I’m afraid to say my first day in my floating home was a little less magical than my arrival.
To begin with, my “Open 24 Hours a Day! 7 Days a Week!” storeroom facility decided to be closed for Easter without sending any sort of notice to their tenants. So, when I blithely showed up, keyed in my security code at the gate, and went inside, I ended up being greeted by a very flustered property manager who came barreling out of her RV, followed quickly by her husband/S.O. armed with a shotgun.
None of this was really disastrous other than the fact that all the bedding I planned to use for the night was behind lock and key and they weren’t about to let me in long enough to retrieve it. I think what irked me the most is how nasty the manager was. I just about got accused of breaking and entering. She kept insisting that there was no way my security code should have been able to open the gate and that they told everyone when they signed up for a facility that they were closed on major holidays. (Of which, Easter apparently qualifies in her world.)
I made my apologies and left. I’ve got a bad feeling, though, that there’s going to be an ongoing series of issues between me and this women as I ended up getting the Death Look the whole time I was there yesterday to retrieve a few things.
It annoyed me that I was forced to go buy a cheapo comforter to get me through the night until I could retrieve my bedding. Odds are I’ll end up donating it to one of the local shelters.
The real excitement on Sunday, however, involved my tiny house’s plumbing. I was able to reach Kenny about midday and he showed me how to turn out the main water main to my house. Kenny hung around for about fifteen minutes helping me make sure all the appropriate valves were opened and that everything appeared to be in working order. I wished him a Happy Easter and he went off to spend the day with his parents and sister.
An hour later all hell began to break loose. My hot water heater made a noise that could only be described as a death rattle and then stubbornly refused to produce anything that could even be generously described as lukewarm water. The hot water spigot produced water the same temperature as the river.
Next, the shower turned on by itself and no matter how I adjusted the handle, I couldn’t get it to less than a light, ongoing trickle.
This was followed by the kitchen sink sprouting a leak from the main pipe. Having no pots or pans yet in the house, I resorted to putting my rice cooker under the drip to capture the water. I then made a hasty trip to Wal-Mart to grab a few containers to catch water in until I could reach a plumber Monday morning who would charge less-than-extortionate rates because it was a holiday.
The coup de gras, however, was that, just as I was coming back through the front door from Wal-Mart, I heard a weird, cracking explosion from the bathroom, which made no sense whatsover. I opened the bathroom door cautiously to discover that the lid of my toilet tank had shot off with enough force to hit the far wall and break into pieces. I kid you not.
Now, I’ve seen my handful of weird toilet malfunctions before. I had also been warned by the contractor who had rebuilt my float that re-balancing the level of the house could result in some minor drips in the plumbing. But there was no way an exploding toilet could be described as “minor” in anyone’s book as far as I was concerned.
The subsequent conversation with Kenny went roughly like this:
Me: “Uh, Kenny, there seems to be a problem with my toilet.”
Kenny: “What? Is it not flushing?”
Me: “No. It exploded.”
Kenny: “Exploded? What do you mean by ‘exploded’? Did you get backflow from the honeypot or something?”
Me, trying to keep my tone somewhere below the pitch of a mouse who’s just been sodomized: “No. I mean, the lid just shot off, slammed into the far wall, and broke in half. That kind of exploded.”
This pronouncement was greeted by a moment’s silence worthy of the news I’d just delivered.
Kenny: “I’ll be there first thing tomorrow morning with my plumber.”
Kenny was slightly more pragmatic on the subject of what I should use for a toilet until then, though. He suggested I could probably still use it and just flush with a bucket until the cavalry arrived… But I might want to be a little careful just to be safe. Alternately, there was always the gym locker room down the street. I’d mentioned I was planning to get a membership, hadn’t I?
I ended up making the minimal possible number of hasty trips to the bathroom during the night, keeping a watchful eye on the tank the entire time I was in the room.
Monday morning, Carey of Rhino Plumbing and his brother appeared as my salvation. Apparently what happened is the squeegee-ma-bob–hey, I’m not a plumber and they just pointed at the thing–had shot up several inches with enough force to rip itself free of the tubing in the tank and send the lid flying.
Why exactly this happened, no one knows. Not even the plumbers. It could have been air or some sort of debris in the line. But that’s pure speculation. Upon further determined probing by me, both Kenny and Carey surrendered a few Man Points by admitting they’d never seen anything like it. It was the damnedest thang.
The initial plan had been to simply replace the innards of the toilet and see if that fixed the issue. However, then it was discovered that there was a crack running the length of the bowl on the far side. Whether the crack happened as part of the explosion or sometime during the winter they don’t know.
Final verdict: my hot water heater could be saved with a new heating element. Shower was magically shut off. Leak under the kitchen was resolved. The toilet, however, has been declared D.O.A. Looks like I may be getting the spiffy new, dual-flush toilet I had been planning a little earlier than planned. (And praying I don’t see similar canon-like activity from that.)
So that was my Sunday and Monday this week.
Now, can anyone recommend a good sacrificial offering to the local water gods to ensure there’s no more of this mischief?