Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spelunking In the Dining Room

There was a big hole in our dining area yesterday.

It all started on Monday.

I got up early ~ 6:30 AM ~ and went to take Emi outside for a walk. When we came in and I went to feed her, I noticed that the 2 towels that were on the kitchen were soaking wet.


My first suspicion was that the kids used the dishwasher late at night and had put in the regular dishwashing liquid instead of the automatic dishwashing liquid. But when I opened up the dishwasher, expecting to find suds, all I saw were dirty dishes and food stains in the machine.

Really odd indeed.

But I didn't have time to think any more about that because I had to quickly take a shower and bring Ariana for an 8:00 o'clock doctor's appointment.

I got in the shower and went to turn the water on, and only cold water came out. But I figured that because it was early morning and people were getting ready for work that perhaps this was due to the extra demand on hot water.

I still had not connected the wet towels on the kitchen floor to the lack of hot water in my shower.

But once again I did not have time to think about it because I had to be out the door with Ariana to take her to the doctor and then run a few errands before my job interview at 10:30.

However, the pieces started falling together after we got back and when I went to wash my hands. I noticed that there was no water coming out of the hot water faucet. I tried all the sinks; it was the same story. No hot water.

So I went down to the leasing office to report the situation.

What happened was that in the middle of the night, the hot water pipe broken, and the hot water supply had to be shut off at 1:00 AM.

The leasing office asked if my carpet was wet. I was pretty sure that it wasn't. But then I could not be too sure because I had a lot of stuff piled on the floor in that area.

So I went back to check and see if the carpet was wet. Sure enough it was soaked. And back to the leasing office to report that. They were going to send someone over to check on it.

After I got back from my interview, Neil said that some workers were over with an acoustic water leak detector. The leak originated from our apartment, more specifically from 6 feet under our dining room floor.

The plumbers were going to be here the next morning to dig a hole in our dining area.

The plumbers showed up first thing Tuesday morning. I had already been up since 4:30 (because I had to bring Neil to the airport for an early morning flight to Houston), so I had plenty of time to clear the stuff out of the proposed digging area. And boy, was the stuff sitting directly on the carpet ever soaked!

Before they could start any digging,
David and Ruben put up plastic sheeting around the digging area. (You can't see Ruben that well because he's behind the plastic curtain.)

I asked them if it was OK to take pictures of them, and they said, "Sure." (They were used to having pictures taken of the work site because of insurance claims.) I told them that my family and friends back in Massachusetts would never believe that I had to have a hole dug right inside my apartment, in my dining area. I needed pix to prove that I wasn't making it up.

Here was the start of the hole.

At knee-deep, David was just getting started in getting the hole dug.

It was really slow work. But progress was being made. All the dirt that was coming out was being loaded into a wheelbarrow and then dumped outside.

Digging was hard work. And with the plastic sheeting around the digging area, it was like working in a greenhouse.

David announced that the hole was big so that I could come and take a picture of it.

David sure looked like he needed a break.

And believe it or not, there was still more digging to be done.

David realized that the leak was not in the area where the acoustic water leak detection equipment said it was.

The hole had to be made wider.
In fact, David and Ruben were going to have to take the jack hammer again to break up more concrete to the right of the hole that David dug.

Emi definitely did not like that. She kept barking all through the loud rattling of the jack hammer.

(And when it was quiet, Callee-Kitten kept serenading us with her non-stop meowing because she did not like being locked up in the bathroom all day. But it was that or risk having her run out the door that was being constantly opened with the passing of the wheelbarrow and workers that were coming and going all day long.)

The newly enlarged hole was big enough to bury a body.

There's the pipe, but the leak was still further to the right.

In fact, the leak was at an area that was under the concrete. I could see the water coming out of the pipe. David have to get down on all fours and crawl into the space where the water was coming out so that he could repair the leak. He was so covered with mud that if he had been a pig he would have been happy.

After a full day of digging and repairing the broken pipe, the hole was finally filled back in with all the dirt that Ruben carted out.

See that arrow? The leak was some 4 feet to the right of it, pretty much under the wall outlet.

This morning David and Ruben came back to pour the cement.

Emi thought it would be a good idea to trot through the wet cement.

And I thought that it would be a good idea to inscribe a couple of prayers. This one is "Blessed is the Spot," a Bahá'í prayer by Bahá'u'lláh, which I thought was appropriate for our new home.

And the other one is the "Remover of Difficulties," by the Báb.
It is a prayer that I say at least 9 times a day.

Rather neat ~ having prayers permanently inscribed in the foundation of our home. This space will continue to be blessed long after we're gone.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Becoming a Texan

Today I "officially" became a Texan.

That involved getting my car registered, which was a long, complicated, and expensive process. Once that was done, I took all my official paperwork and went down to the Department of Public Safety to get my Massachusetts driver's license transferred over to a Texas license.

(I made sure to put on make-up and fix my hair up nice today! LOL)

It'll take up to 60 days before my permanent license comes in. And I can't wait to see what it'll look like. Hopefully the permanent copy will have corrected the errors that are on the temporary paper license, such as my having brown eyes and not having any restrictions. (For the record, I have green eyes and have to wear corrective lenses.)

Now my car no longer has those conspicuous Massachusetts license plates on it. In fact, after bringing Emi back from her walk, I did not recognize my car, sitting in front of the apartment, with its new Texas tags.

OK, so now I am a Texan.

But I am still waiting for this place to feel like home.

Sure, I like it here. The people are incredibly nice and polite. I have never seen people go that far out of their way to help a stranger. And the driving is much, much easier here, despite the wide 6 to 8-lane roads.

But I still need to seriously tame the major chaos in this tiny apartment and get it looking more like home.

Yesterday I brought the 5th car-load of stuff down to the self-storage unit. (All the way there I was praying that I would not get stopped because there was no visibility out my back window.) That's more space freed up in the apartment. But it's still not enough space for me to be able to easily organize and put away stuff.

Maybe it'll be something like this: I'll wake up one morning and realize that this is indeed home.

But for now Lubbock is a place with nice and friendly people and this apartment is a roof over our heads that does not leak whenever it rains.