My dining room may be fabulous but the plumbing sucks.

by Beth Anne on March 24, 2014

plumbing My dining room may be fabulous but the plumbing sucks.

Last night I helped Harrison out of the shower & turned off the water. (He was mad because he likes to turn off the water but you know, sometimes I forget & act on habit like all moms.) I toweled him off & the water kept trickling from the shower head because sometimes that happens for a few minutes when you own a 20-year-old house that was a misused rental for a decade.

But after teeth were brushed & jammies were put on & a fast book was read, Doug & I stood in our bathroom side-by-side staring at the shower. The water was still streaming, despite multiple attempts to shut the faucet off completely. I tend to get really stubborn when I can’t force an inanimate object to do exactly what I want, so while Doug turned off the water by the knob in the downstairs toy closet, I stayed upstairs still flipping the handle up & down, up & down to no avail.

For the first 20 minutes, we convinced ourselves it was water leftover in the pipes but at more than a trickle, leaving it be for the night was like watching dollar signs stream out of a 20-year-old faucet. Doug started getting the OMG-THIS-HOUSE crazy eyes that make him do insane things like rip fire alarms out of ceilings & remove all the mulch from our front flower beds.

The crazy eyes make me feel guilty because let’s be honest, it was me that fell so hard in love with this house. So I try to diffuse how he’s 2.5 seconds away from ripping the house apart board-by-board by finding a solution, which usually involves watching DIY YouTube tutorials.

“We need to turn off the water at the street!” I announced & Doug’s looking at me like, no shit, I said that 10 minutes ago. So there we were, throwing random items of clothes on top of our pajamas & trudging through our front yard at 10pm with flashlights & wrenches. It looked suspect at best. Doug popped open the little metal underground box that houses the water main thing & he gets the wrench on &…nothing. The darn thing doesn’t move, thanks to a complete lack of torque & 20 years of properly paid water bills.

After 5 minutes he’s like, “This isn’t working” & starts heading to the house to find another tool & I’m like THE HELL IT ISN’T. Like I said, I tend to get angry at inanimate objects. So I grab the wrench & it must be all that Body Pump I’ve been taking in the evenings, or maybe it was the stream of profanity that effortlessly fell from my lips in that moment, but the darn thing turned like a charm.

(note to self: send apology notes & a box of cookies to the neighbors.)

This morning we had no ability to flush toilets or make coffee, which briefly impacted my quality of life. We paid a plumber $125 to come look at the shower & sure enough, the handle & valves were so corroded that they couldn’t turn all the way & now the whole thing has to be replaced by going through a wall in the closet, starting tomorrow.

I know our house gives Doug the crazy eyes & I admit that sometimes I get the same twitchy feeling, but it’s ours & it’s where we’re building our life. Squatting in our front yard in mismatched pajamas, looking like fools, I realized that there’s still nobody else I’d rather be on this adventure with.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Maija March 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Funny my son likes to turn his own water off too. But I’m very thankful my husband is the one that fell hardest for our money pit :)

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Beth Anne March 25, 2014 at 11:25 am

There’s always one that falls harder. For me it was love at first site. For Doug, he’d like to live in a log cabin with a well instead of messing with this stuff!

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Jenn March 24, 2014 at 7:18 pm

This brings me right back to my “shit the water off at the street” story, only our was because our laundry room was literally FLOODING. Homeownership is so glamorous, right?

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Beth Anne March 25, 2014 at 11:24 am

WHAT. How did that happen?!

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Sarah C. March 24, 2014 at 8:25 pm

The joy of our crazy once unloved money pits. At least you knew how to cut it off and didn’t flood the entire house. I did that once. ;) When we had an issue with the kitchen faucet in our current house, I had the plumber check every valve and the main cut off downstairs to be sure they were all good. I knew at least one of the faucets in the master bathroom (now replaced) wasn’t going to last much longer and wanted assurance I could turn off the water to just that fixture.

Oh and the last sentence – melted my heart. Doug is a lucky man. :)

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Beth Anne March 25, 2014 at 11:23 am

Nah, I’m a lucky girl ;)

We’re going to go crazy one day over these houses. I’m eyeballing our other shower fixtures & trying to figure out if we should just have that pulled out & replaced, too.

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Kristen March 24, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Money pits! Can’t live with ‘em, would be living in a cardboard box without ‘em! Seriously though, I feel for you. Our kitchen ceiling is still leaking after 3 pricey roof repairs and sometimes I wish the place would mysteriously burn down, but i know someday we’ll laugh about all this. Right?? I love the photo accompanying this post, btw.

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Beth Anne March 25, 2014 at 11:20 am

What on earth with your roof & ceiling?? Do they know what’s causing it?

