One of the most important inventions of the modern era can also be the most destructive. No, I’m not talking about nuclear power or the internal combustion engine. I’m talking about indoor plumbing.
Yesterday, I got up at my usual time, just after six thirty in the morning and heard a sound like static coming from downstairs. Had the TV or the radio come on by itself? The moment I walked into the kitchen, I knew we had a much bigger problem on our hands. The hissing sound was that of water escaping from somewhere near the kitchen sink. The floor was awash and as I rushed into the basement to turn of the main water supply valve, I found our finished basement, complete with TV nook, hobby workbench and an extensive collection of scale models under a sustained rain shower from various parts of the ceiling. The leak must have started in the middle of the night for so much water to come from what turned out to be pinprick holes and it had to be one of the few nights when I didn’t have to get up at oh-dark-thirty.
With the main valve shut off and Mrs Thomson roused from her sleep, we began recovery operations — she in the kitchen and I in the greater disaster area downstairs. Thankfully, I’ve owned a pair of wet/dry shop vacs for years, and was able to suck up many liters of water in a very short space of time. With buckets under the most active drip holes, I turned to rescuing some of my prized models. Hobby grade basswood and water don’t get along.
Once things were under control, I tracked down the source of the leak, isolated it from the house’s plumbing system and turned the main back on. A mouse had chewed through the dishwasher’s water supply hose — a hose sheathed in braided metal no less. As you might imagine, I declared war on said mouse and the house is now replete with various traps designed to immobilize and kill the destructive little critter.
Fortunately, we had things under control within the hour and mostly dry by the end of the day, but the damage was done. Our lower kitchen cabinets took a beating, which means we’re looking at another remodel in the next few years, even though our current kitchen is only ten years old. The drywall of basement ceiling suffered in places as did a number of my handmade scale models. All that means I’d better keep writing so we can sink more money into the house.
Water is vital to life and indoor plumbing is a blessing, but there’s no denying that it can be destructive. I shudder to think what would have happened if we’d been away for a few days and I hadn’t bothered to shut off the main water supply valve as I normally do. And as for tiny rodents with teeth capable of chewing through all sorts of tough materials…
In the meantime, I’m slowly progressing on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Twilight. The first draft is just over 15% written.