THE SECOND STORY | February 5th, 2009

Thar she blows!

(The header photo was taken last winter in the back yard. It was a cold day with a bright sky and a mock cherry tree with no sign of life. In just a few weeks it will be full of gorgeous blooms, the real sign of things to come.)

I wish the title reflected the experience of watching whales off the beaches of Maui, with Lanai and Molokai in the background…but… not so much. Last Saturday afternoon I decided to brush my teeth before leaving for the office to deal with some paperwork. As I turned the hot water handle on to dampen the toothbrush which I hold in my right hand, the handle broke off in my left hand and the water shot straight up about 2 feet. I grabbed the closest towel, then towels, as I reached to turn off the water valve under the sink. It wasn’t there. Just some knob that I couldn’t twist. The cold water valve I could turn off but not the hot.

And since we have a tankless water heater, that means hot water keeps on coming.. And I keep the water temp hot. I felt like I had my own version of that scene from I Love Lucy, where she tries to pack candy boxes as the candy-laden conveyor belt moves faster and faster by her. My version was vertical. I was fighting a loosing battle with a small geyser that not only didn’t run out of steam, it created it!

Protecting the varnished wood cabinetry and hardwood floors was my main concern. Now completely drenched, I forced myself to abandon ship and call the fire department for help. From previous routine maintenance experience I knew I wasn’t strong enough to twist the wrench around the EBMUD nut in the box at the curb. And we don’t have a shut off valve right at the house.

A fire truck showed up about 15 minutes later. The upshot is that they couldn’t figure out the stub under the sink, but they did find a shut off at the water heater. I had completely forgotten about that valve. Then they finally understood that I had a wrench for the water shut off at the curb and shut the water off to the building, too. They said they don’t carry a wrench for that device.

The good news? By midnight the floors and cabinetry appeared unharmed and intact despite both the volume and heat of the water. The ceiling tiles that were soaked on the level below, popped off and got tossed. The carpet under the ceiling tiles, while heavily soaked in 2 small areas, cleaned up and dried out nicely. The water that seeped into the laundry room below only left a bit of a mark. I didn’t need to file an insurance claim. My favorite carpet cleaner got a big fan to me the next day but it wasn’t necessary by then. To avoid exceeding our water allotment, that night I used two 50 pound washers at Launderland (South Shore) to wash the soaked and still warm towels (that’s how hot the water was). My dear friends across the street let me use their shower for two days. Remember I had water, but no hot water.

The surprise? On Monday, the plumber said that if I’d had a wrench nearby (and I did), I could have twisted that stub closed and solved the problem. Oh my gosh. Do I feel stupid? Yes, but I find a bit of comfort in the fact that the fire fighters didn’t even figure that out.

The moral? Make sure the emergency solutions you have around the house, in the car, or wherever, work. If the system doesn’t work, fix it before you need it. Coming…a new shut off valve below the sink and a water shut off at the house, not just at the curb. Don’t repeat my mistakes….at least create new ones.

Oh, and a new bathroom fixture is being installed next week. It’s all good. And I’m very grateful for the next-to-nothing damage, the minimal hassle, the assistance of the fire department, and the generosity of my friends across the street. Save the spouting for the whales.

Alameda real estate this week…
1233 Regent and 1612 Clinton closed last week. See sidebar for details. My clients got an accepted offer on 450 Taylor. I listed two properties that will be coming on the market in the next two weeks. I cancelled the listing on the cute Gold Coast 2/1 house at 928 San Antonio because I could not meet the Seller’s expectations in this market. And as a complete surprise, I received a wonderful referral (email) letter from a client, now friend:

“Marilyn Schumacher truly provides “Results…exceeding the challenges”. With the housing market in a huge decline, I wanted to make sure I choose the right Realtor to sell my home. All though I knew several friends in the industry, I felt more comfortable choosing a Realtor that was recommended, I didn’t want it to get “personal” if the house didn’t sell. All of my concerns were wiped away when I chose Marilyn as my Realtor. What I gained from the process was; a house that sold in under 3 months and a seamless sale without any surprises, except that I gained a friend in the process. Marilyn’s straightforwardness, sincerity and most of all professionalism are what makes here stand out from the rest. Thanks again Marilyn! ”

Active listings 150, last report 150

Pending listings 58, last report 53

Tuesday tour 9 with 3 repeats (some from long ago)

Highest priced new listing

Lowest priced new listing

New 15

Price changes 11

BOMs (back on market) 2

Pending 11

Sold 6

Expired 9 (some show up as new)

Withdrawn/cancelled 4

Real estate awards this week….(remember this is only my perspective)

Get Me A Facelift

Get Me to Rehab

Got Me a Makeover

Have a lovely, wet (outside, not inside) weekend!

Carry on! Marilyn

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I arrived in Alameda in 1973, as a new bride...with husband Carl Schumacher, both of us from Newport Beach. He was embarking on his career as a Naval Architect (i.e. yacht designer) under Gary Mull. Please see the 'ABOUT ME' page in this website! to see how it has all turned out! I'm so blessed!