And then my radiator blew up

My roommate walked in the door the other night, and asked “Glass of rum?” and held up a quart. I said “What a coincidence, there’s another quart on the counter!’.  We concluded that with two quarts of rum we should at least have a drink.

I haven’t really been doing a lot of drinking lately, what with living in eastern Canada the winter puts a damper on some activities.  For example, I was supposed to go to a dance club event tonight at an art guild (could be super cool – and only $2 cover!) but there’s a blizzard going down right now.  So that’s probably cancelled.  We’re expecting 50cm of snow and up to 100km winds.

This is what it looks like outside right now.

This is what it looks like outside right now.  Notice the fence: the snow is already like 4 & 1/2 feet there.  More to come!

On the upside though, with all the recent snow I finally have a beer fridge.

This is what a Canadian beer fridge looks like.  Plus the little standing nook I dug out with a dustpan because I don't own a shovel.  In Canada.  Like an adult.

This is what a Canadian beer fridge looks like. Plus the little standing nook I dug out with a dustpan because I don’t own a shovel. In Canada. Like an adult.

Obviously, I didn’t take that last picture today.  Because there isn’t a blizzard outside in this picture.  This was over the weekend.

Wow I get off track fast, so – back to the other night.  You know when you’re in those conditions where life has been pretty tame and you have an unexpected drink and your brain goes ‘Ya! This stuff! I forgot how awesome it was! Let’s get drunk! It’ll be so fun!’.  Well, my brain did that. It was a bad idea to let me mix drinks in that state.  In a couple of hours, we went through a bottle and a half of rum.  Many laughs were had.

And this is where the real story starts – the next morning.  My roommate came into my room and woke me up much to early to inform me that our radiator was currently blowing up and spewing hot water everywhere.  And this is where my head was: I turned over, looked at her, processed this information, then rolled over to go back to sleep.  I might have said “you got this”.

She was like “NOPE!  I am not dealing with this by myself.  You have to get up.  Like, right now.”

Which was totally fair.  Had the tables been turned, I would not want to be dealing with it on my own.  I stood up, my legs felt shaky.  I was definitely not in top form.  I went out to the living room to see 20 million towels pushed up against the radiator doing nothing to stem the flood of steaming hot water rushing forward over the floor.  There was a small lake in the living room.  The radiator was making a hissing sound.  Not good.

I started scrolling through my contacts to find the building’s maintenance guy’s number.  It was at this point I decided I was definitely still a little bit drunk from the night before – and not the good kind – the stomach rolling kind.  I felt awful.  The thought ran through my brain ‘Is this really happening? Is this real life right now?’ and I started to giggle because of course it was.

I found the maintenance guy’s number and clicked it to dial.  “Now, act awake,” I told myself.  “Talk like you have a semblance of control over this situation.  Like you aren’t the most hungover person on earth right now.”

He said that he was on the other side of town, and would take about 15 minutes to get here.  And that he would need to call a plumber as this was slightly outside his scope as a handyman.

I hung up, and then called a plumber to see if there was anything I could do in the meantime.  I gave myself the same pep talk I previously had, before the call connected.  The ‘try not to let on that you are still a little drunk from the night before’ pep talk.  Here’s how that conversation went:

“Hi! My radiator is currently blowing up and there’s steaming hot water flooding my living room.  I’ve already called my building’s maintenance but he’s 15 minutes away and I’m wondering if there’s anything I could be doing in the meantime?  There’s an apartment below me, and she’s probably being flooded as well.  I’d like to minimize damage as much as possible.”

“Well, firstly, if you have any towels push them up against the rad to absorb the water.”

“Yup, that’s the first thing we did.  ALL of the towels we own are already completely soaked and currently are doing nothing to stem the flood of water.”

“Ok, there should be a valve near the end of that radiator or just underneath the end of it to turn it off.  Can you find that?”

So I drop to my knees, in about a half centimeter of water, and stick my hand under the rad.  Into steaming hot water. And feel around for a minute.

“Nope, I can’t find a valve.  The water is burning me pretty badly though.”  Then I laughed a little.

You know when you’re in an unfortunate situation that’s completely out of your control, and whatever you can do, you’re already doing it?  And there’s nothing left to do but laugh at the ridiculousness of it all?  That’s where my head was.

“Ok,” he said.  “Take a picture of your radiator and email it to me, I’ve got my email open right now.  If I can see what type it is, I might be able to direct you better.”

“Alright, one second,” I said.

This is the picture I sent him.  Note all the steam coming from the BOILING HOT water.  And all of the towels doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

This is the picture I sent him. Note all the steam coming from the BOILING HOT water. That I stuck my hand into. And all of the towels doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

“Ahhh – this kind of radiator doesn’t have a valve,” he said.

“That is excellent news,” I responded.  Because of course.  “So what’s the next step?”

“Well, you’d have to turn off the water to your apartment.  That’s most likely located in the basement.”

“Can you walk me through that?”

“Probably not.  Have you ever turned off water to an apartment before?”

“Nope, but I’m pretty sure I know where the basement is. And I’m real good at taking directions.” (more laughter from me – because I wasn’t exactly sure I knew where the basement was but pretty sure I could find it.  While that sounds easy, our apartment building is super complicated with three different entrances and about a million different doors.)

“Also, if you don’t know which switch is for your apartment, you’d have to turn off water to the entire building.”

“See.. I’m willing to do that.  The water will damage the hardwood floors, and god knows what’s happening in the apartment below me.  I think turning off water to the entire building is the lesser of two evils.”  Just then my maintenance guy walked in.

“Oh!  I’ve got to go, the maintenance guy is here.  Experts are here!  Thank you for all your assistance!”

“Good luck,” he said.  (He actually emailed later in the day to find out how it all turned out – very thoughtful!  We have lovely people here on our little Island.)

The maintenance guy said that the plumber was on the way, but he was going to go turn off the water to the entire building because he wasn’t sure which one was for our apartment either.  I felt very justified in my earlier reasoning.

The crowning glory was when the plumbers got there, removed the front of the radiator, and because the leak was on the top of the pipe, created an honest-to-god FOUNTAIN in the middle of our living room.  Water hit the ceiling.  Poured down on my couch.  The plumbers, taken by surprise, exclaimed “OH SHIT!”

It was too much.  My roommate and I broke down in uncontrollable fits of laughter.  We darted to remove the electronics and various things on the table being rained on.  It was over in about a minute, but we laughed about it for 10.  And it was infectious, because everyone else laughed along with us while they worked.  I overheard the plumber on the phone later saying that we were unbelievably good sports and were laughing about it.  Finally they got the water to stop and could set about cutting off and replacing the broken pipe, we got coffee for everyone and greasy fries for ourselves.

This has been, thus far, my most eventful and exciting hangover.

My disaster of a living room half-way through the morning.

My disaster of a living room half-way through the morning.  Still very steamy.  My apartment was like a sauna.  On the bright side: I had a home sauna for a few hours!

PS -As soon as it was over, we did a little clean-up and went back to bed.  We figured getting everything in order was tomorrow’s problem.

PPS – I have been getting some well-deserved scolding from friends and family about updating irregularly.  I am going to be posting once a week, every Friday, from now on.  That way you can know when to expect to hear from me!  And if you just stop by on a random basis, there will regularly be new content.



1 thought on “And then my radiator blew up

  1. Pingback: Toronto Trip – Part One | Stories from the far side of normal

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