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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Christmas Miracle

So, if you don't think Christmas miracles really happen, you might want to read this tale. Be forewarned...It's lengthy!

It was Christmas Eve Eve Eve and we had just gotten back from two parties including a Bluegrass Christmas at Dallas' shop.


It was a nice reprieve from the kitchen where I had been spending most of my time making more cookies than the Keebler Elves. It was about midnight when my husband turned on the dishwasher so everything would be nice and clean for me to resume my baking duties bright and early the next morning. About five minutes after it started I heard a cry from the basement, "Elena, get down here quick! We have a serious problem!" I was already in bed and groaned as I made my way down the stairs, "What now?"

I stopped short when I saw water spraying down from the ceiling in the laundry room. "Where's that coming from????" "It's gotta be the dishwasher!" "Well, shut it off!" My husband bounded up the stairs and yelled down, "Ok, it's off!" The stream of water became a sprinkling and then just drops bouncing off the top of the washing machine. I threw a towel on the machine, not daring to look inside at the clean clothes I hadn't yet put in the dryer. We pulled the plug out of the wall so a fire wouldn't start and threw dirty towels on the floor. Exhausted from all the pre-Christmas shopping, wrapping, cleaning, baking and cooking I couldn't deal with it at that moment. We both collapsed in bed.

The next morning I hoped I had had a nightmare and really hadn't experienced what I thought I had. My out of town guest would be arriving by the end of the day, and I still had massive amounts of cleaning, baking, cooking, and wrapping to accomplish. The last thing I wanted/needed was to make a trip to Lowe's to buy a dishwasher. Unfortunately, when I went to get the coffee pot out of the dishwasher I saw it was still filled with water and I realized I hadn't been dreaming.

Everything got put on hold while my husband went to work on removing the dishwasher. I was cursing it, "It's only a year old...I thought Maytag was supposed to be a decent brand! Look at these prices. We can't afford one right now. I'll just wash everything by hand." Although I was having people over Christmas Eve, and a house guest all week, it wouldn't be the ideal situation I wanted, but it was doable.

"Hmmm, that's strange," my husband murmured while laying on his belly with his head under the cabinet. "It's dry back here. I can't see where it's leaking from." "Maybe it's not the dishwasher, but it's leaking from the sink," I ventured. "It's not wet under the sink either." "Let me see what happens when we run water." So my husband turned the water back on and quickly realized that was a mistake. He forgot that the hose normally connected to the dishwasher was still uncoupled. You know those comical scenes where you see a fire hose that cannot be handled spraying all over the place? Yeah, that was us.

"The cookies! Save the cookies!!!" I ran the trays into the other room while water sprayed everywhere, my husband shouting, "Hand me the crimper!" Bella thought we were playing with the hose and she started jumping on my husband trying to catch the spray in her mouth, while I searched for the crimper. Of course I didn't know what the hell a crimper was, so couldn't find it. Meanwhile my husband folded the hose to slow the stream and pointed to the tool. Oh, he meant the pincher! He handed off the pinched hose to me, "Hold this tight while I go downstairs and turn off the valve. Don't let it go!" I tried my best, but after days of abusing my arthritic hands with the horror, I mean joys of Christmas preparations, I couldn't keep it closed long, so I let it stream down the drain, and apparently on top of my husband's head. Bingo, it wasn't the dishwasher after all! I was happy for a second until I was informed this was much worse. It must be a pipe in the wall. Craptastic!

So I had the bright idea that maybe something was jammed in the pipe, like hardened baking oil or something, and all that would be needed to make everything okay was to roto-rooter the pipe. Although my husband didn't think that was the problem, I insisted he humor me and use that piece of equipment that I bitched about him buying when the sewer drain in the basement got clogged. So he did it. And then we turned the faucet on to see what would happen. I heard him scream from the basement to shut it off, shut it off! Apparently we had made it worse as the stream was now a gusher that no number of dirty towels could sop up.

I thought, Christmas is ruined! I could go without a dishwasher, but there was no way I could have guests over without a kitchen sink. What would I do wash dishes in the bath tub like Kramer on Seinfeld? We'd have to cancel Christmas Eve. There was no way we could get a plumber on a Sunday on Christmas Eve Eve. My husband directed me not to panic yet, and he called our plumber who answered the phone. My excitement became as damp as my kitchen floor when I heard my husband say, "Oh wow, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you heal soon." He had just gotten out of the hospital, so he wasn't available.

I wasn't even upset at that point. Actually, I found the whole situation amusing and began to laugh. "I give up. Jesus, I'm putting this in your hands. Whatever happens, happens. I'm tired of cleaning anyway, so it's all good." My husband directed me not to "give up yet" as he had met a friend of Dallas' last week who was a plumber, so maybe he would help us. Nothing to lose, call Dallas. Of course Dallas doesn't have a phone, so the only way to contact him was to track him down. And track him down my husband did. And then they tracked down the phone number of the plumber. My husband left a message, but didn't have high hopes. Joe the plumber called within five minutes, and said he would be right over. And he kept his word.

After he cut open the wall, he discovered a pipe back there was indeed the culprit.


It had rusted right through and would have to be replaced. He advised us to change the entire pipe from the kitchen down into the basement, a major job, but for now he would concentrate on just getting me up and running. He worked almost three hours and completed the job in time for him to watch the Giants on television.


I then found out he was originally from New York! "Couldn't leave a fellow Yankee out to dry on Christmas." After paying him a fair sum, I handed him a large bucket of homemade cookies. He left smiling, and even though we still had a long way to go, we were smiling as well.

Angels really do exist...this time mine happened to be a plumber!

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