Angelica Hagman lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two young boys. Her blog, Feast on the Word, helps her keep herself spiritually nourished and is one way she puts her weaknesses to work by having them highlight God’s genius. She also writes Young Adult fiction and keeps a writing blog.
If you’ve followed the Segullah blog for a while, you may have read my recent post, When It’s Raining in Your Kitchen. In it, I recount the thrilling adventure my husband and I had the night following a grueling transatlantic flight. My account includes a water-spewing toilet and rain in our kitchen.
Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you right here while you read it.
You’re back? Good.
Now, fast-forward to a night not too long after Segullah published my blog post. It’s about eleven o’clock at night, and I’m in bed, waiting for sleep to envelop me in its beautiful, loving arms (no, our kids still don’t sleep through the night).
Then I hear a noise. A rushing-water noise.
I poke my husband. “Hear that?”
Already mourning the warmth under the covers, I scramble to the scene of the previous crime: our master bathroom. But this time, no water is spewing from the toilet water connector, or from anywhere else.
Still, my fear lingers. My husband seems a little too eager to drift off to Dreamland, so I poke him again.
“What if a pipe in the wall burst?” I say. “Go turn off the water main to see if the noise stops” (because I’m bossy like that).
We descend the stairs together (because I’m great at emotional support).
On our way to the garage, we hear a dripping sound from the kitchen. With the pure dread that can only follow the memory of past experiences, we flip on the lights.
Sure enough. Water seeps through the large rectangular light fixture in the middle of the room and a smaller light over the sink.
It’s raining in our kitchen. Again.
We hurry outside to turn off the water main – which we, because of the previous flooding incident, now actually know where to find – and soon after, the water stops rushing. Hallelujah! In my mind, I’m already drafting Part II of my Segullah blog post. Something about life preparing us for big emergencies by first sending us a smaller emergency that forces us to locate the figurative water main.
The next morning when I return from a quick shower-only visit to the gym (because asking the neighbors for shower access is awkward), I find my husband and the handyman below the kitchen light. I don’t know why the lack of water underneath their feet makes puddles of unease form in my stomach.
“We turned on the water main,” they explain. “And…nothing. The water works fine. No leaks. We have no idea what the issue is.”
One plus one equals fifty-four. That’s about how much sense this whole thing makes to me.
But this is good news, right? Sure, we have no clue what the issue was/is. And living in constant uncertainty stinks – do we turn off the water main every time we leave the house, so we don’t return to a flood?
Also, that Segullah blog post is slipping through my fingers like…well, water.
The day passes without incident, though, and as I’m drifting off to sleep under my warm covers, I’m beginning to wonder if such things as unicorns and self-healing pipes really do exist. But then…
Yup, you guessed it. That same rushing-water noise behind the wall.
We’re basically professionals by now, and the water main is off faster than you can say disaster. The rushing waters stop.
And apparently, water is flowing down the outside wall of the house, too.
At this point, Confusion is King.
But it’s time to adapt, to enter survival-of-the-fittest mode. Too bad Charles Darwin would place me in the “headed for extinction” category.
There is no light on this side of the house, so after grabbing a flashlight, I inch forward on the cold and wet cement path on my bare feet (because I didn’t even think to grab shoes, which indicates Darwin would categorize me correctly).
The weak beam of light isn’t that helpful but after a few moments of considerable squinting, I get it.
The words automatic timer now threaten Confusion’s reign.
“It’s one of the neighbors’ sprinklers – it’s gone haywire!” I shield myself from the spray. “It must be shooting straight into the house somehow!”
What?! is right. There is just one second-floor window on this wall, and it’s firmly shut. The spray seems to reach higher anyway, maybe even to the roofline.
Instead of yanking our neighbors out of their carefree slumber to ask them to please shut off their sprinkler system, we decide to fight off the water until it stops automatically and approach them in the morning (because we’re cowards like that).
Dodging the water dripping from the light fixtures, we tear open the kitchen cupboards to look for something, anything with which to fight off the murderous sprinkler.
I hand my husband a cookie sheet. “Go for it” (because I’m chivalrous like that).
Maybe Darwin was wrong about me, after all.
Preparing for the shower ahead, my poor husband removes his t-shirt (too bad it was dark, right?). He pulls himself up the fence a bit and before I can wish him luck, water attacks the cookie sheet. The smattering makes me think of gunfire.
A knight in untraditional armor, my husband bravely fights the cold water in the not-so-warm night. Darwin would have been proud. He has to take a break or two, though: it’s surprisingly demanding work, battling sprinklers with cookie sheets. Who knew?
Finally, the sprinkler fizzles out, as if offended by our feeble efforts to fight it. We mop up the water in the kitchen. Again.
The next day, Confusion is finally dethroned.
This is what happened: The sprinkler spray did reach up to the roofline of our two-story house, burst through a small rectangular air vent panel, and then trickled down to produce rain in the kitchen.
What. Are. The. Odds?
Even as I pen this blog post, I’m not sure what lesson to draw from our experience. So I go for the obvious (because I’m lazy like that):
There are just some things life can’t completely prepare us for, because they are just too…random. So life prepares us the best it can, pushing us to at least locate the figurative – or, in our case, literal – water main.
Knowing where the water main is located definitely helps. But much confusion may still follow, and plenty of creative thinking and Darwinian adaption may be required.
So, consider yourself warned:
At some point in the future, you may find yourself figuratively fighting a renegade water sprinkler with a cookie sheet (or, because you’re just as chivalrous as me, you volunteer someone else to do it for you).
And who knows – maybe your adaptation and survival skills will even make Charles Darwin proud.
How has life prepared you for unpredictable experiences? How do you adapt and employ creative thinking when life throws you curve balls?