I keep saying we’re going to laugh one day. I keep reminding ourselves that we paid a significant amount less than our neighbors to put up with this madness. I keep thinking about the good school system. Because if I don’t, I swear I’ll curl in a fetal position in a corner.

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Heather March 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm

I’m a never-commenter, but just wanted to say I’m glad you’re back :)

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Beth Anne March 25, 2014 at 11:17 am

:) I’m glad you’re here.

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Heather @ Life as we know it... March 25, 2014 at 6:40 am

1) I’m going to number my comments because they are all so random 2) my kids want to cut me when I don’t let them turn off the shower, too 3) omg, the money pit, but so much love for it. 4) I was wondering a bit about the choice of clothes in your picture, I die laughing 5) Did you hurt Doug’s ego when you got the pipe to turn & he didn’t? 6) two blog posts in one week, way to make a comeback!

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Beth Anne March 25, 2014 at 11:17 am

1) Love it.
2) What the hell is with that? It’s like I kicked his favorite Transformer or something.
3) At least there’s no black mold? (I’m still vomming over Kimberly’s comment below!)
4) I don’t play. I was in my pajamas, makeup off, hair up, contacts out, & hoping for an early bedtime that night! I grabbed the first pair of yoga pants & jacket I could find.
5) I didn’t ;) Quite honestly, he loosened it for me & I had rage on my side.
6) RIGHT?! I even have a few more in drafts. It’s like a dam opens up.

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Kimberly March 25, 2014 at 6:50 am

Just burn it down.
Take the insurance money.
But make sure that you let Harrison light the match because you don’t want him to turn into an angry adult because not only did you not let him turn off the shower, you didn’t let him set the house on fire.
I’m kidding.
Older homes are such a pain. My sister is going through that with a house that had mold and the previous owners just painted over the black mold that was coming through the ceiling.

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Beth Anne March 25, 2014 at 11:15 am

BLACK MOLD? THEY PAINTED OVER BLACK MOLD?!

We keep reminding ourselves that the house is dry, solid construction. It could be so much worse. LIKE BLACK MOLD.

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Steffanie March 25, 2014 at 7:48 am

Our house is brand new. 1 week into ownership, of our first ever house, water came from a 2nd floor from a bathroom, through the floor/ceiling, and pooled in the foyer light; then exploded all over my brand new wood floors. 20 years or 1 week old, it’s all the same…sadly.

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Beth Anne March 25, 2014 at 11:14 am

I would CRY. I mean…at least I can blame the age? We were so spoiled with our hold house – it had zero problems & we only painted 2 rooms in the 5 years we lived there. Home ownership is so glamorous.

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Lauren March 25, 2014 at 9:32 am

So sorry to hear about your sucky plumbing, but also so happy to have you back writing here. We’ve missed you and your witty words!

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Beth Anne March 25, 2014 at 11:13 am

Thanks, Lauren :)

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TheNextMartha March 25, 2014 at 10:59 am

Is the “water off at the street” a southern thing? We have a house water main turn off inside our house, unless that leaks (which it has) and then YEAH! #GoHouses

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Beth Anne March 25, 2014 at 11:13 am

Hmmm, not sure? It’s something we have down here where that cuts off all water to the house – for instance, if you don’t pay your water bill, the city comes & locks it down. We do have a main inside our house but it’s an old twist valve that has trouble closing all the way, so some water still gets through. They make better valves for inside water mains now, but they’re about $350 to replace.

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Alanna March 26, 2014 at 9:26 am

I was going to say the same thing. All metered houses should have a shut off at the meter, which is where you turned yours off BA, unless well water, etc.

BUT you should also have a shutoff somewhere inside the house, where the water first comes to the house. Ours is in the garage and its MUCH easier to get to than the meter box in the yard. Your plumber should be able to show you where it is, for future reference!

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Beth Anne March 26, 2014 at 11:18 am

Yep!!

Our inside water main was so old that it would shut completely without risking breaking the knob, which is why it kept leaking even though we tried the valve inside the house. We ended up having that guy replaced yesterday, too. Now it’s a very easy, brand-new switch instead of a creaky old turning knob.

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Alanna March 26, 2014 at 4:06 pm

OMG – we still have the creaky “old” knob and now I want to go test them all to see if they work. Although I don’t really want to know if they don’t because then I’d have to fix them. I’ll be t you are buddies with your plumber now. :)

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Beth Anne March 26, 2014 at 8:11 pm

eeeeeeeeeeep. Our plumber did say that if we chose to keep the old knob, to make sure to NEVER turn it too far. Then you’ll snap the valve completely or snap the knob off.

