We were in Delaware again last week. And yes, I drove again. I'm getting pretty good at this stuff! Last week, though, we were there to do a really ugly job. Last year we discovered a leak under the kitchen sink and Jerry fixed that. Unfortunately, there are NO shutoff valves in the trailer! NONE! So, one by one everything that has to do with water is getting a shutoff valve put on it. We were actually awakened one night last December by a loud pop and then the sound of cascading water. I jumped out of bed and discovered that a pipe under the bathroom sink in our room had burst and was spraying water all over. Because there was NO SHUTOFF VALVE!!!!! I ran outside with a flashlight, had to take the access panel off of the skirting under the trailer and reach into the web-infested space under the trailer and turn the main water valve off. Unfortunately, we have had to do that a few times over the last year while we fixed one leak or another. Jerry's mom mentioned hearing about a polybutylene pipe recall a while back and so we looked into it. Lo and behold, guess what the trailer plumbing consists of? Yep - polybutylene pipes. There was a class action settlement in which if your trailer was manufactured between certain years, had polybutylene plumbing, and had experienced sudden leaks (we met ALL the criteria!), all of your plumbing would be replaced courtesy of Shell Oil. We looked into filing a claim and found out that the deadline for filing was 2005. We were a tad upset!
Anyway, with the kitchen and the bathroom sink repaired, we figured we'd be okay at least for a while! We knew that the wood underneath the kitchen sink needed to be repaired but Jerry figured he'd get to it when he had the time (which he does not have a lot of these days!).
Last winter I noticed that our bedroom got pretty cold while the rest of the trailer seemed toasty, so I decided to try covering the heat vents in the floor of the spare bedroom, living room and kitchen with phone books to see if I could direct more heat into our bedroom. Well, it worked just fine and so now the heat was just going into the two opposite ends of the trailer; Dad's room and our room. After a while Dad said he kept tripping over the phone book on the kitchen floor and so he put duct tape over the vent to close it off permanently. About a month after that, the kitchen floor started getting mountains in it! I'm not kidding - it actually started buckling up like small hills in places. We thought that maybe having the duct covered up was doing something not so great to the floor, so we uncovered it and figured we'd just have to replace the floor at some future time (again, when Jerry had the time!).
Then, while we were there three weeks ago, we had gone to Home Depot one night after dinner to pick up some things Jerry needed the next day for work. It was kind of late when we got back and Dad was already in his room. As we were walking into the trailer - still outside, though - we heard a VERY loud - I'm talking the kind of loud you have to shout to be heard above - whooshing, whistling and waterfall-sounding noise. We ran into the trailer to see what was going on, and followed the noise to the kitchen where, looking down into the now-uncovered floor vent, we could see water pouring into the vent from somewhere! The noise was deafening. Dad, of course, was sound asleep in the back of the trailer and heard nothing! Take two on my running outside with a flashlight to turn the water off. Only there were more spider webs to stick my arm through this time - ewww. Anyway, Jerry cut a piece of the flooring out to see what was going on. Boy did we see what was going on. A piece of that *$%&&# polybutylene pipe had just burst right in the side and was shooting water against the vent, but because it apparently had been leaking out of there for some time (which we were not aware of), it had soaked the insulation and the plywood, and the plywood had finally buckled enough to pull the vent right out of the main trunk line going into the kitchen. The deafening roar was a large water leak spraying under pressure against the metal of the trunk line. Now we understood where the mountains in the floor had come from - major water damage.
We knew that Dad would be going away for a week soon so Jerry fixed the leak and we figured we'd wait until he went away to gut the kitchen and replace the entire floor. Last week when Jerry started cutting the floor out, we were shocked at what was there. The flooring was moldy and disgusting. As he would cut pieces out, Andy and I would haul the moldy, smelly pieces outside. I just know that had to be really healthy for our lungs! It was slow going too, because everything was so rotten. Since the whole floor had to be replaced, we had to take EVERYTHING out of the kitchen. All the cabinets, sink, refrigerator, stove. Everything. And since it was a trailer, all the cabinets were built into the wall. I felt so sorry for Jerry. He really had a job to do. And this was in the evening after he had already worked all day. Everything was put into the hallway since Dad was gone and nobody needed to be in the back part of the trailer anyway. Over the course of three evenings Jerry got everything done. He completely rebuilt the bottom of the cabinet where the sink is and put new pipes there - with SHUTOFF VALVES on them! He also put a new dishwasher in. There was an ancient one there that hasn't worked in years so it will be nice to have a dishwasher to use there. He also repaired the ice maker to the refrigerator which also hasn't worked in a long time! He put all the wood flooring down and then finally the vinyl flooring. I am very proud of Jerry - he really does beautiful work. Over the past couple of months I had gotten so used to doing the "kitchen two-step" over the hills and valleys over the floor (I knew by heart where each dip and mountain was!) that after the new floor was down I was still doing the kitchen two-step out of habit! I'll have to get my bearings to know how to walk on a flat floor there again.
Well, that was last week. Andy and I are home again this week, trying to get stuff done here. I think it might be a little while before we go back - a couple weeks, at least - or unless that *&^%$ polybutylene decides to show us who's boss again - *SIGH*