Two weeks ago yesterday, at the end of a very nice weekend, the hot water disappeared.
Access to our basement is strange -- you open what appears to be a coat closet, go all the way in, and turn left to go down the stairs. We tend to store basement-destined things on the landing, so on my way to the water heater, I tossed a few empty boxes downstairs, turned on the light, and then rounded the corner to watch the boxes float away.
That was not a good sign. And in fact, it was a very bad sign -- we had a foot of water in the basement, which had overcome both the furnace and the water heater.
The basement has another way out -- a short set of stairs leading up to the yard, with a drain at the bottom to take care of rains. Sometimes that drain has clogged and given us a puddle, but no amount of clearing that drain was making this water go away.
I duly called the landlord-friends, and we three bailed out the stairwell in the dark by flashlight until we got it low enough that the sump pump was no longer overwhelmed and was able to take over. S figured there were something like 2,000 gallons of water in the basement, gallons that were then transferred to my oversaturated yard.
See, what had happened was this. The four feet of snow we'd gotten in February had melted, and the ground was a soggy mess. Then, we got three days of monsoon rains. Unbenownst to us, a key drainpipe had come loose, which meant that instead of creating rivers in the yard, it merely dumped it all right down the foundation.
The only things that mattered in the basement were my boxes of pictures, so we four spent Sunday night peeling them off their backings and layering them between all the towels in the house. It saved the pictures, but created another problem: we couldn't wash the towels, because we had no hot water. We also couldn't really wash the piles of dirty dishes, and that made it difficult to cook.
In fact, we ended up having no heat for three days and no hot water for five. And then the hot water went out about every 48 hours after that until yesterday, when we think it's finally been fixed for good. (I inevitably discovered the hot water was out while I was under what was supposed to be hot water, covered in sunblock.)
So, it's been a crazy few weeks, weeks in which I also had jury duty (and was seated on a jury! more on that later), met with my accountant, and my boss had an emergency appendectomy. In Las Vegas.
Today, today I'm spending the day cleaning and decluttering. It's spring, we have hot water again, and we need things to be not only back to normal, but more spacious. And would you believe I'm actually looking forward to it? Not to mention the hot shower afterwards.
And if it happens that the hot water goes out this evening, just as I, grimy and smelly, climb in for a well-deserved sluicing? You'll be able to hear me from there.