© 2014 Aaron Atkinson

Don’t Drink the Water

During my 50 months of home ownership, I’ve learned a great deal more than I ever thought I’d learn. In a notch just above notice, I’ve learned to caulk and paint, to fertilize and garden, to be an electrician, a carpenter, a chef and a plumber. But as much as I’ve learned, each time I change a fuse, drive a screw, try a recipe or fix a leak, I always seem to learn just a little bit more.

Take last weekend for example. Laura called me to report that the sump pump wouldn’t stop running. I asked her to check to make sure there wasn’t water in the hole before unplugging the pump. Later that day, after buying a new pump and some replacement PVC, I set about to accomplish the simple chore of replacing the lower four feet of pipe along with the pump. Contained in that lower four feet of pipe is a one way valve that allows the expelled water to go up, but not back down. As I set about to saw off the old PVC, somewhere in the recesses of my mind I knew that between the valve and the outlet eight feet up the wall there sat an inch and a half tube of water inside the pipe.

Since the recesses of my mind do not reside at the forefront, I failed to do one simple thing as my hacksaw pierced the inside wall of the PCV – close my mouth. A tiny hole, an eight foot tube of water, and my old pal gravity sent a stream of water spouting five or six feet in the air and into my mouth, up my nose, and in my eyes. In that moment I was smart enough to keep on sawing, opening the hole, relieving the pressure and enabling the stream of water to flow into the sump hole.

While I was smart enough to keep sawing, as that rush of water hit me in the back of the throat, unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep from taking a surprised gulp.

Thanks to that surprised gulp, this month’s adventure in plumbing taught me something new. It confirmed suspicion that sump water does indeed taste far worse than it looks.


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