Someone tried to steal our water pump from the lakeshore last week. We ran out of water on Thursday and I trekked down with the gas can to start the pump only to find that all the pieces of the outtake had been disassembled and, more distressingly, the plug on the bottom to drain the pump was missing.
Can't run a pump if it's draining water the whole time. Shit.
So I called for a water delivery. Defeat.
And then, this morning, A. announced we were low on water already, so no laundry or showering until he could get a new plug for the pump.
He thought he was just going to have to guess at the size, but then he remembered that the plug on the top of the pump that can be taken off to put in water for priming* is the exact same as the one on the bottom drain plug. So if I took off the top one and brought it to the hardware store, maybe the man there could find a piece of plumbing hardware to substitute for the missing plug.
And here's where we sing the praises of Small Town Living.
I stopped at the lakeshore on the way to drop off Cubby and Charlie at school and took off the piece I needed. After dropping off Cubby and Charlie at their respective schools, I brought the piece to the tiny hardware store in the tiny village and handed it over to Ted, the hardware man.
Yes, that is is real, actual name.
He found a substitute for me and rang it up. It was two dollars. I had exactly $1.45 in my wallet. He said that was enough and sent me on my way.
Blessings on Ted the hardware man.
I drove right down to the beach and left Jack in his carseat while I trekked to the pump. Thanks to an enormous cottonwood branch that has fallen between the road and the lakeshore, this requires bushwhacking through the brush--thereby getting covered in weed seeds--and then literally climbing over the fallen limb.
That accomplished, I plugged the bottom part, deciding that I should use the old plastic piece from the top, because it screws in tighter than the metal replacement and wouldn't there be more pressure on the bottom hole?
Spoiler alert: I was wrong.
So plastic piece on the bottom, water poured in the top for priming, new metal piece on the top, engine on, choke adjusted, pull the cord, and HOORAY! It's running. Except the hole in the top with the new metal piece was bubbling alarmingly, obviously not very tightly plugged.
But there was water coming out of the pump (as evidenced by the dripping where the outtake is connected), so I crawled over the tree, through the brush, back to the car (and an unhappy Jack still in his carseat) drove up to the house and checked the pipe to the cistern.
Back in the car, back to the lakeshore, back over the tree, through the brush. Turn off the pump, take off the top metal piece and the bottom plastic piece to switch them. Get the top piece on and realize there is actually quite a lot of water still draining out of that hole from the pipe. But I really couldn't wait on it to drain all the way (Jack in the carseat, you know), so I shoved the metal piece on and screwed it in, thereby spraying myself continuously with fountains of water.
Like one of those fun splash pads! Except not fun!
After thoroughly soaking myself but eventually managing to get the plug screwed in, I turned the engine back on, switched on the choke, and pulled the cord. It didn't start. I tried again. Nothing. Again again again . . . and then I realized, oh right. The engine was just running a minute ago. I don't need the choke. So I turned it off and the engine started on the first pull.
Okay! Over the tree and through the woods to the minivan (and a really pissed-off Jack) we go!
I had no great hope this minor adjustment would have done any good, and I was ready to turn right around and go back to the beach to turn off the pump in defeat. But what's this I hear? Is that . . . water rushing into the cistern?
Yes! Glory, glory, alleluia!
Except instead of saying something appropriately pious, I raised my arms in victory and said, "YES. IT'S A FUCKING MIRACLE."
I can be profane in times of great emotion.
That was twenty minutes ago. The water is still flowing into the cistern. I declare victory. Let's just hope the delinquents who tried to steal the pump in the first place don't come back.
* Priming means getting some water into the pump and pipes so there's enough to get the pressure going for pumping. At least, I think that's why you have to prime it. Something about replacing the air in the pipes with the liquid to be pumped. I don't know. I'm obviously no expert.