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plumbingSometime between waking up and showering and mid morning, the water in our house turned off today.  I called a neighbor and their water was fine.  I filed a 311 report via the city’s web site and then waited,  After about an hour I decided that I need to talk to a human about it to get some idea of how long it was likely to be off.

I talked to a very pleasant woman in the water department.  She checked and didn’t see any scheduled work in our neighborhood.  She also hadn’t heard of any emergencies (e.g. broken main, etc) in the area.  She suggested that the most likely culprit was a frozen meter  …. and then the lightbulb went off.

As I mentioned once long ago in a thread on Village14, we discovered a truly bizarre detail about our 1840s era house, six months after we moved in.  We kept getting cards from the city asking us to read our water meter and I could not find the water meter.  Eventually the city sent someone out and he couldn’t find the water meter.  At his suggestion, I contacted the woman who sold us the house and she said “I’m so sorry.  I forgot to tell you that your water meter is in another house – it’s the blue house on High St (i.e.  a different street).  And there it’s been ever since.

As soon as the woman at the Water Dept mentioned frozen water meter I remembered that the blue house on High St was sold this past month and is now empty.  I realized that they must have turned off the heat and my water meter in their basement froze.

The city said that they’d need to get into this neighbor’s house to check it out.  That led to a five step process from my next door neighbor, to his brother, to a lawyer, to another lawyer, to the new owner of the blue house.   I explained the situation to him and he said “yeah, that makes sense.  I was over there this morning and turned the water off.”

So it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.  There was no frozen meter.  He came over a few hours later and turned our water back on.  He was very pleasant but pretty adamant that I will need to start the process of getting my water meter out of his basement.

The surprising thing is that neither of our deeds mention anything about this strikingly strange set up.   I also heard from my other next door neighbor today that our sewer line also is connected into his.

I did recently see an old map that showed that in 1850 the land his house is on was part of my property.  My guess is that an earlier owner of my house built this 2nd house on their property and when water service came to the area it was probably just easier to plumb it that way – it’s an Upper Falls thing.

… but no, that’s not really a photo of my plumbing