I was folding laundry when I heard the sound of liquid hitting carpet.
I looked around for my daughter, sure that she was marking the floor of her new home with a potty training accident, but she was not the source of the unwelcome sound.
I walked into the unfurnished dining room looking for my dog as the second suspect, but he was not around. I heard the sound again and saw the puddle forming. Ten seconds later, another stream of water fell from the a/c vent above and splattered at my feet. I grabbed a towel and started drying the carpet. I looked up again, relieved to see there was no visible water damage to the ceiling. Once the puddle was managed I pulled a pot from the kitchen cabinet and placed it under the waterfall and over the wet spot. Then quickly replaced that pot with a mop bucket.
Then I called my husband.
“Ummm, we have a problem, sweetie.”
In Texas, a problem with your a/c in August qualifies as an emergency.
Airco was scheduled to come out Thursday (today, I started writing this Tuesday) to repair damage to the a/c unit noted in the inspection. Thursday would not be soon enough.
It was 4:30 in the afternoon on probably the hottest day of the year so far, and I was completely unwilling to turn the air off.
So I climbed up into our brand new attic.
My excitement at having an attic space that is accessible, and that I could walk in was overshadowed by the smothering heat, and not knowing where the light switch might be.
I fumbled around talking to my husband on the phone, found the switch, then climbed all the way into the attic to the a/c unit and stared at it uselessly.
“Okay, what do you see?”
“I see a big metal box with insulation around it. Oh, here are the extra tile samples. Pretty. And there is a Budweiser can here next to some pamphlets about God. And a hair straightener. That is so weird. Why would they leave those three things in a pile up here?”
“Focus, please. The air conditioner.”
“Sheesh, okay. What the fuck do I know about air conditioners? Nothing. The pan underneath is full of water. It’s spilling out over the back and is obviously the source of the leak. The pan doesn’t look level. I don’t know how to get around to the back of this unit without falling through the ceiling.”
“Can you see a drain anywhere?”
“No. There is a pipe on the front of the pan that looks like a dirty butt plug. It doesn’t lead anywhere, and nothing is attached to it. Crap, it is hot up here. Is this what hell is like?”
“Probably. Okay, I’ll call Airco.”
From there, we decided that I would put our daughter in her crib and go back in the attic to bail out the drain pan with a cup and pitcher.
I climbed back up the rickety ladder into the fifth circle of hell and started removing excess water one dirty scoop full of water and insulation floaters at a time.
I walked five pitchers of water down the attic ladder without falling or breaking any bones (no small feat for me), and without dying from heat stroke. I was drenched and light-headed, my face an unbecoming shade of tomato red, and even the tops of my feet were sweating. This is not good when you’re wearing a pair of dollar Old Navy flip-flops.
I’ve only had sweat pouring from the top of my feet in a Bikram studio, and apparently, my attic can double as a hot yoga studio or sweat lodge.
My frantic water bailing stopped the leak, and I diligently checked for more accumulation each hour until Airco arrived yesterday morning. They will have to come out again to finish the job, but they were able to fix the drain lines yesterday. However, when we checked last night, there was still water accumulating in the pan, which is awesome (It is not awesome).
Not my favorite experience, but honestly, I would have sucked all of that nasty water out of the pan with a straw if would have prevented the ceiling from falling in a soggy mess into the dining room.
So, yay, we’ve moved!
For the most part, we love the new place, and we’re still trying to get settled in.
We’re still dealing with a few other “Money Pit-esque” problems as they come up with the help of a steady stream of professionals who actually know how to fix things.
I do not possess any of these essential home ownership/repair skills even though I watch a lot of HGTV, but I’m trying to learn some things as we go.
So far I’ve learned:
- The attic light switch is conveniently located directly in front of the top of the access ladder. Turn it off before you descend, or you will have to climb back up. Every time.
- I could efficiently bail water from a sinking boat with a plastic Rudy’s cup if necessary (Rudy’s is a BBQ place here and most of our drinkware comes from them).
- The attic is very, very hot in August.
- The previous owners lived here for 12 years without a ceiling fan in the living room. We can last exactly two days without a ceiling fan in our living room.
The new backyard comes with rattlesnakes and the yard needed to be treated for them. I didn’t know snake spray was a thing. Now I know.
- Put clothes on or buy bigger towels before running from the shower to check on your screaming daughter, especially if there are people coming and going from your house. Rescuing a grape from the dog seemed like an emergency at the time–for her. The handyman, who saw me in a tiny towel before running quickly from the scene, and I disagree on the toddler definition of emergency. But at least that will make every minute of conversation between us really awkward for the next couple of weeks.
Other than water falling on carpet, what is your least favorite sound to hear in your home?