As you all know, I went home to West Virginia for the holidays with Hot Husband (HH). We had an enjoyable vacation and got to see plenty of our families. We ate lots of food, exchanged gifts, and failed to see any friends, but overall – good times. Except for my mother’s bathroom.
When we come home, my mom often asks for help with certain household projects. No big deal, we don’t mind to help out. However, I would like to take this moment to reveal something about my husband. Crappiest handyman ever. I’m a better handyman and I put pictures on the wall crooked. He’s fantastic with a computer and can open things that my weak, weak hands can not, but I don’t like to give him power tools. My mom, suffering from a severe case of, “Oh yes, I forgot that part”, asked if we could replace one of the tubes under her bathroom sink. This is the tube that connects the faucet to the water pipes. She wanted Matt to do it because his arms are longer than hers and therefore, he shouldn’t have a problem reaching the attachments.
So, in the middle of the week, Mom heads out to work and we make plans to go see a movie with our niece later that afternoon. Matt decides to change that tube/pipe thing, and I start getting ready to leave. I’m washing my hair in the tub while Matt tries to get the old pipe disconnected. He’s still struggling with it when I finish washing my hair and go upstairs to dry it and brush my teeth. Moments later, I hear a thud, then the sound of gushing water and a scream. I go tearing downstairs, only to be confronted by the site of my husband having an aneurism while water flies from the pipe that just broke when his hand slipped down and jarred it. True story.
What adds an extra bit of spice to this story, aside from the fact that I am married to a man that is accidentally trying to flood my mother’s bathroom, is that Mom recently had new floors put down outside the bathroom and into the living room. They are wood; not real wood, but really nice looking fake wood. You are not supposed to get them wet. You can’t make this shit up.
I am not proud to say that I do not react well in high-pressure situations. Unfortunately, neither does HH. There was much yelling, calling upon the Lord, apologies, and cries that my mother was going to hate him. As far as I knew, there was no way to shut the water off from inside, because the pipe that had broken was the hot water pipe. Valve and all. So, there had to be a house shut off valve. After living in that house for a good portion of my formative years, I could not remember where that was. So I called Mom. Best call she ever got, I’m sure.
“MOM. I’M SO SORRY, WE HAVE A SITUATION, WHERE IS THE WATER SHUT OFF FOR THE HOUSE?!”
“It’s outside, do you remember?”
“YES, GOTTA GO.”
“I’m coming home.”
And with that, I go racing outside, in pajama bottoms and a t-shirt (40 degree weather, yay) and skid to a halt in the front yard where the manhole cover is. Under this cover is a hole that’s about as deep as the length of my arm. At the bottom is the water shut-off. But first, I can’t get the cover up. It is also covered in old grass clippings and mud. I panic. I run – nay, sprint – to my mom’s next-door neighbors, realize they are not home, and sprint back. I try again with the cover. I get it off. The hole is filled with muddy water from the recent typhoon WV experienced. I panic more. I need a bucket. I race back into the house. I can hear Matt screaming in the bathroom. I race back, my glasses instantly fogging up.
My husband is vainly trying to catch the GUSHING RIVER OF WATER SPURTING FROM UNDER THE SINK with an Igloo cooler. Every single one of my mother’s towels are on the floor, creating a dam of sorts, in an attempt to protect her new floors. (Mom has many towels.)
“YOU HAVE TO TURN IT OFF!”
“I NEED A BUCKET!!!”
I race back to the kitchen, grab a tupperware bowl and head back outside, where I proceed to bail out the hole, but of course, the rain water just starts pouring back in, BECAUSE IT’S A HOLE IN THE GROUND. When I finally get it drained enough to see the valve, I can’t get it to turn, because I have close to no strength in my hands and I have weak wrists. Genetics. So I run back in to HH, and after much screaming, we trade places. Now I am the one catching water with the Igloo cooler and bailing into the bathtub. During this time, HH runs out, tries to turn the valve, fails, and accosts a different neighbor – who successfully helps him get the valve turned.
When the water stops, it has pooled in the bathroom to a height that just barely reaches the top of my foot. I start scooping that into the bathtub too. HH comes back in and joins me, visibly distressed. We bail for a while, and then Mom shows up. As it turns out, she’s so happy the water is stopped and her floors are not damaged that she doesn’t kill us. We call a plumber to fix the pipe situation and finish cleaning up all the water. I don’t think the floors in there had ever been that clean. The plumber is pretty swift to show up and fix the situation and pretty swift to charge us (Mom made us split the cost because it was an accident) – but all’s well that ends well.
Moral to the story: House repairs that go awry can be way more than you bargained for on a “home-for-the-holidays” trip. It was sooooo not funny when it happened. However, I have made myself cry from the laughing the past two times I told this story out loud. I expect it’s even more funny when I’m not censoring HH’s language because I don’t want to upset my Grandmothers if they should read this.
I am now fully aware of what “chicken with it’s head cut off” looks like. That would have been me, sprinting around Mom’s house that day. Fantastic. More later, expect DELICIOUS recipes.