I was originally going to title this post, LUCKY, because that's how I feel, but then I told this story to a couple of people who were all, "OH MY GOODNESS THAT'S AWFUL!" and I realized that BEING LUCKY was only half the story - FEELING LUCKY is the other.
Here's how it went down.
Last night at ten my husband went to bed. He came into my office like he does every night and kissed me goodnight. And, like I do every night, I said, "I won't be long."
And, like he does, every night, he said, "Sure."
And like I do every night, 2 hours later, I went to bed.
I brushed my teeth with warm water because my teeth are getting sensitive - which is not fun.
And I crawled into bed wearing yoga pants, socks, a t-shirt and a fleece because it takes me a long time to get comfy-cozy.
I crawled into bed and heard a couple of strange noises. "Ugh, there's a bat in the house again." I thought and waited for the noise again. It never came so I snuggled down and slept.
Two hours later, at 1:48am my husband got out of bed to go to the bathroom. I don't normally wake up when he gets up but I had just been awakened myself by a HUGE BANG that sounded like an explosion.
The story of Elizabeth Smart haunts me so I said, "Check the kids. I heard a noise. Make sure they are in their beds."
By this time I was very warm and toasty in my bed - overly so - so I threw off the covers.
My husband came back from checking to tell me that all was well - the noise I'd heard was a book falling off my son's top bunk. He walked into the bathroom.
I rolled over but quickly got cold. I snuggled back under the covers. I considered taking off my fleece. I considered getting up to go to the bathroom. I was still unsettled by the noise I'd heard.
When my husband came out of the bathroom I was still awake. "May as well," I thought and got up to go to the bathroom. When I tried to wash my hands, no water came out.
I was half asleep so I walked into the kids bathroom. No water came out.
"Honey, there's no water." I said. In my sleep induced haze I was thinking that it was a lingering effect from Hurricane Sandy - even though we hadn't lost water.
My husband was quicker on the uptake. "FUCK!" he yelled and ran to the basement which was quickly filling with water.
Luckily the main valve is easily accessible and we know where it is.
He shut the water off and went to the small utility room that houses our hot water heater and furnace. There was an inche and a half of water on the floor - water that was quickly seeping out of the room and into the finished playroom. There was a half an inch of water spreading across the carpet.
We quickly figured out what had happened. The solder joint that connected the inlet pipe to our hot water heater had failed. The pipe had disconnected from the top of the hot water heater and was pouring water into the utility room through a 1" pipe at full pressure.
The noise I heard had to have been the joint letting go - even though it was two stories below us - because there was only about a bathtub worth of water in the basement - exactly what you'd expect from 3-5 minutes of running the tub at full blast.
We turned off the water to the hot water heater and reopened the main.
By 2am we had grabbed the shopvac and were working to remove all of the standing water. We managed to throw about 50 gallons of water out the back door.
We pulled up the rugs, vaccumed the standing water, turned on the dehumidifer, verified that the pilot lights for the hot water heater and the furnace were both still on and then we were back in bed by 3am.
At 4am the heat came on and when I heard the water flowing through the baseboards I leapt 6 feet into the air, screamed, "WATER!" at the top of my lungs and RACED to the basement to turn off the main. My husband was right on my heels.
We looked at each other and then froze. We had CLEARLY heard the sound of liquid moving through the walls but there was no water falling from the skies. We decided it MUST be the baseboard heat - but just to be sure we shut the watermain back off and went to bed.
At 6:30 the kids got up and we started yelling, "Don't flush, don't flush."
They were disappointed to have missed the excitement.
Luckily we have good neighbors. My neighbor, the plumbing contractor, sent two guys over before 8:30 to fix the hot water heater. My other neighbor owns a restoration company and there are two people in my basement getting the water out of the carpet. Good news! Neither the carpet, nor the padding nor the wall board needs to be replaced!
Seriously, we are so damn lucky. If I hadn't heard the noise, or had ignored it, the water would have ruined my entire basement - not to mention what if the gas pilots had gone out and the basement had filled with gas.
Even if the only thing that happened is that we had no heat... it was 17 degrees last night.
Yeah, something annoying happened but in the grand scheme of things it was so much LESS than what could have happened... so much less than what is happening to people up and down the East Coast... so little more than an inconvenience that I'm choosing to focus on how lucky we were.