Allow me to set the scene. It’s 5pm on a chilly Friday night in December. Snow is gently falling outside, creating a postcard scene out my back door. We’ve been running hither and yon all week long, and I am looking forward to a nice, quiet evening at home.
The shrimp is marinating. The wine is chilling. All is calm, all is bright.
I get up to pour myself a glass of wine and start the rice, and I hear this trickling sound over my head. Hm. That’s curious. I look up and listen carefully, trying to determine what it is and where it’s coming from. It sounds like a bathtub draining, but there is no reason for anyone to be using the tub. The girls are playing upstairs, so I decide to investigate.
Up the stairs I go. The house is tidy. Darkness is falling around the house. I briefly think what a lovely evening it is and how happy I am to be here. Then I enter the bathroom.
If my life was a movie, you would have just heard the record player screech to a halt.
Water is pouring out of the toilet. The floor is a pond, and there is even water seeping out onto the hallway carpet. My daughters stand by helplessly as I start to yelp, running gingerly through the water and waste, soaking my slippers in the process. Lovely.
I reach the commode and pull off the top and yank that chain-doo-hickey-thingy so the water stops pouring out of the toilet. My mind is whirring, trying to remember what Husband has showed me to do in a crisis such as this. The pipe. I need to turn off the pipe.
While trying not to let go of the chain-doo-hickey-thingy, I contort my body to reach the valve behind the potty. I manage to get a grip on it and try to turn it to the right. It doesn’t move. Hm. I try the left. It moves. Great. I turn it as far as I can.
I carefully let up on the chain-doo-hickey-thingy, and immediately water begins flooding the bathroom again. I let out another yelp and lift up on the chain. And there I stand, afraid to let go. I have no idea WHAT to do.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m WORTHLESS in a crisis.
So I do what I always do when I’m home alone and need help. I send my son for our cop-neighbor-guy. You may remember him from my last domestic crisis.
So. Neighbor arrives, dressed in a suit, presumably from work, and helps me turn off the water. I was right the first time. Right. Ha. Oh I’m punny. Punchy is more like it.
Neighbor informs me that I have a real problem on my hands. Really. You don’t say!
Then he asks for a crowbar. Um, a crowbar? Pourquoi?
He says we need to pull up the carpet in the hallway to try to dry it out. I’m not quite sure about this. I mean, my carpet isn’t really high on my list of things to replace, here at Christmastime no less. This seems awfully melodramatic, but what do I know.
At this point, I decide to call my husband to inform him of the disaster on the homefront. Neighbor wants to talk to Husband, so I pass the phone over. They converse. They disconnect.
We locate a screwdriver, and Neighbor starts tearing up the carpet. Before we complete the carpet demolition, my son calls up and says water is coming through the ceiling in the kitchen.
We abandon the carpet project for the moment and go downstairs where we are greeted by another crisis. Water is leaking down through the ceiling and dripping off the light fixture over my kitchen table and all over the floor. And there are several wet spots on the ceiling. All we need now is crumbling drywall to complete the disaster scene.
Neighbor says this is not good at all. He’s a master of the understatement.
He goes to the basement and turns off the electricity to the kitchen. Then we return to the soggy carpet upstairs. While I mop up the bathroom, he finishes pulling back the carpet and shoves some towels underneath to soak up the water.
About this time his wife appears at the front door. She’s dressed to the nines, and it hits me. Neighbor isn’t still dressed up from work. He is dressed to go out. I casually inquire where they’re off to, and they’re going to a wedding. In Philadelphia.
Um. You might have TOLD me this, friendly neighbor! We live an hour from Philly. ON A GOOD DAY. This is a Friday night at Christmastime. And it’s snowing outside; the roads are probably a nightmare.
I immediately start shooing them out the door. It’s nice to be neighborly, but you can’t be late to a wedding!! I feel like a total jerk, monopolizing this poor guy with my messy domestic crisis when he’s all dressed up to go to a fancy wedding.
So they leave, and I return to the kitchen to sop up the water and start the rice. And to pour that glass of wine. A girl’s gotta have priorities.
A half-hour later, Husband arrives home. He immediately assesses the situation and says that we have a powerful wet vac and it’s so dry this time of year, it will all dry out and be fine.
He takes down the light and checks to see if water is collecting on the ceiling ready to compromise the drywall, but he determines that things are beginning to dry out. He says the water marks on the ceiling can be easily painted.
We’re not sure how we will reattach the carpet upstairs. That might require a professional. But for now we remove the towels and put the carpet back down.
Things seem to be settling down until Husband decides to drop his bombshell. Evidently I wasn’t the only one with a drama on my hands this evening. He casually informs me that he got in a car accident on the way home from work.
Evidently Husband’s truck is fine, and both drivers are fine, but the other guy’s car? Notsomuch. Sigh…
I guess we’ll be contacting our friendly insurance agent first thing Monday morning.
We did manage to enjoy our shrimp dinner after all, and we are thankful the damage wasn’t worse — both to the house and to the cars and drivers involved in the accident.
As it turns out, my slippers seem to be only casualty.