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War Stories - April 2009


A few friends came over for a dinner party. With the first hot weather of the season, the air conditioning was especially welcome. Cleaning up, I took the tablecloth and napkins down to the washing machine and was dismayed to find it sitting in the middle of an immense puddle.

Where did all this water come from? Did a washing-machine hose come loose? Did something fail inside the washer? I finally noticed that the little plastic line from the air conditioner's condensate pump was not sticking into the standpipe along with the washer's drain hose. Mystery solved — that was where the water came from. However, the plastic line was nowhere in sight. I started tracing the line from the condensate pump and found something odd. Leaning against the basement wall and pulling down the condensate line was the jackpost I had installed to stop a large display cabinet housing my wife's giraffe collection from jiggling when someone walked by. I had been meaning to investigate why the giraffes recently had started rattling again.

Sure enough, I found the end of the condensate line up in the joists over some storage cabinets. I pulled out the slack and stuffed it back into the standpipe. With some mopping up, the flood problem was solved. I then carefully reinstalled the jackpost, trying to figure out what I had done to allow it to come loose. This time, I adjusted the post so it pushed solidly against the joist under the cabinet. It bothered me to not know how the post could have come loose, but, after all, there is no fastener between the top of the post and the joist — all that holds them together is the weight of the floor. I finally gave up, went to bed, and turned out the light.

Forty minutes later, I sat bolt upright in bed. At the end of May, we had the living-room carpet removed and the wood floors sanded and refinished. Of course, everything had to come out of the living room before the work could be completed. The workers had moved the large furniture, including that heavy cabinet, off of the living-room floor, moving it back when they were done. When the weight was lifted, the floor must have sprung up enough to let the jackpost fall loose!
Dave Elovitz
Energy Economics Inc.
Natick, Mass.

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