By now we’re so ‘on our toes’ around here, we could dance Swan Lake.
It all started in August, when the shower pan in the upstairs bathroom ‘failed,’ as they say in the drip-and-leak business. and water dripped so steadily down it made the map of Madagascar on the ceiling below.
Also, back then, a bird flew out from under our TV. How she got inside is anybody’s guess. All we know is she was too big to crawl through whatever dime-sized opening it was that let that bat in four weeks earlier.
Yup, a bat. We had a bat too, with its wee fangs and that sober little J. Edgar Hoover of a face.
He may have gained entrance by worming his way in under one of the air conditioners, which we set in such old wide windows we have to use a world of cardboard and duct tape to seal things up each year.
Which rarely works, despite our best efforts.
We never did catch J. Edgar, in spite of the tennis racquets and fishing nets we had at the ready.
They worked on the bird however, who was nicely escorted back outside, though not before writing a ‘review’ of the TV show then airing, right smack on that pretty plasma screen.
What else now? A kind of amnesia takes over when so much goes awry.
Ah yes! Our old refrigerator almost fell through the kitchen floor when it was discovered that the thick beams beneath it, sturdily nailed together in the days when houses were made to last, looked like nothing so much as flakes of canned tuna.
Then, a week ago, the furnace announced itself broken.
But all this was nothing compared to what happened last Monday night, when, at 11pm, burning-hot water began gushing out from under the sink as one of us was doing dishes and the rest were wiping down the counters and putting things away. The hot water just suddenly stopped coming from the faucet.
“HEY! WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HOT?” this someone said.
Then, not three seconds later, scalding water began coursing around his ankles.
Ten seconds after that, the scalding tide had filled the cabinet under the sink and was fountaining all over the floor – and because our house tilts after 118 years of standing in one place, the flood was speeding fast toward the living room.
It seems the feed pipe for the hot had simply exploded.
There ensued some Three-Stooges-style yipping and running around in circles. With a near-boiling Niagara in the way, we couldn’t reach in under and turn off the water supply under the sink, so instead ran for towels and mops.
We knew we had to get to the cellar and turn off the main water valve but then more yipping and running around in circles took place when we realized we didn’t know just WHERE that valve was.
What a mess. What a cleaning-up task to begin upon at almost midnight. And we had to take every single thing out from the cabinets and place it all on the counter.
But when so much goes wrong in a two-month span, you can’t focus on the bad. You have to focus instead on the good: all the fauna have moved out, the systems are hum along, and the pipe, thank God, didn’t explode later when we were at work or, God forbid, away for the weekend..
Had that happened I’d be writing all this from the Red Roof Inn and mourning the loss of three rooms of flooring , 30 years’ worth of treasures in the basement and the last remnants of my sanity.