I was exhausted and thinking about sleep when she knocked lightly on my bedroom door.
“Mom, there’s water in the bathroom.” Her panicked expression told me more than her words did.
I jumped from bed and ran the few feet to the main bathroom located between the two kids’ bedrooms. I heard the water before I saw it pouring from the cabinet beneath the sink.
I grabbed the handle under the sink and cranked it until the spraying water slowed and finally stopped. Then I assessed the situation. (In other words, I completely freaked out.)
I immediately began grabbing towels–big, small, dirty, clean–soaking up the inches of water on the tile floor and tossing them into the tub.
Though it’s a blur now, it was a blur then, too. I believe I was chanting something like, “OH NO! OH NO! OH NO!” Only hours earlier, our handyman had finished painting the patched drywall on my office ceiling, the site of a previous water leak six months ago.
My daughter watched, asking, “What can I do? What should I do?” and I said, “Towels. Towels. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.”
Eventually, we drew a crowd–my husband, one of my sons. My son began soaking up water from the carpet. We ran out of towels. Then my daughter appeared again and said, “There’s water coming out of the smoke detector in your office.”
OH NO. I ran downstairs and found a steady stream of water flowing from the smoke detector. I grabbed a giant metal bowl from the kitchen and stood under the stream, catching the water. Now I was completely immobilized and freaking out in place. About that time, my son asked what he should do and I said, “Get a ladder?”
He did and soon I was standing on the metal rungs of a ladder, barefooted, collecting the streaming water. I felt like I was on a Survivor Immunity Challenge. I was sweaty and wet and my feet were in agony.
Then the smoke detector started shrieking. I yanked out the battery while water ran down my arms and the shrieking continued. In fact, every smoke detector in our house joined the mad chorus, blaring and freaking out our poor dog, Lola.
I tried to disconnect the wires from the smoke detector and got a little shock and decided not to electrocute myself.
Eventually, we called a friend–at 9 PM on a Sunday night–and he came over and turned off all the power to the whole house and finally, blessed silence.
But still, water everywhere.
We did what we could–crawling over the floor to use the Wet-Vac and eventually, at midnight, we went to bed.
At 3 AM my husband woke me and told me to come downstairs. That’s when I found water dripping from various spots in the office ceiling and family room ceiling. An entire row of books on my bookshelf were soaking up water like literary sponges.
When the day dawned, I called our homeowner’s insurance and made a claim. I’d had to do this one time before.
This time, it seemed less efficient but two weeks later, we received a substantial check in the mail.
And that’s why I spent the last week packing up my office, packing up books in bedroom bookshelves, moving everything from everywhere so new carpet could be installed. We still have ceiling repairs to do but the house looks pretty great.
I’m not exactly thankful for the Great Flood of 2019, but I am super grateful for insurance and for the beautiful new carpet that I wished I could afford before but never could.
I’m also completely exhausted.