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Don’t Ignore the FFFFFFT Sound!

First of all, a disclaimer. Yes, I know today is Saturday. Yes, I know I’m posting about something that happened much earlier in the week, but it took me this long to be able to laugh about it, so you’ll have to deal. Trust me, if you were in my shoes, you may not be laughing yet.

Last Sunday, I was exhausted. I have two kids, ages 2 1/2 and 4. Not surprisingly, they keep me busy and have pretty much removed me from the social scene. Ten pm is now a late bedtime for me. Buuuuut Friday night was my seasonal girls night out in the city, which means chick drinks, good food, and a late night train ride home — South Water Kitchen this time around, for anyone who cares. And on Saturday, a good friend turned 40 and had a birthday bash. I couldn’t not go, could I? Such as it was, Sunday was not my best day.

I dragged myself to the fridge to refill my bottle of water and noticed a fffffft sound. I thought it odd that the icemaker was running as I didn’t remember anyone using much ice lately, but who am I to judge? Somewhere in the back of my mind, I made a mental note that I should really investigate the noise. Of course, that mental note stayed in the back of my mind as I proceeded to go about my night and trotted up to bed.

On Monday, I had the luxury of working from home. Briefly: I work three days a week at a large finance company as essentially the internal strategic consultant in the marketing area. I usually go into the office only one day a week and work from home the rest of the time. It’s a sweet gig, and I’m grateful for it. I really like what I do, and it’s challenging.

Redux: On Monday, I had the luxury of working from home. In the quiet of the house — yep, I’m the only one home on Mondays and Thursdays unless you count the cats — I noticed that the fffffft noise continued. Hmmm. So of course, me being me, I kept working and waited for it to go away. No, I do not come from a family of handy people in case you’re wondering.

Around lunchtime, I headed to the fridge to grab something and realized that the ffffft noise was not coming from the freezer. In fact, it was not coming from the fridge. Inside or outside. It was coming from behind the fridge. The next five minutes were spent with me pulling various parts of the fridge trying to pull it out of its lovely built-in cabinet. I knew there had to be a way — no way do people clean behind the fridge (or so I’ve heard) or install them without some sort of rolling capability. For those who need to know, if you get good leverage all the way near the bottom of the fridge while holding onto the sides of the monstrosity, you can heave side to side and eventually pull it out.

I got it far enough out to now look at the back of the fridge and see the it’s covered in water droplets up about four feet. My mind immediately tries to figure out what on earth could make the fridge sweat but only up to four feet. I touched it, and it felt warm, which didn’t make sense if the fridge was sweating. As my mind tried to wrap itself around this conundrum, I realized I could still hear the fffffft noise, but that it was coming from the wall where the fridge had been. I peered into the cabinet and saw some white thing spraying water.

Here’s where I start getting really proud of myself. I did not swear during this entire incident. Not once. Not even in my head, although I’ll admit that “oh, crap!” doesn’t count as swearing in my universe.

I detached the white thing from its handy dandy holder and peered at it. That’s when it decided to separate from the copper cable it was connected to and shart shooting water at me. The good news, is that the fffffft noise had now stopped. I wasn’t too fond of the noise that replaced it.

Logical person that I am, I decide to use my thumb to try to stop the stream of water. Not surprisingly, that didn’t work. Next thought was to find a bucket to catch some of the water. I’ll admit that I have yet to figure out where my nice blue bucket is, but I can guarantee you that, although I have many many things under my sink, a bucket is not among them. Fortunately, I’d used my brand new crockpot the night before, and DH had washed it but as usual not put away the item he’d washed. I grabbed that and stuck the white thing into it.

I ran into the basement to find the water shutoff valve. See, my brain functions in a crisis. A little. A very little. This is what I saw, as I ran into the basement.

I looked in the room with the furnace, but couldn’t find anything that looked like it. As I’m going upstairs to run outside because I swear the housing inspector told me where it was on the side of the house in case I ever needed to turn off the water (apparently, he knows my type?), I whipped out the cell phone to call my dad. Gotta love Dad! Especially Dad who lives 15 minutes away. And had an idea of where to look for the water shutoff.

In the basement bedroom, in the unfinished closet, behind the cat carriers, I found the shutoff valve. DH has taught me “lefty loosey, righty tighty.” But ummm is turning off water tightening or loosening? I turned while thinking, then changed my mind and turned the other way. Then changed my mind again and turned the first way and kept turning and turning. And turning. Finally, it seemed to be all the way off. Or on, maybe. I ran upstairs to check on my gushing water, and it was down to a trickle.

Dad arrived (yay, Dad!) as I was using my towels to try to sop up some of the water. He suggested using my ShopVac. Ok, not my ShopVac, but I did buy it for DH for Christmas this year after three years of it being on his list. Duh! I also remembered that I had a Bissell steamer in the unfinished closet that would likely suck up some water. Needless to say, we spent the next couple of hours vacuuming and cleaning and throwing away ceiling tiles. And finding the fans that had been put away at the end of the summer into their boxes and stored in the closet where they belong left in my kids’ rooms next to their dressers that I somehow never saw even though I walk past them 30 times a day.

This is not how I’d anticipated spending my Monday. Not really how I’d wanted to spend it either. The silver lining is that the water damage guy that I managed to come out to tell me how bad it would be actually reassured me. It wasn’t that bad! I’m not sure how, but he didn’t see the need for his services at all. He didn’t even charge me for the visit! Apparently, I can still play the poor, pathetic, helpless female to some degree, although I wasn’t doing it on purpose here! The better news was that somehow, the water damage was confined to the small part of the basement ceiling that is a drop ceiling and did not touch the drywall ceiling. The tile that broke by itself from the water is literally next to where the drywall ceiling starts, but by some miracle, the drywall was not damaged in the least. I may not be handy, but I do know that dryawall ceilings can’t be easy cheap to fix.

The kicker? The next day, and I couldn’t make this up if I tried, in the mail was a postcard from Sears. In my defense, we bought the house with fairly new appliances in it, so I wasn’t aware of what did or didn’t need to be done with the fridge in terms of maintenance. But since we had an issue with our dryer last fall, apparently Sears figured out that we now own all the appliances in our house and transferred those records from the previous owners to us. Why is this relevant? They were sending me a reminder to change the water filter on my fridge. Three guesses what the white thing on the back of the fridge was.

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  1. Ronnica says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun! Haha. I’m glad that you didn’t have more water damage, I know how destructive it can be. We had a small fire a year ago, and the water from the sprinklers ruined a lot.

  2. Alyce says:

    How funny! But I could see how it wouldn’t be at the time.

    We had something similar happen over a year ago, but it was a faulty (cheap) seal that the builder used on the water thing behind the fridge. So when we were out of the house on the hottest day of the year (over 100 degrees) it burst.

    Thankfully we got home soon after and only had to replace the linoleum. The unfortunate part was that we had to run heaters and fans to dry out the mess. Heaters on a 100+ day. It was awful!

    I’m glad things worked out for you. I’m here from BPOTW.

  3. momma says:

    found you on bpotw. i thought this was so funny. thank you for sharing it!! my husband and i are NOT handy people either and like you, i call my dad when i need help. however, my dad is 8 hours away. but in true dad spirit – he always knows the answer!!

  4. BPOTW says:

    All of that from a water filter!?!? You had some quick reactions during that crisis! I believe I would have stood there rocking and sucking my thumb…

    Thanks for sharing your post on Best Posts of the Year!

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