This week, my daughter galloped down the stairs to the basement and then my husband and I heard the words every homeowner hates to hear: Is that water on the ceiling?
My husband promptly transformed from “television trance mode” (when he clutches the remote to his chest like a newborn baby and lapses into a meditational state where he hears nothing and sees nothing except what is on the television) into “freak-out mode” (when his face turns red, his blood pressure elevates to dangerous levels, and he starts yelling words he should either not be saying at all or at the very least, should be attempting to spell in front of the children).
He ran over to the ceiling and stared at it as if willing the water to disappear. When nothing happened, he grabbed a chair, stood on it, and touched the ceiling. “IT’S WET!” he yelled. For a minute I thought I was transported into a scene in a Superman movie when he added, “We must find the source and eliminate it immediately!”
While I waited for him to change into his tights and cape in a phone booth, I ran upstairs to the bathroom. “I think the toilet is leaking!” I shouted. He sprinted past me as I stood on the stairs, obviously distracted by the picture I had just conjured in my mind of him wearing tights.
“**#*$**&#)))_))@#(**$*!” I heard a barrage of swear words and then a sound every sane homeowner doesn’t ever pan on hearing when a toilet is allegedly leaking … FLUSH!
“Did you just …” I didn’t get to finish my sentence as he flew past me again, this time running down the stairs.
“**#*$**&#)))_))@#(**$*! The wet spot is getting bigger!” he announced as if this was a huge surprise. After a minute or two of unbearable silence, he said, “NO ONE … AND I MEAN NO ONE … IS TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!”
Suddenly, everyone had to go to the bathroom. My daughter started jumping up and down. My son threatened, “I don’t know how much longer I can hold it!” I secretly wondered if there was such as thing as self-catheterization.
Then, we realized this was 2009 and we had more than one bathroom. A collective sigh of relief passed over the room. “I didn’t really have to go,” my son said. “Me neither,” my daughter added. “I’m okay too,” I said.
I calmly walked over to the phone and called the plumber, asking him to come first thing in the morning to fix the toilet.
After a fitful night of sleep where I dreamed our entire house was immersed in sewer water, the next morning the plumber showed up and saved the day. Apparently we had a faulty doohickey that caused the thing-a-ma-jig to fail. “Not a big deal,” the plumber said as he smiled and waved and got into his 2008 Lexus.
And then my husband said the words that every wife hates to hear from a man whose strengths lie in different areas that home repair: The next time this happens, I think I can fix the toilet myself.
“**#*$**&#)))_))@#(**$*!” And I forgot to spell my words that time too.