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Jen March 25, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I do love reading your everyday (mis)adventures and I’m so glad you’re writing again! :) Keep it coming! (when you have a moment to spare). We had a plumber come out this weekend too. Our kitchen faucet had the same so-corroded-it-wouldn’t-turn-off issue. We also dropped $300 on a sewer line scope to learn we’ll eventually have to drop a few grand on changing out the line… le sigh. homeownership.

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molly March 25, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Fucking home ownership.

In an effort to make you feel better – we bought our house brand new and we have so many freaking problems. I’m so pissed about it. Ugh. My husband and I also stand there and just stare at the problem and then look back at each other like, WTF.

Gotta love adulthood. It’s so romantic ;)

p.s. YAY to blogging again!!!

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Beth Anne March 26, 2014 at 11:20 am

That actually does make me feel 1000 times better. I’m reading your comment to Doug ;)

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Samantha March 25, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Oh yeah…love home ownership *said with much sarcasm and eye rolling* I wanted a nice shower head in our master bathroom. so we take out the old crappy cheap-o one and replace it with a lovely adjustable rain maker one. only its too heavy for the wall behind the shower stall to support. i kid you not! we had to rip out the entire wall on the other side to access the plumbing to rework it with the proper supports that should have been there when the house was BUILT! I have my shower head, but my wall will never be the same **sigh** a few months later the hot water heater (in the master bedroom closet) starts leaking due to a HUGE bulge that was days away from bursting. problem? the hot water heater is too big to fit through the opening in the closet, which we found out was built around the hot water heater. so now the wall with the hole in it for the shower head fiasco is now COMPLETELY ripped out so we can take out and install a new hot water heater. talk about some water issues!

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Beth Anne March 26, 2014 at 11:20 am

I am about to faint reading this. OMG. That sounds like the kind of thing that would happen to our house – you think you’re going to do something relatively easy & pretty & WHAM! the house slaps you in the face. Is it all fixed now??

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christina March 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Just did this ourselves in our also 20 year old house. Note to you and Doug- prepare for it to be worse than you’ve planned.

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Beth Anne March 26, 2014 at 11:19 am

Yep. It bloooooooooows.

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Casey March 25, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Because we’ll laugh at these kinds of things years later, right?
RIGHT?!

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Beth Anne March 26, 2014 at 11:19 am

Yes? I mean, I hope so? Right? Maybe?

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Meredith @ La Buena Vida March 26, 2014 at 1:16 pm

How is it that plumbers are SO DAMN EXPENSIVE, and yet Justin makes so little?!!!! Haha :) It’s probably because he’s just a lowly apprentice instead of the real deal.

Also, us too on all the ridiculous house repairs. A contractor in town built this house* for himself*, so I cannot understand for the life of me how he did such a terrible job. We just had to replace all of our light fixtures because he apparently put the wrong wattage bulbs in all of them at one point and it melted the coating on the wires and they were arc-ing. It was awesome.

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Sarah March 26, 2014 at 3:07 pm

I’m doing that awkward half-laugh “heh, heh-heh” deal right now. We close on our first house on April 14th and while intellectually I know that disasters and repairs are inevitable, I’m choosing ignorant bliss for as long as I can!!!

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Beth Anne March 26, 2014 at 8:10 pm

CHOOSE BLISS.

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Andrea March 26, 2014 at 5:39 pm

I’m imagining you having that Tom Hanks moment from “Money Pit” when he is laughing manically when the clawfoot tub falls through the floor. Hopefully not, though.
We moved into our brand new house a few months ago and water was coming up from the basement floor, where the water line was, because the plumber who did the job didn’t do it correctly (something about the pipe needed to be perforated and it wasn’t, so it was bypassing the sump pump system altogether). The good thing was the construction supervisor was right next door at the time working on another house and made some angry phone calls on our behalf and it was fixed that day. We also found out that the plumber who had worked on that was since fired by the plumbing company.

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Beth Anne March 26, 2014 at 8:12 pm

WHOA. I’m glad he was fired!

We’re lucky in a way – at 20 years old, we’re pretty sure the house itself is solid :) ::knocks on wood:: It’s just these old fixtures that haven’t been maintained properly.

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Megan March 28, 2014 at 11:27 am

How did you get Harrison to start taking showers? For the life of me, I can’t get Ty (also 4 and a half) to even try it. He hates the water in his face!

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Beth Anne March 28, 2014 at 8:40 pm

I wish I had an answer for you! I used to take showers with him as an infant when he wouldn’t calm down – sometimes I would feed him in the shower because it was the only place he would stop screaming. We did baths up until we moved into our new house & we gave him the option of taking a bath in his bathroom or taking a shower in ours. He always picks our shower :)

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