a morning storm causes a closet leak
Tuesday, September 23 2003
The hurricane (or what little of it remained) came through some days ago, but early this morning we were lashed by a far more aggressive storm. I'd seen it developing yesterday afternoon (when evening seemed to start at around 3pm), but nothing came of it until around 5am today. Rain came in a continuous several-hour downpour, punctuated every twenty or thirty minutes by an unelaborated thunderclap nearby. The only other time I'd ever been in such a hesitantly-electrical storm, it was a winter blizzard.
One of the recurring problems of our house has been the way the roof drains directly onto the back deck, which then has a tendency to somehow direct some of that flow into the wall. I've tried combatting this problem with caulk around the basement windows, and to some extent I've arrested the influx of water. This morning after I woke up, I thought I'd check around the various basement windows where water has been a problem. If they were going to leak, the morning's storm would be the thing to make it happen. Happily, there was no leaking in the second guest bedroom (where I'd ended up spending the final leg of my night's sleep after suffering from insomnia that resulted from a nascent toothache and Mavis's foul wetfood farts).
Maddeningly, there was still some leaking around one of the windows in Gretchen's office. Even more troubling was a recurring dripping sound in one of the office's three closets - the one beneath the new outside door (connecting the dining room to the back deck). With a little investigation I found the drip coming from the light fixture in the closet. Evidently water was somehow getting in through the outside wall, running some distance along the floor joist, and falling from the ceiling there, with no signs of water damage on any of the drywall.
A closet has to be the worst place for a leak to spring. There it can go undetected for months (as this leak no doubt had gone), and it since there is usually lots of stuff in a closet, there's a real potential for destruction. Somehow we lucked out and the only serious damage was to a partially-completed scrapbook of newspaper clippings about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., some project Gretchen appeared to have abandoned sometime in the murky past. The articles were all still legible, but now they had overlays of watermarks and mold.
A more complete solution to this leakage problem has been in the works for over a week. I'd bought thirty feet of aluminum gutter and all the little segments necessary to get around corners and attach to downspouts. After seeing the mess in Gretchen's closet, I resolved to get cracking on the gutter project. The plan is for the gutter to drain only that section of roof that currently drains onto the back deck. Here in snow country, it doesn't make sense to trick out a house with a complete set of gutters.
It was still raining this morning when Gretchen and I took the dogs for a walk down the freshly-extended Stick Trail. Most of the reason for walking in the rain was to convince Eleanor that it's not so bad to go out when its raining. She's such a little princess that when it rains she craps on the floor instead of going outside.
We continued beyond the end of the trail all the way to the Canary Falls, which was raging in the aftermath of the storm.
Our big concern today was for Noah, the big fluffy grey cat who likes to follow us on walks in the forest. He hadn't been seen in over a day, and we were worried that perhaps something bad had happened to him. He's been known to vanish for many hours at a time, but never for a whole day. We kept expecting him to show up, just like he usually does when we're missing him, but he never did.
I started work on gutters in the afternoon, piecing the entire unit together on the porch in preparation for somehow hoisting it up to the eaves.
I also installed a shelf in the entryway closet, the place where we keep our coats, dog leashes, and my bow saw (among other things). The idea is that we'll start putting our shoes up on this shelf instead of tossing them casually on the floor, where they very occasionally fall victim to Eleanor's puppyish shoe-chewing tendencies.
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