Every Lake has a Silver Lining

This has been a doozy of a day, y’all. But let me back up, because, like almost all of my stories, this disaster of a day has roots. My house sits lower than the road and my front yard is a steep slope that has a low point and then inclines a little up to the house. There’s a drain in the lowest point of the yard with a sump pump in it. Well, I forgot about the pump, and it’s been raining a lot lately, so when the water pooled up in that low spot, I thought that the drain must have gotten covered in leaves or something. But then the water didn’t recede and I began to be a little worried. It looked like this:

I didn’t know what to do, but I thought the worst thing that would happen as a result of this lake would be some mud and dead grass. I kept meaning to get out and clear those pesky leaves away from the drain, but never got around to it. So on Saturday, my very kind neighbor (who knows this is my first house) stopped by to mention that there might be a bigger problem, like a busted pipe. I hadn’t considered that. The next day I tried to clear leaves, which was singularly ineffective. Then I called Dad, who said that the pump (which I had forgotten about) had probably stopped working. That seemed like an obvious conclusion, so I set my mind at ease and called the plumber the next day, making an appointment for Wednesday afternoon to have the pump fixed. It wasn’t an emergency, after all. Just a broken pump.

But this morning as I came back from my run with Spur, I saw a county truck pulling away from my house and when I got inside there was no water. I got online to check my bill, thinking that maybe I had missed a payment although I found that doubtful. And what did I find there? My most recent bill (they just read the meter on Friday) at a whopping $7,104.84. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that seven thousand American dollars. So after I put my eyeballs back in my head, it was clear to me that my water problem was the result of a broken pipe, and the pump in my yard had been pumping water away. I called the water company and the customer service rep told me that I would have to pay the bill in full before the water could be turned back on, but that if it was an underground pipe (instead of something in the house or irrigation) they would credit my bill. I managed not to cry until I got off the phone, I didn’t keep it together quite as well when I called my dad, but I recovered enough to crack jokes when I called the plumber to let them know that we had a different problem on our hands.

All you need to know about the rest of my day is that there was an epic pity party at my house, with lots of intermittent crying, abortive attempts to convince myself that things were not really so bad, and class. I mean I went to class, not that I was classy. I skipped my second class so I could be home when the plumber came, and I’m glad I did because I was able to explain the situation to him. Also, he is the nicest plumber in the world, and said that he would have made the same mistake I had about assuming it was the pump, so I felt validated and less like an idiot. At first he thought he was going to have to dig up and replace the whole line from the house to the street, but the leak ended up being right at the water meter and was a pretty simple fix. Best of all—the county hadn’t locked the water meter, so the plumber could turn my water back on. Now everything is back to normal, and I’ve just got the looming stress of convincing the county to take care of my bill.

So, this was kind of a disaster, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I mean, my house isn’t flooded and neither is my crawl space. I didn’t have any fancy landscaping that got ruined. The county should be adjusting my bill. I had no less than four offers from people to let me shower at their place if I needed to, which makes a girl feel grateful. My dad cracked a lot of jokes in an attempt to make me feel better. My electricity and heat are unaffected. I had a good excuse to miss one of my classes, and if I could ever use a few hours break it was today. The lake is gone, thanks to the pump (which is clearly working fine). My water is back on, and I’ve found the nicest plumber in Atlanta. And really, let’s be serious. We’re talking about a minor disruption in my water service, while there are places in the world where people can’t even get clean water. How lucky am that I have water pipes, even when they break.

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