I got up at noon (I was up 'til the wee hours) and tottered into the bathroom. Turned on the tap and just a trickle. How could that be? I had just had a couple brothers over on Saturday to help replace the toilet seal and had turned the water on and off and there had been no problem. In fact, I had watered the lawn the evening before.
I hurriedly dressed, with a bunch of thirsty kitties meowing for water as their bowl needed filling and I couldn't do it. I couldn't even wash my face. Got downstairs and the kitchen just trickled too. Went to the basement turnoff and eeeeeekkkk! water all over the floor and pouring through the front wall by the intake. The water meter was spinning and I could hear the sssssss sound of water. I turned off the intake (so I thought--it is really old and you have to turn it many times) and rushed upstairs to call the city to turn off my water.
I thought I had a break in my feed from the street, which, to my knowledge, hasn't been worked on since 1892. I have always worried about that. Got the water department to come out right away and they would check things out and tell me what to do. I also searched through the yellow pages for a plumber--not an easy task when you don't have a regular plumber--and got one who would be right out.
While waiting for the water man to come I went outside to get some water from a watering can to water the cats. Went to the back hose to see if there was any water left in it for the can. To my surprise, water came out and I was able to fill the can. I guess I was not thinking too clearly at this point--my thoughts were all towards how I was going to pay for the tearing up of my front walk and deal with no water for a while. Since there was still water coming out I had not turned the water off completely, so went back to the basement and gave the handle a few more turns. Good. The meter stopped spinning and the hissing sound stopped. Dooohhhhhh! With all the noise in my neighborhood lately with capenters and other workmen I get used to hearing noises and don't always get curious as to what they may be. I just panicked and figured the meter running had something to do with the supposed break in the line outside my foundation, and the hissing was water pouring into the ground from the break.
Took some water to the upstairs sink so I could at least wash my face. While up there I heard the city truck in the street.
I went downstairs and out the front door to talk to him. When I turned to go back into the house I noticed the front hose spigot was dripping and the hose connection at the end had come loose. I have a short section of hose leading from this spigot to the side of the house where the hose is coiled and I have another place to turn off the water to the hose. I leave the house spigot on and turn the water on and off at the other spigot. (Spigot is a really silly word, isn't it?)
I showed the Water Dept guy the hose and had him stop turning off the water. He had been having a hard time, anyway, since the hole was full of dirt or something and he couldn't get to the connection. I talked with him a while about my fears that the connect from the street to my house, which I am responsible for, was done in 1892 and it would have to be replace someday and how I had terrible water pressure. He explained that it was probably 1/2" and lead and wouldn't be as hard to replace as I thought.
I went back in the house and he came to the back door and said that the connector thingie at the bottom of the hole was a strange one and looked like it was only open half way which may account for my bad pressure and let's do a test. I would watch the water flow while he turned the thingie and see if it got better or worse. I watched and waited and he came back and said that the thingie broke off! At least it broke off in the open position! He said the crew would be out in a week or so and dig it up and put in a new thingie and a short length of copper pipe and turn off the water for a while, but at least I will have warning.
So I will have the sidewalk torn up outside my front gate and a large hole dug in the ground and be without water for I hope only a day, but may gain some water pressure. Hopefully it won't damage the old pipe that is MY responsibility!
The moral of the story is "Don't trust hose repair doohickies and keep the water turned off at the house." Or, "That hissing sound you hear is water pouring out of an open spigot!".
(And the Water Department guy was good-looking and had the most beautiful light blue eyes I have seen in a long time.)