This small town is replacing its decrepit system of water mains and lines. They’re just about done with our street now but it comes at a price: water pressure on and off for the last couple weeks, impassable streets and intersections, and finally, when it’s all done and your house is back online, sediment in the pipes. Which of course no one warned us about.
Last week, just after the above giant hole in our front yard was filled back in, there was a strange lack of water pressure in the bathrooms and utility room. You’re not supposed to lose water pressure in only part of a dwelling. Having no idea of the sediment issue, I was at a loss. I talked to the wife of the local plumber, she tracked down her husband, and he said start checking the filters on the faucets and on the water intakes on the washer. So I got a pair of pliers and started opening up faucets.
There was a decent amount of rust flakes and grit in the filters in the faucets. I got those cleaned out and yea, water floweth. Then I went to the laundry room, which is a personal headache anyway. The ancient off-brand washer and dryer we’ve inherited are likely on their last legs. When we moved the dryer away from the wall the first time for painting, I discovered that my dad had jerry-rigged the hose hooking up the dryer to the archaic outside vent, an arrangement that collapsed when we moved the dryer from where it had sat for 20+ years. And now there was no putting it back together. Even our contractor was at a loss except to suggest start from scratch. After a couple trips to Big Box Hardware Store in Bismarck, I pieced together a new system for the vent, found a hose that would work on that old dryer, we’ve been doing without any vent off the dryer. If you’ve guess that such a practice would create a giant fucking mess, you win a stuffed bear. To get to the washer, I had to move the dryer. So I decided it was time to nut up and kill two dirty birds at the same time.
I moved the dryer from the wall. As Grandma B would say, “ish-da”. There was a heavy layer of lint carpeting the already revolting carpet and up onto the wall. I brought the shop vac up from the basement and it stripped that layer right off. I wiped down the wall and then set to work on a new vent. Of course, the hole in the wall was irregular, the big pipe coming off the dryer was the wrong size, and the clamps I bought were too tight and very tricky to work with. After about an hour of sweat and swear words, I got it all done. Then to the damn washer.
The connections to the hoses were pretty corroded and stubborn. It took more elbow grease than a former cubicle dweller wanted to expend but I got them opened and cleaned out. I turned the water back on and it was still clogged. Back to swearing. I went downstairs where the hoses lead but those connections were impossible to open, at least with my crescent wrench. I called the Son of a Preacher Man, our contractor, and borrowed a better wrench. He watched me flail at it and when the connection turned, the hose refused to turn along with it. It’s not supposed to do that.But I did succeed in ripping a line into my thumb trying to force it. Fuck. So I soaked it all with the farmer’s friend, WD-40, and let it sit overnight while I nursed my injured thumb with a small serving of Macallan’s 12. The next morning I went back down there and twisted, turned, and tortured the mess but nothing was happening. I turned the water back on and for the sake of shits and giggles, turned the washer back on. And whatever gyrations I had performed broke open the clog. Water flowed.
So I am kinda proud of myself. Once again I have succeeded in fixing something in this house that was done half-ass (the dryer vent) and tackled a problem that I wouldn’t have had a clue about before we moved back here (the washer and the faucets). These little bits of knowledge keep accumulating. Maybe someday I’ll actually be a grownup who knows how to fix everything around here. But if you’re a gambler don’t take that bet.