Tuesday, September 7, 2010

House of Many Waters

Stop me if you've heard this before.

About six years ago, we were living in South Carolina, in a lovely two-story home in which we were the first owners ever. Our home occupied about 2700 square feet and was nicely decorated. Huge south-facing windows offered an unobstructed view of the woods that grew over about 1/3 of our almost-a-full-acre property. Yes, times have changed.

Anyway. One rainy day, we'd whiled away the afternoon playing on the Chick-Fil-A playscape with some friends and then browsing at the library. We returned home at the exact moment that the Professor pulled into the driveway in his sporty red Toyota Celica. Emerging from the van with my two bambinos, I heard the sound of our smoke alarms blaring from inside the house, but saw no signs of fire.

There was no fire. Oh, no, my friends. No fire at all.

There was water.

We walked into our home to find water pouring from every orifice in our ceiling. Pouring onto the carpet of our family room. Pouring into the kitchen and breakfast room, soaking furniture, books, and toys. Pouring down the wood stairs. It was as if the roof had vanished and the afternoon rain had simply helped itself to the interior of our home.

Launching into full-on panic mode, I grabbed the kids and ran them down the hill, unceremoniously depositing them with my neighbor, Holly, and racing back up to our house. The Professor had sprinted up the stairs to locate the source of the catastrophe: the hand-held shower device attached to our toilet that we used for cleaning the yucks from cloth diapers. (I know. Crunchy.) Water pressure had built up and the little hose had popped off the toilet tank. It had probably been spewing water for a good two hours or more. 

Three weeks, multiple trips from Servicemaster with huge, loud drying machines, and many thousands of State Farm dollars later, we had a dry house and brand new hardwoods in the family room. Oh, and new carpeting upstairs. And Scarlett O'Hara-like resolve: "As God is our witness, we'll never be flooded again!"

Then we had Caroline. And moved to Austin. And bought another shower thingy, but this time one with a shut-off valve, which we used AT ALL TIMES. It functioned beautifully until she was whatever age she was when she stopped using diapers, and I stopped needing to clean them. Then I forgot all about it. 

But the Professor, unbeknownst to me, still used the thing occasionally to clean the toilet. (At this point you all know way more about our toilet-related habits than I ever thought I'd share.) And apparently, on Sunday last, he forgot to flip the shut-off valve. 

So Sunday evening, we spent a merry evening at the Dell Diamond, cheering on our minor league baseball team with our kids and three of their friends. It was everything a summer evening at the ballpark should be if one cannot be at Fenway Park. Beautiful sunset, a nailbiter of a ninth inning, bungee jumping for the kids, fireworks afterward. 

We came home. 

The Professor preceded us into the master suite. (And when I say "master suite," please interpret the term generously.) From the kitchen, I heard yelling. Then silence. Sure that the Boogeyman had my husband in his clutches, I nervously called out to him, edging toward the bedroom and wishing I'd borrowed a baseball bat from the home team. 

Instead, I found a boiling mad spouse. And a soaking wet floor. Revenge of the Mini Shower! 

Let's just say that the Professor and I did not spend the midnight hour congratulating ourselves on giving our kids and their friends a magical all-American experience. Neither did we snuggle up to watch the episode of "Top Chef" that had vaguely figured in my plans. Instead, we ripped up soggy carpet and nastified chunks of carpet padding from our bedroom, hallway, and two closets. We moved furniture, shoes, hampers, boxes, anything on the floor into the family room. We rubbed our bleary eyes. We muttered some prayers. We were too tired even to post our misfortunes to Facebook. 

(Until the following morning, of course.)

Things to be thankful for: 

1. We live in a small house where water cannot pour from upstairs to downstairs, because there is no upstairs. Or downstairs. 

2. It was water, not fire. 

3. This time, nobody's baby book was ruined. 

4. Servicemaster came back with their huge, loud drying machines. 

5. The drying should only take 2-3 days this time, not three weeks. 

6. Maybe it's our chance to install less-allergenic flooring. Suggestions?

7. State Farm promises to hunt down the maker of the sprayer thingy and get us some of our deductible back. Godspeed, Oh State Farm lawyers!


Beck said...

Oh, I'm so sorry that you were flooded AGAIN - but those are very good things to be grateful for.

Amy said...

What a nightmare - complete with deja vu :-( This does not mitigate the disaster, but I have to point out an item for your list of things:

8. Your husband cleans the toilet!

Julie said...

Oh my gooooshhhhhh, can you please tell me what that thingy is so I can NEVER buy it! Pergo floors are good, but speaking from experience, I would lean toward never ever attempting to install them yourself:) unless your handy with a circular saw and a sort of carpenter on the side...then definently save the money and do it yourself!:) I hope you get the money from State Farm to get a floor you love love love, so that it can somehow be a blessing in disguise?

Jenny said...

I am so, so sorry this happened to y'all. :( Hope things are fixed quickly!

PS. If you ever install another toilet shower, I will fly to Austin and uninstall it myself. ;)

Raji P. said...

I'm sorry, but you have to admit, that was a pretty funny post.. apart from the flood part. I could see you smiling at times. I am surprised you have one of those sprayer things! I have NEVER seen one this side of the pond.

May I say that it takes quite some luck to escape the Monsoon flooding that took place 2 days ago, yet still manage to have the house flood thanks to an overactive toilet sprayer!

Tim said...

@Jenny, so if I put in another toilet shower, you will come to visit?
I'll run up to Lowe's this afternoon and put one on our other bathroom.
See you soon! Looking forward to the visit. :-)

cjoy said...

Methinks we'll just dump the poop with this next round of diapers....those sprayers have been frustrating to me as well, and we've never had a flood (rust on the commode, yes, among other things).