My love affair with a water demon began as a child. I’ve always been a water-baby, born in California and raised at least a part of my childhood in Florida. I spent my summers in the water and hurricane season dodging a multitude of hurricanes with taped up windows and candles.
I love water. Sit me next to a lake or ocean on a beautiful day, and I’m set. I even love the ocean on those foggy days where the mist in the air sends my hair into the height of 80’s frizz and the gray permeates everything, even one’s mood. But something changed in adulthood, something that shifted water from friend to foe.
And I wish to bloody hell that I knew what that was!
In my adult life, my husband and I have had a long history with floods. Small floods, large floods, “grab the cats, we’ve got a flood” style floods. Whether it’s been an apartment, duplex, condo, or house, whether in the city or in the ‘burbs, water has soaked us, saddened us, or ruined us (or at least our stuff).
The first time something shifted was due to a couple in a volatile relationship who lived upstairs from us. To get back at her husband, she set their toilet to overflow and left. We woke up at 7 AM on a Saturday to dirty toilet water pouring from our ceiling. We were lucky that it didn’t ruin much more than the carpet.
Our next run-in with the water demon was fairly mild. Our toilet overflowed and ran down the stairs in our duplex.
But the first real flood we experienced as a couple was when we moved into our first house. It was a rental, but it was a house and thus, special. Two hours after the movers had left, we decided to go grab some food somewhere cool. Moving during the Texas summer sucks in ways unimaginable by those who’ve never lived in Texas. Hot. Humid. Brutal.
We came home to 4-5” of water throughout several rooms in the house. The hot water heater had busted while we were gone. I’ve never tossed boxes outside so fast in my life. Boxes and boxes of books were thrown outside in the sun. Despite our fast action, we lost a lot of books and furniture to water damage.
Fast forward a few years to our first house we owned, and the curse of the hot water heater continues. Ours leaked, though we caught it fairly quickly. Then we had the hail storm of the century, which cracked our windows and left water damage throughout. (It also required a complete roof replacement, a new garage door, a new front door, new exterior trim paint, a partial replacement of our fence, and a new window). As we were selling the house, a pipe in the yard busted, flooding our front yard and requiring a pipe replacement.
This was about the time we moved to Seattle and into a condo. The water demon settled down a bit and left me to enjoy my days writing in front of the water. With a job change came another move and a few weeks before we were set to list our condo, the hot water in the condo above us burst while everyone was away at work.
There’s little worse than working a writing conference and getting the phone call that a flood is a-foot. Water was pouring out of light fixtures, turned on light fixtures no less. Despite emergency flood people arriving within the hour (thanks home owners’ insurance!), the hard wood floors were toast. Instead of listing the condo, we spend the next two months having drywall and new floors installed, walls painted, and damaged household items and furniture replaced. Despite insurance, this flood hurt us financially, not to mention the stress of such an event on us and our kitties.
This was the flood that made me wish that water wasn’t attracted to me. (You can read more about it HERE.)
During this time, we relocated to temporary housing since there was no way we could live in a house with no flooring and holes in the walls. Two weeks into our stay in temp housing, the water heater burst and partially flooded the apartment. Luckily it came furnished, so none of our belongings were damaged. Just about everything we owned had been packed up in storage during the transition, so this flood did little to damage us. But the timing on it—its proximity to the condo flood—set me on edge.
I hated water. Just a little.
The house we live in now has been a roller coaster from the get-go. I love it—it’s a beautiful house—but it’s a lemon. We’ve replaced most of the electrical wiring (including both circuit breaker boxes), 1 toilet, a shower door, parts of the other toilets and showers, the plumbing under two sinks, one full water line, all the window screens, some siding, the refrigerator (which was held together by velcro), the gutters, and a whole host of other things–some of them major and some of them minor. The place still needs a new balcony (ours is rotting away), a new exterior paint job, a new gas fireplace, and new windows.
Every house has issues and maintenance, sure, but without getting into the back story of this house, let’s just say this house is a lemon.
Last week, we sprouted a leak. Water pooled at the bottom of the stairs in the basement and in the furnace closet. One emergency plumber later and it was deemed to be the basement toilet. That was fixed, the carpet was finally approaching clean and dry, and then the water returned.
In all likelihood, it’s the shower. Possibly a lack of shower pan, which requires gutting tile and lots of money. The plumber will be checking that soon.
Anyone know an exorcist? 😉 I need to get back to writing.
Screenshot from Labyrinth, Copyright © 1986 Henson Associates and Lucusfilm. Used under Creative Commons license.