Wednesday, October 19, 2011

So what's your disaster story?

It's been one of those weeks, you know? We found out that over the weekend that the ceiling was leaking in the library. Luckily, my boss came in over the weekend and found it, but we still lost some books.
My coworker has been having car trouble this week, and she lives out in North Pole so between the distance and the snow, today was the first day she was able to find a ride and get to work. Not that it's been bad, but that's the way this week seems to be going for everybody. Another friend of mine had the heat go out in her cabin.
Our disaster came this morning. There were some fairly mundane, relatively trivial things at first. The dog is mad at me because I've been gone so much this week with the rehearsals for "Annie". So she peed in the living room and, for good measure, got into the recycling. Nothing too big. My wonderful, amazing husband woke up before me and not only started cleaning them up but he made me breakfast. <3 So while he took care of that, I went into the garage to feed the pets and found out that the boiler was gushing hot water into the garage. This was not a leak, this was a major problem. I called Shane out there, and we grabbed a large (empty) tote that had been used for liquor at our wedding to contain the still flowing water, and I called the landlord. Then I went upstairs to notify the neighbors. The song "It's a Hard-Knock Life" kept repeating itself in my head.
All in all, though, it could have been worse. The water obviously hadn't been flowing for too long so water damage was minimal, and I was only five minutes late to work. I heard from the landlord later in the morning, and it turns out that a pressure valve had gone off. He said this is either because the city upped the water pressure, or because the water somehow got too hot. Either way, I'm glad it was easy to fix. He's still trying to figure out what the cause was, though, to make sure it doesn't happen again. And thank goodness we keep the pet food in the garage! No cars are actually in the garage right now, so who knows how long it would have taken for someone to notice otherwise?
I cannot stress enough how thankful I am that Shane woke up early this morning and made my breakfast. I'm so lucky to have such an amazing man I'm married to. But enough gushing.
Things like this make me realize how little I know about home repair and maintenance. It's not that I don't want to learn, or that I think I'd be bad at it. On the contrary, I've done quite well with the projects I've helped with and I would love to learn more! But I think things like home repair are one of the last bastions of socially accepted misogyny. Why does no one ever teach girls and women how to do these things ourselves? Even my progressive, forward-thinking father didn't really think of showing me how to do this stuff. (Although he was excellent about including me in projects--like building a retaining wall in the backyard. I did roughly 1/3 of the work on that and I'm still proud of it.) I think it was just easier to do himself than to show me. Except for painting, which I'm quite good at.
I'm determined that when Shane and I have a home of our own, I'm going to be included in all of the repair/restoration/improvement projects. One of the areas Shane is least comfortable in is plumbing, so I'd like to learn about that. (Especially since plumbers are so expensive!) This is an extension of the reason I like growing some of our own food--that is, I like knowing that I'm capable. I like doing things myself. There's so much more satisfaction and pride in knowing that you've done something yourself, and in showing it off, rather than in paying someone else to do it. Plus, if you do it yourself you have much more incentive to get it right so you know the quality of the work that went into it.
How does one learn about household plumbing?

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