My exploding radiator.
My house is awesome. It's a bigass old farmhouse that is very conducive to rad parties, and also has the most amazing dedicated music room that I've ever had the chance to enjoy. It's isolated enough that we can make as much noise as we want to and let the dogs and cat run freely outside when they want to, but close enough to civilization that anything we ever need is only minutes away. It has country charm without the small-mindedness associated with it. My roommates are some of the coolest people that I've met in recent history, and I seem to regularly meet more cool people simply as a result of living there.
There are downsides, though. The house is really old, and has poor insulation, which means that when it gets cold outside, it gets cold inside. My room is the coldest in the house, but I get by with the help of a space heater, long sleeve shirts, and a bunch of blankets. I can't complain much, because my room is absurdly huge for the small amount I'm paying. The house also has stinky well water, but I lived in the middle-of-nowhere, Indiana, for ten years, so it didn't take me very long at all to get used to that again. The driveway isn't paved, and I once got my car stuck in the mud after it had been raining.
And then there's the matter of the exploding radiators.
Yesterday, the house was much colder than usual and I could see my breath in my room and in the music room. I assumed it was because it was just generally colder outside than it had been before, but I later found out that it was because the heat wasn't working due to the propane running out. I wasn't home this afternoon, but my roommate, Jesse, called me and told me that the good news was that the heat was working again. The bad news, though, was that three of the radiators in the house had blown up, including the one that was in my room. I listened to the voicemail he left describing the flying metal and black ice spraying around my room, the whole time picturing a disaster area. He said that there was enough force that the far wall across from the radiator had been sprayed with the nasty black sediment that had built up over the years. When he began talking about my upright bass and the metal flying at it, the hesitation in his voice made me fear the worst, and I listened to the words in slow motion, expecting them to end with, "and it looks like maybe the damage might be repairable, but it is a pretty big gaping hole in the body." Instead, I was incredibly relieved when he told me that there was no damage, it just got wet, and was in his room drying off.
I went home on my lunch break to check out the damage. The downstairs hallway had thick black grime all over the floor and wall from that radiator explosion, so I expected a pretty bad mess in my room. I was pleased to find that the mess was pretty much confined to the walls, and the carpet directly under them. I'll have to scrub both at some point, but it didn't look nearly as bad as the hallway downstairs. It looked gross, but the grime wasn't as thick and black, perhaps because only the top corner of the radiator blew off, instead of the whole infernal machine splitting in the middle like the one downstairs. The corner of my bed was wet, but I aimed my space heater at it, and it felt much drier by the time I left. I found a few stray pieces of ice, but it didn't seem to get on any of my stuff. My giant pile of books, science fiction magazines, and comic books laying next to my bed was, as far as I could tell, completely unharmed by the incident.
I went downstairs and another roommate, Bob, had begun mopping up the mess in the hallway. He wasn't home when it had happened, but told me that Jesse first heard a loud explosion in my room, followed by two more downstairs. I asked which other radiator blew up, and he told me it was the one in the music room. We went in there and the whole floor was wet. Fortunately, we had had a party on Friday, so everything was rearranged to allow more people in the room to enjoy some live music. Instead of spraying all of the musical equipment with black ice, the radiator was only able to spray it all over the floor.
It's funny, I really had no idea that those radiators could explode like that until a couple weeks ago when it happened to a friend of mine. She had the misfortune of having it completely soak her bed and hit her cat in the head with a heavy chunk of metal. She ended up calling the animal emergency line, and being told that her cat might have a concussion and she had to keep it awake pretty late into the night to make sure it was alright. I consider myself fortunate for just being stuck with dirty walls and carpet until I get around to cleaning it up.
I still have to say, though, that my house is pretty awesome.