Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Our water heater was gushing water, and although I had no idea what he’d need to do, the send-off at least made me feel better.
He didn’t get electrocuted, but he did shut off the water. A few minutes later he was out the door with the kids, and I was left, as any spouse who stays home would be, to figure out the rest.
First, I called the plumber. It’s always a great day at my plumber’s office, according to the recording you hear while on hold. My day was not going so well, but I was glad they were happy. They’d send a plumber in an hour.
Then I called my basement guy.
“Brian?” I said. “How are you?” he asked politely.
It was 7:45 in the morning.
“Oh, you know anytime I call you this early, I’m…kind of…”
He knew the rest. I’d had brief episodes of water in the basement before, at our previous house and once at our current house when a different plumbing appliance overflowed on the first floor and caused mayhem beneath. If he could spare someone from a crew, he said, they’d come to the house that afternoon.
I went downstairs and stomped around the soggy carpet. Fortunately, or not, most of the junk in the basement was not in the path of the stream of spilled water. Still, I had my trash bag and tossed what I could.
There was not much to do at that point but wait, so I did what anyone would do, I went on Facebook. Friends diagnosed my hot water heater issue in less than a minute. The thing was dead. This is how they end their long careers—by spilling 75 gallons of water all over the house they once provided for.
When the plumber arrived he confirmed the diagnosis.
While I read descriptions of new hot water heaters, the basement man called back with a time. He’d send someone at 1pm. Great. I was in business, but what about the dentist? My oldest daughter and I had 1pm appointments. This mother-daughter-teeth-cleaning-date was going to have to wait.
“I am very sorry,” I told the receptionist when I called, “but I need to take care of the basement.”
A bit later, I was about to eat something—sans water—when the phone rang.
“Mrs. Vander Schaaff?” said the voice of my youngest daughter’s assistant preschool teacher. It was either pink eye or vomit—I knew from her voice—something for which my daughter had been quarantined and would now be sent home. It was not pink eye today.
Well, it’s lucky the water heater broke today, I told myself, I would have been in the dentist’s chair around now and unable to pick her up right away.
The day was looking up.
So, I grabbed a banana and headed out the door.
I’d get the sick kid first, then the one who thought she was heading to the dentist, and make it back home just in time to meet the basement guy with the shop vac.
Somewhere around this time I cancelled a playdate for the afternoon. Friends are understanding when both your hot water heater and your four-year-old are unable to keep things down.
After that, things moved quickly. The new water heater was almost installed. The basement guy wasted no time. The fans were blasting. There was hope for hot water and a dry carpet.
Then I remembered the chicken. Hot water or no hot water, that chicken needed to be cooked or it would spoil. I threw it in a marinade and tossed it in the fridge.
A few hours later, my husband returned home. We had hot water. We had a (nearly) dry basement. The chicken just needed to be put on the grill. I hadn’t showered or sat down for more than ten minutes, aside from in the car, but things were almost back on track.
Dark storm clouds rolled in as I kissed the kids good night. Downstairs, the boom of thunder and lightening made me nearly jump as I handed my husband the tray of chicken.
“Don’t get electrocuted,” I said, as he headed out the door to grill in a thunderstorm.
At least the day had symmetry.
This week on The Educated Mom we look at vision, or my own lack of it, when it came to my daughter's eyesight.