Friday, July 14, 2006
A New Appreciation
Quiet Lake, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x24
Yesterday, I had planned to have a lovely, full day of uninterrupted studio time. The kids are still at camp, our older son has summer school and was going to a movie and dinner after and Doug was in NYC for the day. I spent the morning doing some computer things, answering email, writing a blog post, etc. Around ten, just as I was getting ready to start painting, I heard a crash somewhere in the house. I waited, wondering what it was, and then heard another and then the sound of pouring water from the basement. I went down the basement stairs and could see that a pipe had broken and water was gushing out from the pipe which was right next to the electric panel, which really made me nervous. I tried to turn off the water at the pump, but noticed that the electric thingy on it was smoking. Worried that something was going to blow up (perhaps I have seen too many movies) I decided to call 911. While I was waiting for them to come (it took 30 minutes-yikes, good thing it wasn't a REAL emergency), I talked to Doug who was just getting on a train to the city. After quibbling a bit about which valve was a the main water valve, and trying all of them, I found the right one and managed to turn off the water, which only slowed the flow without halting it completely. Luckily our basement has a drainage system so the water pooled around the corners without actually flooding the whole area. The electric connection on the pump was hissing, no fire but a lot of smoke and a burning smell. Finally one guy from the fire department showed up, followed by a fire truck with a few more guys. They determined that the pump's electrical connection had blown out and the water pressure gauge then blew and the pipe connection broke, spilling the water. Or something like that. They turned everything off and told me I needed to call our plumber.
We had completely remodeled our house about three years ago, replacing most of the systems, with the exception of the pump and the furnace (one down, one to go now), so we got to be pretty good friends with our contractor and his plumbing and electric guy, Rodney. Because Rodney did his job so well, we haven't seen him for a few years and I couldn't find his phone number. So I called our contractor, Steve, and left a message telling him what happened. Within a half an hour, Rodney called back and said that a couple of Steve's guys had flagged him down on the road and told him about what had happened at our house. He immediately came over and fixed everything within a few hours. His fee was criminally low and I would have happily paid double, but don't tell him that. Maybe I'll give him a painting. After all of this, I decided that I would not complain anymore about living here. I got teary eyed when Rodney told me about the guys flagging him down and I realized how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place AND with such great and concerned friends and acquaintances.
After all of this excitement, I did manage to get a lot of work done, essentially finishing up another batch of paintings. While I was working, I obsessed about how bad the whole situation could have been. What if it the pipe had broken while we weren't home and wouldn't be for hours (the drainage system down there isn't THAT good), or if we were on vacation, or if the older kids were home alone? They know to call 911, but it's not like I want something to happen where they have to do that. We need to have a review on all of that, I guess. I also realized that I better learn a bit more about the systems in our dark and icky, old house basement.
Uh, starting tomorrow.