Late this afternoon Surfer Guy came in from the front yard and calmly said, "We have a problem." I immediately figured Chip had done something like rip his face open on the driveway. I looked up from the computer to see Surfer Guy completely drenched. His t-shirt and shorts were dripping water. I grabbed Lulu and followed Surfer Guy out the door and was met with quite a sight. A horizontal geyser of water was shooting out of the front of the house to the street. The street was filling with water and it was starting to head down hill and pool at the intersection. "What the the???" I asked. Surfer Guy answers, "I was changing the faucet on the spigot. I turned off the water on the side of the house, I don't know what happened."
Who to call? And, of course it's Sunday! I tried to reach our next door neighbor who owns about 20 apartment buildings and knows how to fix everything: voicemail. I next called our contractor who called our plumber. Our plumber actually lives a couple of blocks away, so I thought that he could just come over. My contractor calls back and says he reached the plumber at his beach house in the Mexican Riviera and he says to call the water company. I hunt for a water bill and reflect for a moment on the fact that my plumber has a house in the Mexican Riviera. Find bill, call company. I head outside, cordless, and hand phone to Surfer Guy. Surfer Guy is now sprawled on his stomach halfway down the pseudo-manhole-water-turnoff by the sidewalk. He's trying to turn the water off at the street. He grabs the phone, gives some details. Gets up and says, "He's sending someone, he says they are close by." I nod. Chip is going absolutely nuts. Running around the front lawn all fired up, chortling as only a 2 year old could.
Surfer Guy, Chip, Lulu and I retreat to high ground on our front porch. We partially hide in the lengthening shadows. Chip assumes a position of prominence waving at the neighbors who walk and drive by looking curiously at the GEYSER shooting at them. No one stops. In the distance we hear a siren. It sounds like it's getting closer. I ask Surfer Guy, "Did he say he was sending the fire department?" Surfer Guy responds with a terse, "No." Sirens get closer, the honking sound can now be heard and it's all getting louder. Then into view comes a HONKING BIG hook and ladder. Y'know the kind that has a fireman actually sitting behind a steering wheel up in the back. Surfer Guy and I have a simultaneous "Oh, crap!" moment. Then, miraculously, the fire truck continues whipping past us and up the street. Surfer Guy and I exchange looks of relief, Chip is hooting and hollering. Lulu is clamped onto my hip for dear life. Then it happens.
The fire truck comes to a sudden halt and starts to back up down the hill. Yup, they are comin' for us. The hook and ladder parks squarely in front of our house. Surfer Guy ambles out to greet the nine firemen who emerge. Chip, Lulu and I walk down to the edge of the driveway. It takes three (3) properly equipped firemen to turn off the water at the street. Then they come up and figure out that due to some bizarre construction scenario, the house is actually on two "circuits" for water. Surfer Guy turned off the water to "most" of the house. Fire Captain Guy says he's seen this problem before in our area. Whew, we don't look like losers. I charmingly inquire about whether this is a billable call and joke about "not wanting to be a nuisance." Fire Captain Guy gives me a toothy grin and says, "You've already paid for it." Ah, our tax dollars at work.
Nice fireman walks over and gives Chip a sticker badge. I ask why the big truck. He says on the weekends the water company sends the fire dept. They never know what they will face and this hook and ladder has the best equipment for water problems. The firemen are so nice they actually let Surfer Guy replace the faucet handle, like he wanted to in the first place. Meanwhile, another neighbor who is in the construction business comes over to see what's going on. He heads over to his truck and whips open his built in toolbox. As Jeff Spicoli would say, "He's got an ultimate set of tools." Neighbor proceeds to put faucet handle on for Surfer Guy. Firemen all hang out and have some chit chat with Surfer Guy, neighbor and Chip. I thank our city's finest and head back in with Lulu and get back to what I was doing before I was interrupted.