My younger (single, childless, and well-rested) coworkers like to tease me about having kids- “The stories you tell us…you’re not painting a real great picture of why we should have any!”
Flooded basements. That’s why.
Picture it- my living room, 7:35am.
I’ve just dragged one dog away from his bathroom garbage q-tip feast, pulled the other dog’s head out of a bowl in the kitchen sink, yelled at my 3 year-old for eating toothpaste (AGAIN), and begged my 6 year-old for the 4th time to “Just pick a pair of socks! ANY PAIR OF SOCKS!”
Suddenly, I hear a noise. It’s a familiar noise. It’s a loud, clunky, whooshing sort of noise.
It’s a noise that never signals anything good.
The sump pump is draining.
Why is it draining?
Well, my faithful blog-reading friends, that would be because the basement is flooded.
And so, down the stairs I run, landing in a puddle at the bottom; I watch the water creeping slowly behind me towards our luggage, and menacing slowly in front of me, underneath the washer and dryer.
The brand new washer and dryer.
The CADILLAC of washers and dryers.
The ones we furtively glanced at (like the appliance nerds that we are) every time we went to the store, from the day we closed on our charmingly drippy old house.
The ones we were forced to buy when our other, wheezing set died, in true Romeo and Juliet fashion, one right after the other, the day after Thanksgiving.
The ones that were purchased with Home Depot’s nifty 18-month financing. One month ago.
Soooo I run back up the stairs, through the house (tracking water behind me- Sorry, Husband….), and into the garage to get the shop vac, cursing the entire way, “Why the f*ck isn’t it in the basement in the first place?!”
Fast-forward about 10 minutes- my kids timidly peek into the basement to see their dear, sweet mother, sweating, crying into the phone, and cursing while fighting with the unwieldy water-sucking machine.
“Get away from the washer and dryer! I still have 17 f*cking payments left! No! Pat, no matter how much I drain, twice as much flows in! Oh my GOD more is BUBBLING in from a crack in the floor! I’m watching it bubble!…I’m leaving. I can’t stay here and watch everything get destroyed- this is ridiculous- I can’t believe this- and HOW did the downspout even rip itself off the gutter?!”
I’m the epitome of the calm, cool, collected home owner.
I hang up the phone, blow the stray wisps of hair out of my face and turn to see Vince and Grace standing at the bottom of the stairs with every bath towel we own.
“Mommy, what happened?”
“The basement flooded…I’m trying to keep the water away from the expensive, important stuff but it’s not working,” I explain, as calmly as possible but probably still looking like a soggy, swollen-eyed lunatic.
Grace runs back up the stairs (I’m assuming because she’s terrified of me).
Vince approaches me thoughtfully and holds out a pile of towels.
“I can fix this.”
“Oh? You can?”
“Yes. My friend Alex, his mom works for the water company. When I get to school I’m going to have him call her and tell her that she sent us WAY too much water.”
I turn off the shop vac and stare at him for a few seconds.
“Because then…then she’ll send someone to come get all this extra. ”
“Vince, that is the smartest, sweetest- “ I begin, but, as so often happens, I’m interrupted.
“Aaaaaaand I AM FANCYYY!!!”
We both turn to see Grace standing at the top of the stairs wearing kitty cat boots, two coats and 1 Spiderman glove.
I completely abandon the shop vac and start laughing, because what the hell else am I supposed to do??
Grace pumps her Spiderman fist triumphantly in the air and squeals, “Yayyyy!! I made you happy!”
And that, coworkers, is why you have kids.
Because they know how to fix things.