It had been a good morning, so far. Sleep that had been evading me all week had stuck around through the night and I even woke up early, ready to launch into a packed day with a vengeance. Going about my morning routine, I took out the dogs and then headed to the kitchen to make my coffee. As I was walking through the house, I saw it – the puddle of water oozing its way across the bathroom floor like clear lava.
I walked in, following the stream to the toilet and peeked underneath to find a heavy drip of water plopping from the hose underneath. From my vantage point, it appeared to be coming from near the shut-off valve. Now, as an independent, highly self-sufficient woman, I could fix a toilet if I needed to, but being married to a maintenance man has had its perks over the last 20 years.
Namely, I don’t have to fix toilets.
The toilet had been making a noise and I knew my husband was checking on it, so I picked up the phone and called him to let him know there was a leak, that it appeared to be coming from near the shut-off valve and it was large enough to spread across the floor. He said he was on his way to look at it; I disconnected the call and began gathering clean-up items – the carpet cleaner, towels and a bucket for under the toilet until he made it home. No biggie. As I said before, it had been a good morning and I would still have enough time to do all the clean-up and get started with work on time.
Placing the bucket under the leak, I noticed water oozing down the side of the hose. Realizing it was actually coming from the connector at the base of the toilet, I reached up and put my fingers around the nut.
A blast of cold water hit my face as the hose broke loose. Shocked, I scrambled to grab onto the now wiggling snake gushing water out with the force of a mini firehose, as the front of my shirt absorbed the direct hit. Panic set in as water continued to dump out.
“Shut-off valve! Shut-off vaaallllvvveee!” my inner problem solver screamed.
Still blinded by my abrupt frigid bath, I reached down and grasped the valve. I turned. Nothing. I tried again. It didn’t budge. What had been just panic morphed into terror as the water continued to jet from the hose onto the floor around me. Visions of heaved up linoleum and soaked carpet flashed through my brain.
“The tub! Point it at the freakin’ tub!” she yelled again.
Against its will, I shoved the tiny, little hose of destruction toward the bathtub, but the stream was not that easily swayed from its course. The raging torrent hit the wall of the shower, splayed out, forced itself up the wall to the ceiling and rained down on top of me in a deflected mist. I adjusted the stream and heard shampoo and conditioner bottles falling against the porcelain bottom of the quickly filling tub. But, it had stopped raining. That was good. Looking around the bathroom, my eyes landed on my phone sitting on the sink, small water droplets speckling its darkened screen.
Reaching over with my free hand, I pressed the Google assistant button, yelled into my phone for it to call my husband and put it to my ear. Under the deafening sound of rushing water, I barely caught his, “Hello,” before I yelled, “Hurry up!”
The water, taking advantage of my distraction, shot back up the wall and rained down again on top of me. Looking up at the cabinet, I quickly opened the door, shoved my phone inside to keep it safe from getting any wetter, then turned my attention back to the battle at hand. Pushing its force back into a safe angle, I sat back on my heels and assessed the situation around me while I waited, peeking every so often through the bathroom door to see if my husband had made it home, knowing I wouldn’t be able to hear over the roar of water. Soaked, cold and struggling to keep the hose at the right angle, I waited.
Then the dogs barked and I peeked over to see the flash of my husband coming through the door and down the stairs to the main shut-off valve. Its life force finally cut off at the source, the hose went limp in my hand and the sound in the room equalized to normal.
As I dropped the hose and stood up, I felt the weight of soaked clothes against my now freezing skin; water dripped in steady droplets from my hair and face. It started slowly, just a little chuckle as I imagined my appearance, then escalated from there. My husband appeared in the doorway to find a bedraggled, saturated wife laughing hysterically in the middle of a drenched bathroom.
The crisis averted, I changed clothes and started cleaning up, while he assessed the toilet and worked on getting supplies. It didn’t take long. My inner problem solver had helped ensure there was no real damage to contend with and he fixed the toilet in short order. Water was sucked up. Walls and ceilings were dried off. Wet clothes, towels, and a bath mat were thrown into the washer.
I finally got my coffee.