I don’t think I know anyone who dreams of starting the new year with the same bad luck as they left the old one. But that’s the position I found myself in last weekend and it’s wearing me down. Let’s review why: A6Y4AN7C8N5W
- Back in September, our basement was infested by yellow jackets. They laughed at my lame attempts at extermination and happily went on reproducing in numbers so great I despaired of ever getting rid of them. I finally had to call a better man than me – our bug guy (for more, click here).
- We weren’t the only ones to lose trees to the freak October snowstorm, but I bet our damage was the most spectacular. Several of our wide-eyed neighbors said so. With the leaves still on them, two of our four Bradford Pear trees couldn’t handle the extra weight of the heavy, wet snow. They came crashing down, and it took me most of November to clean up our yard. I could have hired someone else to do it, but I’m too cheap (more here).
- Later in November, our kids experienced their first cold showers when our water heater died and we had to replace it (more here).
- And in December, I had to see the dentist. I know dentists aren’t bad people and mine is a nice guy. But, if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather see him over dinner and drinks than hovering over me with a drill. Anyway, I had to have a couple of crowns put in my mouth (more here).
Those are just a few of the crises we had to deal with during the last four months of 2011. Taken with others big and small, I was hoping things would settle down in 2012. So far, they haven’t.
My wife was the one who alerted me to the latest crisis. She was in the basement when I heard her shout, “I think we have a problem down here!”
When I went downstairs to investigate, she was staring up at the unfinished part of the ceiling. Water had soaked the orange insulation above her head and was slowly but steadily dripping to the floor where a small pool was forming.
Drip, drip, drip.
I stood there for a minute considering whether it really is better to own than rent (the dismal housing market notwithstanding) when my wife offered an explanation I was only too happy to embrace. She said our 10-year-old daughter flooded the bathroom above our heads after taking a shower.
As a general rule, I tend to believe that problems are caused by the most obvious things, and in my eagerness to accept my wife’s suggestion I failed to look for any other explanation. We simply mopped up the puddle with a couple of towels and left a bucket to catch the dripping water, confident that we would wake in the morning to find it had stopped.
When I got up for work, water was still slowly leaking into the basement. As an added bonus, I was greeted by an “Out of Order” sign taped to the lid of the toilet and a mop standing in the corner — sure signs of a crisis I had slept through because I go to work earlier than just about anyone else on the planet.
This new wrinkle sparked worries that our toilet was somehow responsible for our basement drip. I was so concerned that I squandered the next few hours getting more advice about how to fix leaky toilets from the handy guys at work than I ever really wanted to know. And, as it turned out, I didn’t need to know any of it.
If I had just taken five minutes to look around instead of accepting the first explanation to come to hand, I would have figured out that it was the sink in my wife’s bathroom that was troubling us. The immediate fix was simple. All I had to do was turn off the cold water supply.
My wife wasn’t amused when I told her it was just a “happy coincidence” that she had to clean up the aftermath of an overflowing toilet just as we were trying to figure out what was leaking into the basement. But she was a good sport about it.
Besides, she knows as well I do that around our house these days, going from crisis to crisis is just how we roll.