Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Faith in Science

All through the night and this morning...and even now as I write it has been raining pretty hard. Flood warnings are in effect...my little rain swale and road side ditch are flowing like mad and at about 6:30 am water starting dripping though the celling near the wood stove pipe.

"Oh Fuck!" Were the only two words I got out before I leaped into action. Knocking over chairs to get to the stove, grab a bucket and get it catching I realized that I would be spending some QT this morning with my attic.

I pull the car out of the garage, get the ladder out of the shed and get my self into the attic space to check out the situation. Unexpectedly, the rain was not coming from the stove pipe hole. I traced the water over to a roof truss. It was seeping in, probably through a nail hole or crack in the asphalt shingles. After moving the insulation I could see it was running down the truss onto and across the sheet rock celling to the stove pipe.

How the fuck am I going to stop this? Its not like an actual hole that could be plugged. Then in a BRILLIANT flash of ingenuity some help from physics, hydrology and an old episode of Mr. Wizards World I did this:


Wet string is tied around the wood and runs down into a bucket. The surface water tension will now divert the water from the wood to the string and capture it in the bucket. I tied two for redundancy. I watched it for a little while and it seems to be working. It only needs to be temporary because the rain should be stopping later tonight. I can probably fix the shingles this weekend.

Faith in science comes in, in that I had to still get to work and leave the apparatus unattended. If the laws of physics don't change between now and 6pm I should be all set.

Isn't Science Great?


  1. Hey Joe,
    That was pretty clever. Thumbs up !!
    It gives you time to ride off the rainstorms without being too soaked.
    I hope you all dry out soon ( I can relate; we have rain too !)

    Take it easy.

  2. Wow! What a save Joe. I would never have thought of using wet string.. brilliant, I say!

  3. When I saw the title, I wasn't quite sure where you were going with this, though now it's clear - Mr. Wizard to the rescue. Nice.

    You also stirred up some bad memories - we live on the gulf coast, and had our roof damaged in Hurricane Ivan (a year before Katrina hit). Since there were a lot of other damaged homes in the area, we didn't have our roof repaired for 9 months, during which time I responded as you did whenever the rain woke me. I only wish some string could have helped us then :) Even so, it was eventually fixed - and by the time Katrina came calling, we were all dry and cozy.

  4. Thanks all.

    Yep and when I got home all was well and there was water in the bucket.

    Science: 1

  5. Just don't forget to empty the bucket every now and then.


  6. Good science, Joe. Great thinking and you saved the day.