Water Leak: Mystery Solved

Went up into the attic yesterday. Did I mention I HATE going into the attic? I discovered that the guys who insulated for us last year did a really nice job. Which I partially ruined. They even caulked the attic access door shut, which I had to cut open. I poked my head up through the hole and with the help of a flashlight, could see some dark stains on the roof, where I suspected the leak was at. Then I went on top of the roof and rigged up a hose to point at the suspected leak site, hoping I could see drips from the attic access so I could confirm the leak. Well, I couldn’t. Which meant I actually had to go in and inspect it.

Did I mention I HATE going into the attic? Really should have taken Peter up on his offer of a respirator mask – I used one of my thick paper ones left over from some project or other. Grabbed some big flat boards to lie on (so the blown insulation could take my weight). Also, got lots of help from Michael.

I made my way over to the toilet exhaust pipe where very dark water marks were — to find it completely dry with absolutely no evidence whatsoever of wet insulation. The dark marks must have been from an old leak. I asked Michael to turn on the hose and we left it running for a bit. Everything stayed completely dry. I was very pleased for a few moments. Until I realized where I was (did I mention I HATE going up to the attic?) and that the water leak was now a mystery and therefore the stuff of nightmares.

As I exited, I could see the huge depressed area in the insulation where I had worked my way over to the corner. (Imagine a few feet of fresh snow which has had a sled go through it – I tried fluffing it back up but it looked about as good as it would if I tried it with snow.) I had a hard time rigging the access panel closed – they had done such a nice job, dang it all. Once I got back out, Michael spent a lot of time vacuuming the insulation off me. Looking around, it seemed like a ton of the stuff had fallen into my office. Now you know why I HATE going into the attic.

I headed outside to poke my head into the overhang to look for any sign of dampness. Michael had said that when he went outside, he saw some water dripping from it. It was damp but not dripping. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I told Michael to turn the hose on for me – maybe the water was getting down there in some other way – perhaps behind the siding. He did so, and then went back into the house. I had my head right up there looking for drops, when I heard Michael flush the upstairs toilet — and a waterfall of water splashed onto my face!! He came right out, saw my face and started laughing. He said he figured that perhaps it was the toilet.

Mystery solved. Thank goodness for Michael! Should have figured it out, really, but I convinced myself that it was worse right after a rain. Time to call a plumber.

(For anyone interested in attics: I was completely amazed when I first poked my head into the attic. On a sunny day, about 1:30 in the afternoon – about 25-28 celcius out – and it was very cool in the attic!! Perhaps 3 to 5 degrees cooler up there. We had no air conditioning on, so it’s not as though it was somehow getting up there. Goes to show how well the attic was insulated. By the time I got up there, completely covered in clothing from head to foot for protection, it was boiling! It was never that way before we had the extra insulation. The guys also sealed absolutely all the holes, like the light fixtures. We used GreenSaver to assess our home, and then hired them to improve the insulation. Got money back from the government, too!)

Summer projects

Well, I finally got started on my summer projects. I have a few pictures, but not many. I’ll update this once Reid is back from California with our camera!

Project 1. I replaced two sets of steps leading from the deck. I based the design on the steps Tony helped us to build some years ago. Michael helped me to pick up the wood, and helped with some measuring, sawing and advice. Some of it was truly difficult – like attaching the darn things to the deck. Figured it out finally. So what if they’re not level!

Large deck steps
Pool steps

Now that they’re all done, I like to stroll up and down them. “See how nice and wide they are? See how comfortable they are to stride up and down. Reid, are you sure you wouldn’t want to try going up and down them a few more times?”

Project 2. Re-stain the deck (and the new steps!). They have to be re-stained every few years. It’s all done!

Project 3. Paint the mirror over our dining room hutch. It’s actually one of the windows from the 2nd storey that I asked be saved when we had the windows replaced. The old windows were those older 4-pane windows that I simply loved, but no one installs any more (even if they did, I’m sure I couldn’t afford it). I had the glass replaced with mirror and it’s been sitting on my hutch for more than a year. I tried to paint it to look a little like the hutch (so that it looks like wood). Well, I screwed something up and it came out much darker than the hutch (which is maple). I think I like it. I’m not exactly sure. I’ll give it a few days before I decide whether I should urethane it, or scrap it and start over!

