[HOUSE AND HOLMES] Deja-Loo? Drought Ends, Flood Begins

Rob Loos, Ledger Columnist

Our house was built in 1928, which keeps me constantly wondering about my next home repair. It’s like playing a real-life game of Monopoly where I always land on Waterworks and have to pay 10 times the roll of the dice.

My wife left on a business trip and I was reveling in a “man-feast” weekend—a celebration where chicken is banned from the menu, “salad” is the lettuce and tomato on top of a burger and “chips” are consumed with salsa, sour cream and ranch dip.

After one dinnertime where I saluted my long-held belief that bacon is a good choice for any and every meal, I was in our downstairs bathroom when I heard the sound of water dripping. The drips became louder as they created a puddle on the tile floor. The bathroom faucets were off, and the toilet wasn’t running, but the puddle was quickly growing.

Then I noticed that the bathroom sink was backing up. Was this deja-loo? This was the same scene that I faced last month with the kitchen sink! The water was seeping from my bathroom sink drain for no apparent reason. But why now?

Last month I had a Kit-tsunami, now I’ve got a slow bathroom leak that is creeping towards our hardwood floors. How did we suddenly achieve back-to-back water-related emergencies after years of drought?

It was nearly 9 p.m. when I called my super-contractor friend Dave, who I was supposed to play golf with the next day.

“Don’t tell me you’re backing out,” he said. “We need your high handicap to win some holes.”

As a 15 handicap, it’s always good to be appreciated by scratch golfers, but I quickly told him about the leak.

“Stop using the water upstairs, put some towels on your bathroom floor, and stop eating fried food,” Dave said.

I wondered what the fried foods had to do with the leaks.

“Nothing, but your wife said when you called for help I was supposed to tell you that. I’m pretty sure it’s your old drainage pipe. Someone will be there tomorrow morning.”

The same guy who helped me when my kitchen flooded last month arrived early the next morning and quickly turned off the water, replaced an old thin metal drain pipe in the basement with a thicker plastic equivalent, and told me that potato chips are bad for my diet.

He also said that the rest of my pipes look good, so Dave told him to tell me that my next problem would be my 90-year-old electrical wiring.

Really? As I grabbed my fistful of bacon for breakfast, I realized that all of this goes to prove, “If I can’t figure it out—and I know that I can’t—my friend Dave can.”

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