, I had never been under the house and was scared of it because there is literally only about a foot of head space (which means you have to army crawl in nasty powdery sand under cobwebby pipes all the way to the other side of the house). Third, I didn't think I would be much help. But, I mustered up my courage and crawled under there because I knew Steve had been suffering under there trying to figure out our problem all week.
It was worse than I could have imagined. Immediately I wanted a breathing mask because the sandy dust was horrible, and I quickly understood why Steve had kept saying he didn't think he could fix the problem....there was no room to move. I wasn't much help, so I immediately climbed back out and went walking down our road in search of a neighbor who might know something about fitting pipes back together when you can't get any leverage.
I happened to run into our neighbors John and Chris, who informed me that they had just had a pipe freeze under their house that morning, and that they could always help if we needed it. At that same moment, another neighbor named Steve, was out walking his dog and stopped by our house to welcome us back from our trip. The girls told him that Mom and Dad were under the house. About 15 minutes after I crawled back under the house to keep Steve company I was pleasantly surprised to see John crawl up to us, and then a few minutes after that Steve crawling in with bright lights.
To make a long story short, we wound up with one more neighbor under our house, named Dave. Steve said that they all had to push and pull on the pipe to get it fitted on to the other one, and that he couldn't have done it without their help. After, some issues getting the water running at proper flow, and then finally figuring out that the Culligan filter was completely clogged, we happily left the water running in our house all night. We all were never so happy to have good neighbors.....and water.
Now flushing our toilets seems like a luxury, and don't get me started on showers! Laundry took me an entire day of work to catch back up on and the house is slowly working its way back to its former cleaner self. No more dishes stacking up. The whole week we had been filling up plastic jugs at our neighbor Roger's house and hauling them back over to our house. We just couldn't believe the amount of water we were using to perform the necessary tasks of keeping our toilets flushed etc. Next time we have a water outage we are going to use a bucket for bathroom needs! Also, we are going to swallow our pride and ask for help much sooner!
It was going to cost $500 to have a plumber come out and do the job we needed, and even though we didn't save as much money as we had hoped, because we had to buy a new pressure tank, (and even though it was a huge hassle), we all learned a lot and feel closer to our neighbors and Uncle Ben because of it. So, in the end we have decided that it is better to get messy and tackle issues on our own than to get ripped off.
So, in closing, here is the YouTube video we watched in order to learn a method to thaw our main water line. I think Steve said he thawed 25 feet, and it took him at least a few hours. So, it works, and it is definitely the way we would do it if this ever happens again (which I hope it never does).