Sis-in-Law's 30th Birthday

Just got home from Oshburg, where the SIL's birthday party is no doubt still in full swing. After I've slept, I'll fill you in on an interesting (I think) story involving a water heater, a wine cork, a roll of duct tape, and 50, maybe 100 gallons of water. So glad I was able to witness it. So sad cameras weren't rolling. More tommorrow.

So here's the story.

The setting: My youngest brother's home in Oshkosh. It's my sister-in-law (SIL)'s 30th birthday party. The party is in full swing, with a load of people in the basement smoking lounge, the temperature outside being too cold for use of the porch as a smoking lounge.

The conversation was rolling hard, with people in and out of different conversations constantly, as people returned upstairs for more drinks or snacks. Suddenly, a shout of surprise split the air. As conversation died, the sound of rushing water was heard, followed by rushing feet. Someone had bumped the drain spigot on the water heater, and it'd snapped off. Hot water was gushing from the hole in the water heater.

Thinking quickly, a dozen guys moved to stand around staring at the hole. Others ran to look for a valve that would shut off the water to the heater. The gas to the heater was then cut. There had still been no luck in finding a functional valve to shut off water to the heater. Some were stuck, some didn't seal. Finally, a suitable valve was found. The tank continued to empty itself across the basement floor. Unfortunately, shutting off the water would mean there was no water for flushing the toilets. The party would come to a rapid end unless a solution could be found.

Suggestions were offered: perhaps the remains of the spigot could be reattached... nope. Perhaps there was another fitting in the basement that would serve... nope. parts could be bought at home depot... except it was now closed. Still water gushed from the tank. Someone jokingly suggested using a wine cork to plug the hole. Drunkenness being the order of the evening, several wre tried, until one was found that fit. The water stopped flowing. Success!

But if the water were turned on, surely it would drive the cork back out? No problem, they'd duct tape it in. Some less inebriated partiers expressed their doubt of this solution, but they were quickly overruled. The tape was applied, and the water turned back on. It held! Success. The partiers returned to their smoking and drinking.

Again a voice was heard. Hey, water is leaking out around the tape! Another voice : boy, that's really bulging, I wouldn't stand in front of it. Within seconds of clearing people from in fron tof the patch, it blew! The small exlosion echoed around the house, as the cork and tape shot across the room, propelled on a column of water. A pressurized jet of water shot from the water heater, and pushed back storage bins that had been resting a dozen feet away. The scramble for shut off valves was repeated as laughter and despair co-mingled.

It was one of the coolest things I ever saw! The force of the water was amazing! (And yes, that was me that would have been blasted by it, if I hadn't been warned). Eventually, the tank finished draining, and the water was swept to the drain. We realized that one faucet by the washing machine still had water, and buckets were filled for use in flushing toilets. The party could continue. The evening's excitement diminishing, Middle Brother and I went home, instead.
UPDATE2: Plumbber friend was called, and all is well now.

No comments: