Friday, January 12, 2007

Adventures in Housework

Yesterday was another harrowing adventure into housework, though this one had a decidedly Irish bent to it. In Los Angeles, people don't need their central heating systems very often - maybe 30 or 40 days a year or so. Here, you will turn into a bloggercicle if you don't rush from bed to heat switch in the morning and flick on the radiators.

Yes, I just typed radiators. You haven't transported back in time to 1944. Its Ireland. One of the little quirks about radiators (at least the ones I have) is bleeding them. To bleed a radiator you take a little key and twist it in a little hole at the side. air escapes and hot water fills the radiator to warm the room. Simple!


Yesterday I went to bleed the radiator upstairs. Everything was going swell: radiator key, check. air escaping, check. water filling radiator, check. Then the water got to the top. I twisted the key and nothing happened. a little water trickled out and ran down the side of the radiator. I gave the key a little more elbow. Nothing. Water began to flow a little more aggressively out of the hole and it was steaming. I jammed the key in and twisted with all my might. Nothing. Hot water began to SHOOT out of the little hole in the side of the radiator and into the rich brocade curtain tied by the window. I ran for a towel.

So I tried to stuff a piece of the towel into the hole to quell the flow of molten water. No luck. Then I thought "Why don't I try turning off the heat?" and ran down to the master control switch. I jammed the switch to the off position and jammed back upstairs. The towel I had covered the hole with was now soaked and dripping into a growing dark puddle on the carpet. I looked underneath...

it was a still Lilliputian fire hose. The window had steamed up and I was wondering if I should think about summoning the fire brigade (thats really what they call it here!) I noticed that there was a valve at the lower end of the radiator. Aha! I could shut the water off! I dove for the valve. Turn turn turn turn turn turn... NOTHING! I began to weep desperately and swear as many swears as I could think of as my desperate eyes searched for something that might tame the hydro-hell I was entangled in. (I realize my prose in this paragraph has crossed the line of good taste and writing, but at least you got a Swift reference)

My gaze settled on a little white speck on the floor (I wasn't wearing my contacts or glasses) what the heck... It was the screw that plugged the valve! I grabbed it and wrapped a towel around my hand and shoved it into the gush. It worked.

So I had a big mess to clean up. Somehow I managed it without injury to me, my children, my home or my psyche.


Mark said...

Wow, that was exciting! All kinds of drama. Reminds me of when several thousand ants poured out of my mug last week, freaking me out.

Deborah said...

After reading this post and having visited your abode before, I feel like a towel should be on the ready in every room. I am glad that you came out of the radiator geyser experience alive and well.

Ronin said...

You can learn interesting things from PBS. Such as! An episode of The 1900 House I learned that the primary cause of youth death in Victorian England was boiler and radiator related accidents.

Fortunately, the British realized that those naughty boilers and radiators were very dangerous, and they shipped them all to Ireland.

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