Monday, May 18, 2015

My trip to the crawl space

But first, happier times (yesterday) when my house (and Zeke, our 8-month-old German Shepard) enjoyed the wonders of running water.

Fast forward. Monday morning. No water comes from any of the house faucets, regardless of the amount of torque I apply to the faucet handles. The water fairies are apparently immune to my verbal threats and do not as of yet appear to be intimidated.

Oh sure, I've tried all of the advanced plumbing trouble-shooting techniques accumulated over the years. First, I opened the breaker box to ensure the well pump circuit breaker fuse thingy wasn't thrown. It wasn't. I flipped it off, then back on again in hopes that somehow this action would create a tsunami power surge that would magically re-electrify my water distribution system. I may have already lost a good number of readers due to my use of very technical plumbing and electrificity jargon. If so, I apologize and will attempt to talk down to you, my beloved blog audience.

Let's recap. So far my advanced strategery has not elicited the desired results. I was not ready to throw in the dry towel just yet and still had a trick up my sleeve.

Using every ounce of plumbing knowledge I possess after several years of study and finally achieving a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration back in the mid 80s, I gained access to the crawl space after removing the painted plywood panel located behind the water softener in the lower level mechanical slash laundry room. I had been in there before, and remembered from those earlier visits the existance of copper pipes that distributes water throughout the house originating from the far corner of said crawl. My journey found me there, staring at something called a well pressure tank. I looked at it for several minutes - and after satisfying myself that nobody had stolen it - slowly backed out of the crawl space on hands and knees.

For some reason, this whole process reminded me of my old hillbillyish neighborhood where my wife and I lived when we were first married. Our first home was a 720 square foot '48529' classic, and half of that generous square footage was dedicated to the back entrance mud room. But I digress.

Long story short, I remember a summer day in the 90s when my mid-80s Buick Skylark wouldn't start, regardless of the amount of torque I applied to the key. The car was parked in front of my house (I would have said at the curb, but this street didn't have curbs). I remember it being a Saturday, so at least I wouldn't be late for work.

I went back inside the house, came out with a beer, popped the hood of the Skylark and popped the ring top of the Bud. Applying every ounce of auto mechanical knowledge I possessed, after several years of study and finally achieving a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration back in the mid 80s, I took a swig and determined after several minutes af staring that in fact nobody had stolen my car engine.

But then something magical happened. Several neighbors began pouring out of their homes and made their way over to my rusted hulk. I swear they heard the sound of a beer opening, dropped what they were doing and made a beeline to the sound.

There was my next door neighbor, Lonnie, a good ol' boy long retired from General motors, and who spoke with a thick southern drawl. He had a detached one-car garage I could see from our back kitchen window that (no sh*#) leaned at about a 45% angle. Every time a storm would brew, I was sure the thing would collapse, but it never did. It was one of the most amazing structural oddities I have ever seen.

Joining us was Randy, a few years my junior, who raced stock cars and was forever tinkering with them in his garage directly across the street and about 100 total feet from my living room t.v. 

Rounding out my little Skylark party was Tom, who lived the other side of me, opposite Lonnie and his wife. I can't remember what Tom did for a living, but I remember him being as mechanically inclined as I was, and seemed to have the engine stare down pat.

So I made another trip to the 'fridge and passed out soldiers to all my neighbors. Tom continued to stare at my open hood. Lonnie drawled on about a similar problem he had with a vee-hickle several decades earlier, and Randy's hands were a blur, as he got to MacGyvering on my bad boy. 10 minutes later, the car started. I really miss those neighbors. Some really good dudes.

So fast forward back to the hear and now. After a quick trip to the fridge, I return to the crawl space and shimmy my way to the pressure tank. It's still there. I opened my beer I brought with me and waited. And waited.

Hey, it was worth a shot. Guess I'll call a plumber.


  1. It appears your booster pump has stopped supplying eater to your hydro pneumatic tank. More than likely, the pressure switch needs to be replaced.

  2. Jess, how do u do that? Indeed, one pressure switch and 38 psi's and a new brass nipple, which is really what I am most proud of.

  3. "and after satisfying myself that nobody had stolen it"

    This is so funny! I had a car stolen some years back from the front curb....Mr. Z had gone out to drive it somewhere and came back in and said "our car's been stolen." We walked out together and, there he stood...staring at the asphalt...and staring....until I finally had to say "Honey, no amount of your staring at tar is going to bring that car back, you know that, right?"
    I still laugh.. except it also scared me that he, my very smart husband with degrees and experience, found it at all beneficial to stare...
    He should have popped a beer :-)

  4. I laughed so hard, I had to pop a beer. :) Maybe if I stare at the garden, my neighbors will come out and pick the beans for me ...

  5. Z, I love that this brought forth a memory of Mr Z. One of these times that staring thing just might work.
    Sparky, made you laugh! I can picture your neighborhood being overrun with inebriated bean packers. There goes the property values.

    BTW, I ended up selling that Skylark to my district assistant for $50. Yes I told him that it wouldn't start on occasion, but he insisted the price was right and he could fix it in his garage. I ended up having to fire him for missing work so frequently due to car problems. I should feel guilty, but he never did pay me the $50. True story.

  6. "nobody had stolen my car engine."
    Why? Was the "Check Engine" light on?

  7. Ed, THAT'S what that light is for!? And all this time I thought it was just for the ambient glow it provided in the cab after sunset. And I'd get Jess a soldier, but the plumber took all of my beer money.

  8. What a great story!

    Neighbors today aren't like that used to be. Really.

    We may live in communities -- all prettied up -- but the neighborly spirit has largely disappeared. I swear that if I collapsed right in the middle of my street, not a single neighbor would come over to see what was wrong -- unless I was blocking that neighbor's ingress or egress. **sigh**

  9. I agree AOW. Neighbors are on the list of things we've lost.Don't become a speed bump! :)