Things learned the hard way by Deb Eileen

I like to think of myself as a smart person. I read books with really big words. I have not one, but two, university degrees. In my day job I often serve our provincial Supreme Court as an expert witness. So the only excuse I have for the following story- is that some things apparently have to be learned through experience. It is that or I am in fact mentally challenged- and I am leaving this option on the table.

We’ve arranged to have the house painted this spring. Today a legion of painter type guys descended on the house to give it a power wash in order to prepare it for paint. I knew they were coming and why they were going to be here. I greeted them with smiles and offers of tea. Then I left the house to take the dogs to the vet.

Today’s lesson: Never have an old house power-washed.

Turns out this house has more holes and gaps than the plot of my first drafts. I opened the door and found water EVERYWHERE. It flowed down the stairs. It dripped from the sills. I ran to the front of the house in time to see one fellow power wash the front door- water shooting through the lock like a fire hose.

The dogs ran in circles thinking “look it’s raining in the house!” I ran in circles thinking “oh shit!” I believe our brain capacity was at the same level at this point.

Every towel we own and a few sets of sheets have been used to mop up the mess. As I soaked up various puddles the thought occurred to me- how could I not have seen this coming? Our house is a 40’s bungalow with windows that don’t quite fit the frames and doors where cold breezes slide their icy fingers under the sill in the dead of winter. What did I think would happen when someone pointed a water cannon at it?


Please tell me there is something you’ve had to learn the hard way….

12 Replies to “Things learned the hard way by Deb Eileen”

  1. Well, I could say something about first husbands . . . . but I’ll just say thanks for the funny image–as someone who has an old house (that I’ll never have power-washed, thanks!) and a stupid sweet dog, I can appreciate the moment.

    Hope things are drier, now.

  2. LOL, Eileen, you might take some consolation that this experience provided you with a vividly memorable post and “glad-it-wasn’t-us” laughs from your readers. Besides, what were your options, what was Bob thinking and didn’t those power-washer guys KNOW what would happen?

  3. Too funny! (I’m sure not at the time, but it does make a great story…)

    One of the many lessons I’ve learned the hard way: when you discover that the eggs you hard boiled are not quite cooked all the way, DO NOT put an egg in its shell into the microwave. It will sound like a gunshot and you will be cleaning egg out the microwave for a very, very long time.

  4. Larramie – “what was Bob thinking and didn’t those power-washer guys KNOW what would happen?” This seems to be a typical female answer-Blame it on the guy – “What was BOB thinking? and didn’t those powerwash “GUYS” KNOW what would happen. As my son in law and I would probably think alike on this; I would respond that the normal person would assume that a company that has been in this type of business for umpteen years knows the effects of the power wash. If it blasted through only 5% of the homes they would warn the owner that there may be problems and act accordingly. (Test wash the article to see how it holds up to the dye and so forth that is on the tag of every woman’s garment.) I am a little surprised, at the least, that the power washer people were not aware of this problem on older homes and didn’t wait to see how it went first. I am also a little surprised that my daughter didn’t wait to see how the job was going before taking the dogs to the vets. Knowing how attentive Bob is to my daughter I can only assume that he would when he got home and saw her crying; he would offer to take her out to dinner to make her feel better. Then after dinner and a nice galss of wine would look into Eileen’s eyes and say “Jeesh!”
    This also gives them something to talk about when the two of them get to my wife’s age and mine, “remember when you powerwashed the furniture from the outside?”

  5. I’m sorry that happened. You would have though they would know better. I hope they give you a discount on the painting.

  6. I once had water shooting out of the top of my sink so I relate. As for learning things the hard way, how about, um, writing a novel? I was almost “done” with Party Girl when a writer friend mentioned the three-act structure. I realized that what I had was, essentially, one act. Hellllo, rewrite!

  7. I hate to counterpoint your father (you know I’d NEVER disagree with him) 😉 but it might have just been a Tim Allen response from the power washer guys. They weren’t concerned with the collateral damage – they just wanted to blast things with water – more power – arrrr arrrr arrrr.

    Still, the dogs must have loved it and it must have been rather stunning for you to see from the inside. I hope nothing got damaged and it just created some extra laundry.

  8. Eileen,

    I feel your pain! I live in an old house with unmarked valves and pipes in the basement. I thought I was turning on my outdoor water and accidentally turned on the indoor gas…gas that filled up my house for an hour while I was outside next to the hose, trying to figure out why it wasn’t working.

    Hang in there!

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