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My shitty house has sprung another leak

I've been struggling at writing posts for my blog this week because my mind has been occupied by a different challenge: another leaking pipe in our house.

This now makes four significant leaks in the last six years.  Twice it happened in the laundry room (first the cold water supply snapped off when winter froze the pipes solid one year, and then the hot water supply snapped off for the exact same reason the next year).  Once it happened in our bedroom. And this time it happened in our crawlspace, close to the main supply line - arguably the worst place for it, since "cap it off and ignore it" isn't a viable option.

It started as a pinhole leak out of a corroded elbow.  We probably wouldn't have even noticed it for days, except that I'm now constantly paranoid and anything that sounds even remotely like rushing water sends me into full-on panic mode.  I heard the slightest whisper of white noise upstairs and tracked it to a cold water pipe, then traced that back to the leak.

I have to be honest - at this point, my shitty house has given us so many surprises that my first inclination isn't, "How do I fix this," but rather, "Do I have to fix this?"  Usually a plumbing problem falls into the "YES YOU HAVE TO FIX THIS, IDIOT" category, but on the other hand... it's just the crawlspace.  That place is gross and nobody goes there, anyway.

...oh, wait, it's leaking into the dirt that's stacked up against our foundation?  Okay, fine, maybe slow erosion from beneath is not an acceptable loss.

So, I propped up a wooden board to divert the leak away from the soft soil and let it drip onto the concrete floor while I looked at my options.  First up, the classic easy-fix solution: Water-Weld, an epoxy stick that you mix up in your fingers and then wrap around the pipe.  It's advertised as cheap, easy, and working even if you're applying it under water.  The only problem is, Water-Weld has never, ever worked for me.   I ended up just changing the leak from a gentle mist into a gentle drip.

Next option: call a family friend who does contracting work for a living.  True, I technically "know" how to cut a pipe and re-solder it with new parts, but I've reached a point where I know my limitations (reference: the last three leaks).  Soldering is a pain in the ass and is proof positive that knowing how to do something doesn't mean you can actually do it well.  Nah, I'll leave this to the experts.

Unfortunately, the glob of crap that I put on the pipe in my quick-fix method led our friend to cut off the pipe surrounding the offending elbow a little bit too short, which meant that his quick-fix option - an awesome instant-snap hose branded by SharkBite that I only just learned about this week - wouldn't quite work.  So he tried to recut the pipes a little more to give himself better options to snap the hose into place, except that our plumbing is old and nonsensical, and if you cut out the supply-end of the elbow anymore, you start cutting into ancient adapters that arbitrarily convert the pipe size from 3/4" to 1/2" and back again.  Our friend reached the limits of his patience and then asked one of his friends, who's a little more skilled with plumbing, to help out.  He's supposed to be coming here later this morning to hopefully put things back to order.

So, in traditional Shitty House fashion, a project that was first expected to be a five-minute, low-cost fix has turned into a week-long, twice-billed slog.  This happens pretty much any time we want to do anything.  We can't even change a door knob without six trips to the hardware store.

So, um, we're moving.

Steph and I bought this house seven years ago thinking that we'd fix it up and turn it into our dream house in the city.  But when the renovation budget we were banking on magically vanished and we got hit with the one-two punch of kids and then our kids' five-digit medical expenses, it became clear that upgrading our house from Shitty to Not Bad, At Least was going to become increasingly more difficult.  And now, as I stare down the ominous pit of our muddy crawlspace and wonder how we wound up in this mess, it occurs to me that we'll be constantly trapped in a whirlwind of debts and emergency expenses, perpetually catching up to average and never living the dream.

Time to sell.  We may not get a ton of cash out of it, but that's okay.  It turns out we'll be happy to just start at average.