Friday turned out to be a day. The problems with our water were increasing and Man finally agreed to call the plumber. Mid morning he called. I thought he was calling to say when the plumber was coming. He called to say he had changed his mind. We didn’t need a plumber. He knew what the problem was. The solution was for me to crawl under the house through the dark freezing two and half foot crawl space that separates the bottom of the house from the dirt. When I found the pipes, I was to blow a hair dryer at them until they thawed. I said I was vacuuming and needed time to process that information. Then I hung up.
Half an hour later, with boy two in tow, I headed for the crawl space. The 3×2 hole that allows entrance to the crawl space is in a utility closet used for hot water tanks, electrical panels, and Man’s man like belongings. I note that it took twenty minutes to move enough things to get to the hole. Working flashlights with useful beam strength were AWOL. We unplugged a fancy brass lamp and brought it to the edge of the hole and stuffed paltry baby flashlights in our pockets.
Welcome, said the dead mouse in the dim light from the trap below.
I removed the mouse with as much authority as one has lying on one’s stomach reaching down into a dark hole. By this time I knew that I would not be going down there. It looked smaller every time I looked in.
Now, boy two, get down into the hole, I said returning from disposing of the mouse.
Me? said boy two. Do I have to go first?
Not just first, I thought.
Yes, I said.
But mom . . .
It’s not a big deal. It’ll seem more roomy once you’re down there. You’re small. It’s perfect.
But it’s dark, said boy two.
I can only lower the lamp down properly once you’re in the hole, I said. It is dark because you are still standing here looking.
Boy two climbed in. He looked safe enough. The best thing would definitely be to just talk him through it. Besides, he’d feel good about himself afterwards.
Mom, it’s wet down here.
Don’t worry about it, just start crawling. Dad say’s it’s really easy.
No, like there’s two or three inches of water down here.
I peered closer.
Son, we are saved. Get out of the hole. We’re calling the plumber.
Epilogue: broken pipe, broken leaking sewage drain, unbroken but frozen pipe, frozen tub drain. Plumber was remarkably gracious about lying in our cold sewer water yelling for me to hand him things. Man is working to remove reasons for our house to smell like there is stagnant sewer water two feet under the house. I continue to provide helpful suggestions as to what to try next.
We may be burning down the house. If so, I’ll post pictures.