Project 4. This is the kicker. Our siding sucks big time. The back of the house, especially nearest the pool, is peeling big time. It’s not aluminum siding – some kind of crappy coating on something that approximates wood. Since the other 3 sides of the house are somewhat ok, I decided to paint this side and see if I can put off getting new siding. I’m aiming to start this while Reid is in California. It’s not going to be easy as it’s the 2nd storey of the house.

Project 5. I don’t want this project, but it won’t go away. I noticed some water leaking out of the overhang (from the 2nd floor) onto the deck. I’ve been ignoring it for a while, in the useless hope that it would go away. Finally ripped out some aluminum siding from the overhang and found, to my dismay, tons of water soaking into the insulation. Hard to tell where the water comes from, but I think it’s coming down the toilet stack, which is not in the overhang portion of the house but in the house proper. Anway, it means I’m going to have to go into the attic to find where the leak is. I hate going up there. It’s going to be really bad because we had extra insulationblown up there. Dang it all. (Along with the common skipped-all-my-university-math-classes-and-now-there’s-an-exam nightmares I have from time to time, I also get water-leaking-into-the-house-causing-irreparable-damage nightmares. I know I’m weird, but that goes to show how much I hate this particular project.)

Watergun Party 2006

Better late than never, here are the highlights of our watergun party this year (took place a few weekends ago).

The Friday evening before the party, it just POURED. Have to admit, I got a little grumpy. Earlier weather reports promised a sunny day. So, that morning, I put a large plastic tarp over the part of our deck that wasn’t covered, and figured we would move the party indoors. (John called to check if the party was still on, and I mentioned we would move it indoors. “Now THAT will be interesting,” he said. Can you imagine an indoor watergun party?? I can, but not in my house!)


Still, it all turned out very well. The rain stopped by mid afternoon. We had a few less people than most years, but it was lots of fun. And when Craig showed up with two little waterguns, I decided it was time to go for the whole thing. I cleared the bay window in my master bath, took out the balloons, and waited patiently for Craig to move into position. (I missed.)

Pool fun
Being wet

This year, my niece and nephew (Lisa and Eric) came for a while as well. Lots of fun – Eric helped Michael man the water balloon bay window. Reid and Peter were determined to get them (backfired when I asked Reid a question about the camera, and Eric chose that moment to lob one at him. It exploded right on his shoulder and he got properly soaked.) Eric and Michael took the water balloon throwing to new heights: they climbed the antenna tower to the shed roof and lobbed water balloons in the pool area.

Lisa & Eric
Lobbing balloons
Look out below!

Other highlights:

– Despite my own two boys being the cutest babies ever, I have to say Simon comes awfully close to being cuter 😉 What an extremely well-behaved baby. Peter and Leslie know how lucky they are.

– The Shao boys are such good sports. I could hear Derek laughing away as he was being soaked by various people. Michael looked impressive with his water gun arsenal.

– Lisa was being too demure, so Reid dumped her in the pool. Then Reid went after Michael. Despite getting help from Micki, Michael was able to get away! Lastly, Reid went after Eric, who was just simply too fast for him.

– Great seeing all the kids again! Lots of boys this time, in fact I believe there weren’t any little girls there at all this year.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some fun stuff… if you can help me with more fun stuff, leave a comment! More pictures can be found here (perhaps Reid’s put them up on flickr)


Boy, it sure is hot today! A few posts ago, I actually said… “This June’s been far too cold for my taste. Bring on the hot summer days! ” Hmf. Well, maybe I can take that back. 36 degrees, without the humidex, is too hot, even for me. This morning, I put the finishing touches on the steps I was (re)building from the deck to the pool – the sun just bakes that side of the house – and I actually had a few drops of sweat run off my nose. Since I rarely sweat, that’s a lot for me. Even my hair got a little wet at the temples.

Now since I’m usually feeling very cold, I revel in summer. It’s true it’s been too hot these last few summers, but I much prefer that to a cold winter day. Sometimes, it feels as though I can’t really get warm enough – which is why I like to lie out in the sun. It’s not because I want a tan (in fact I usually wear the highest sun block I can find), but a short time lying on the beach is absolutely heavenly for me. It feels as though the warmth can finally reach down to my bones, which are always cold. (Anyone who makes comparisons between me and lizards baking on a hot rock – in my hearing – will be promptly shot.)

When I got back into the house (I was working on the steps between 11 and noon) Reid tried to tell me that’s how he usually feels on regular warm days. “See, that’s what it’s like for most people when it’s humid. Now you know what others feel like.” Ya, I admit, that’s rough.