Every parent gets at least one minor adventure with plumbing — a golf ball or other object flushed down inappropriately.  BB and LB, however, have decided that such plebian plumbing pastimes do not fully express their appetite for destruction.

Initially, they explored the ordinary mis-flushing opportunities.  Not content with plugging up merely the toilet, they decided to go for the gold, to plug up the sump pump that moves the excresences of the basement toilet up to the street-level sewage line.  Not only did they manage to plug up the pump, they plugged it so bad that we had several inches of fetid sewagey water sitting in one unfinished corner of our basement.  Pleasant, no?  Many baby items I’d planned to pass onto expectant friends were fatally damaged in the deluge.  The bright side was that they didn’t actually break the sump pump so when we wrote the check to roto-rooter for $300 we felt happy it wasn’t $800.

For their next act, they struck during a brief lull in winter weather last year.  During a freezing few days, mr. jolt and I suddenly noticed a severe dip in our water pressure, particularly in our shower.*  We called the water company, which came to inspect, but couldn’t find the problem because the pipe leading into the house was buried in snow.  The next day, while picking up toys in the living room, I heard a faint gushing sound outside.  I glanced out the window and  saw that our outside faucet was on, full force.   Turns out that during the brief thaw, one of the boys turned on two of our outside spigots full force, which then spewed water for over 48 hours.  That months’ water bill: $300.  For February.

This evening, I was down in the basement looking for something** when water from our other sump pump, which pumps out ground water underneath the house,*** started spraying madly all over a corner of the basement, sending me shrieking upstairs.  I figured that maybe the end of the sump pump pipe, which merely pours the water out next to our back patio had frozen over.  I should have known better; it was not that simple.  One of the dynamic duo had placed a bucket under the end of the pipe so that over the course of several days as water was pumped up and froze, an entire bucket of water froze up over the end of the pipe.  The resulting pressure busted the pipe connections in the basement between the pump and the outflow pipe, resulting in my impromptu basement shower.  Do you know how many pitchers of steaming hot water it takes to melt a bucket of ice?  I do-yippee!   We’ve patched together pump and pipe with duct tape until a plumber can get here.

Stay tuned for future adventures in plumbing . . .

*Our shower on its best days is a tiny spigot in a too big space that never steams up.

**What I was looking for in the basement was something to repair other destruction in the house, which could easily be the subject of another half dozen blog posts.

***We’re on top of a hill – how on earth is there groundwater underneath the top of the hill?  I’m wondering if we’re on top of a natural spring?