John was working on the sprinkler system at his new home in Oakland (across the bay from San Francisco). He turned off the main water valve to the house and disconnected the galvanized steel pipe feeding the sprinklers. Then disaster struck-water started spraying everywhere at high pressure. For some reason, the sprinklers were connected before the main water valve!
John ripped off his work gloves and ran over to the valve. There was no other way to stop the water there. So he ran down to his workshop, got some tools, and ran back up to the water meter on the street. Within a couple of minutes, he had the water shut off.
The bed in front of his house was filled with several inches of water, and this was draining rapidly through a gap in the bricks down the driveway. There was nothing he could do about the water so he just let it drain. But when he picked up his work gloves, he realized he had a bigger problem: his wedding ring was missing. It wasn’t in the gloves, and he couldn’t see it anywhere in the thick mud. It had disappeared.
John and his wife searched the bed and the yard nearby, but couldn’t find the ring. They dug through the top layer of mud to see if they could find it, but had no luck. John thought about renting a metal detector, but he could see that the search was going to be difficult, so he contacted The Ringfinders.
By the time I got there a few days later, the mud had dried out. The bed was just three feet from front to back, and crowded with plants and sprinkler pipes. This made it difficult to use my main metal detectors, because there was no room to swing the coil. So I got down on my hands and knees and used my pinpointer, a handheld metal detector. If the ring had sunk more than about two inches into the mud, it would have been beyond the range of the pinpointer, so we crossed our fingers and got to work.
John raised the galvanized sprinkler pipe up so that it wouldn’t interfere with the pinpointer. I pulled almost 20 metal targets out of the dirt and mud: nails, screws, washers and gutter spikes. I had to dig every one of these targets to make sure we didn’t miss the ring.
Finally we worked our way to the base of the first bush. John pulled the bush to one side, and the pinpointer detected a target right at its base. When I scooped out a handful of loose dirt, John spotted his ring at the bottom of the hole. It had been buried about an inch down in the dirt, under the bush right near the main water valve.
The ring is unique-John and his wife had it hand made by an jewelry designer. John, thanks for the reward and for the fresh lemons off your tree!