Saturday, February 27, 2010

Water Pressure Tank

I realize this is old news, but every good story (especially those that involve the neurotic adventures of yours truly) always deserve a retelling. Also, excuse my absence, been away at the islands.

A couple of days before we departed, however, we had this massive wind storm that took out the electricity. It wasn't surprising, and to be honest, I was convinced that a few trees were going to fall onto our front lawn, but they didn't. A testament to nature's durability. We lost electricity in the AM, and knew better than to use up the water pressure in the tank. No flushing, when it's yellow, mellow; when it's brown, down it, and all that good stuff. The power came back on right before we were about to head out, so I figured I'd give all the toilets a good flush before we left. However, after flushing, I noticed that the tanks weren't refilling.

I turned on the sink, and sure enough, we had pressure problems. Now I can accept the consequences of my actions when I do something stupid, which is pretty much 99% of the time, but it's such a drag when you do everything right, and things still go wrong. We were very careful not to deplete the tank, and we still lost pressure.

The problem was, I'd forgotten how to re-prime it. I told the kids to wait in the car, and I went into the basement and fiddled with the toggle switch. I kept lifting it, and the tank would prime to about 20 psi, then fizzle out. This was not enough, we needed about 40-50 psi, but the darn thing wouldn't increase. I kept holding the lever, but you could see it wasn't rising. It has to get past a critical threshold before the pressure "grabs ahold" and fills the tank. I wasn't getting that.

And we had to leave. So I gave up and figured I'd do some research during the day to learn what to do, so I brought along my computer, foolishly thinking I'd have time to surf the web. I didn't, and came home empty handed. I did, however, manage to stress all day over how the heck we were going to restore the water pressure. And being the good husband that I am, I made sure R was aware of it, as well, thus ruining her pleasant day. Misery loves company, as they say.

When we got home, I took another long look at that darn toggle switch, but it just wasn't working, so I did what I normally do when the going gets tough - I called my Mentor. Of course, he was off fighting the Visigoths down in New Jersey, and couldn't be reached. I then called my karate teacher, who is knowledgeable in everything under the sun, except for maybe toggle switches on water tanks. His cousin, however, is a plumber, so he got on the horn and called him, and he (his cousin) in turn contacted me, but this was after I'd figured out how to fix it.

I shouldn't take all, if any, of the credit, because in desperation, I called the one person (actually, one of two) whom I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, could help me: SG, the former owner. Now it's awkward calling him, because this is his old house, and he wanted to buy it but somehow his ex (MG, the other person who could help me) wasn't going to let it happen. Under these circumstances, how do you ask house advice?

With a phone call, of course. It was late Friday night, and we weren't going to be able to get a plumber until Monday, which meant doing #2s in the woods for three days. Yikes! I called SG, apologizing profusely for bothering him on a Friday night, and for asking him about his former house the he really wanted to buy, but couldn't.

He was, as always, amazingly friendly and helpful, and the neurosis is completely self-inflicted, though I still think it's a bit awkward. As he started to explain to me what to do, it suddenly came back to me, and after letting up on the toggle a little, the pressure kicked in and voila! We had water pressure. I thanked SG for his help, and he was willing to come over and help. What a guy.

Best of all, we saved money by not calling a plumber, we didn't have to wait, and I could do something with my own two hands, a key attribute of a real man in training.

One more issue that we had to consider is that we were two days from leaving for the Bahamas. In warm weather, we could have just left the water problem, but without it, we had no heat, which could have been a disaster.

Either way, we're back in business, ready to take on the world. Until then, thanks for reading.

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