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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

When I got up this morning, my driveway was a swamp, so I did the prudent thing and called my landlord. He wasnít home, of course, but I left a message. I didnít know what I was going to do if I didnít hear from him, because it was obvious the leak, or whatever, was only getting worse. The more water that poured out of the ground, the closer it came to my garage, which is downhill from everything.

In fact, I canít even walk from my front door to the garage without getting my shoes muddy. When I drove in and out today, I tried to drive on the extreme far side of the road, away from the mud and muck. There were pools and ponds and streams and rivers, and I was close to phoning my other landlord, the one who spends most of the year in Thailand.

Then late this afternoon the landlordís wife knocked on my door. Her husband has been working out of town, but he was on his way back and would take a look at the leak and see what could be done. In the meantime, she had shut off my water. Thatís good, because the swamp wouldnít be getting any worse. Itís bad because, well, you know. No flushing.

When the landlord got home— Wait. His name is Fred. (And his partner Jerry is indeed in Thailand, which is of no use to me.)

When Fred got home and started digging, he found the problem pretty quickly. It was an old length of pipe leading from a well thatís no longer used (there are three on the property) to— well, nobody could figure out where it was leading. He dug all around it and turned the water back on to make sure that was the leak. It definitely was, since the hole immediately filled up with water.

There are ways to repair pipes like that, thank goodness. And fortunately, not only is Fred a plumber, but so is one of his other tenants. Together they figured out what was needed to make the repair, and well before dark they had done the work and turned my water back on. Theyíre leaving the hole uncovered for a couple of days for some reason I canít remember, but they put cones around it so that nobody (like me) would absent-mindedly drive into it.

12 July 2006

Pipe in the hole.

Fred asked if any heavy delivery trucks had driven up my road recently. He thought it was possible that the old pipe was already weak, and maybe the ground was soft enough that a truck could have made the coupling that was the source of the leak break a little more. And I had to admit that my bottled water guy was here Monday morning, at almost exactly the same time the leak had started. So thereís the solution to that mystery.

What we donít know is if there are other weak points where this could happen again. The previous owner of the property had laid out cheap pipe in random directions when the place was built, and no one knows for sure where it all runs. If this happens often enough, though, they might have to dig up the whole property and run all new pipe. Knowing my landlords, that will be a last resort.

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I think part of the reason my rent hasnít gone up in five years is that I never bother my landlords with anything I think I can handle myself. That also helps when something like this comes up. It actually makes them glad when I bring something to their attention. Points for me.

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