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.
It’s not even 1:30 a.m. when the baby wakes for the third time since bedtime.
Praying he’ll fall asleep again, I start feeding him and sigh.
Not that I expected the night to be blissful. Our boys rarely sleep through the night and we just returned to the U.S. from Europe earlier that day.
The transatlantic flight with two little ones was all fun and games. If your definition of fun and games is pure torture.
While I chomp on the word jet lag and push away the memory of the so-much-less-than-ideal flight, my husband heads for the bathroom.
My head lolls. So. Tired.
A loud rushing sound snaps me awake. What is my husband doing? I try to identify the sound. Sink faucet on full blast? No. He isn’t taking a shower, is he? That’s not it, either.
“Help!” At my husband’s strangled cry, I fly out of bed, leaving my wailing son behind.
My feet are wet before I even step onto the bathroom linoleum floor.
No. No, no, no.
“It’s stuck!” My husband, crouching by the toilet, is soaking wet up to his hair and near panic. “I don’t know what to do!”
I take in the scene. The water shut-off valve is stuck and the water supply connector—the hose thing that’s supposed to refill the toilet tank—has snapped and spews out water at an alarming rate. The connector is relatively short and skinny, but the fire-hose pressure tells me we’re in trouble.
My husband and I trade places in the small space. Irresponsible renters as we are, neither of us know where the water main is, so my husband runs downstairs for a tool with which to turn the water shut-off valve.
I try to think. How to minimize the damage? I reach for the valve but the metallic grooves just grind against my hand when I try to turn it. Not that I expected to get it to move after my husband failed. But whenever I’m getting spanked by water, I like to pretend I have at least a sliver of control.
My heart pounds as worst-case scenarios rush into my mind faster than the water onto my pajamas. What if we can’t turn it off? Who do we even call in the middle of the night—and will they answer? Would 9-1-1 consider this as big of an emergency as we do?
Please, help us, I pray.
I register the trash bin. It’s fairly small and the water pressure is so high that much of the water sprays right back out. But at least it’s something. I empty bin after bin into the shower.
My husband finally arrives, and we do the switcheroo dance again. He dives down to the floor and attacks the valve with what looks like wire cutters. He is as tool illiterate as I am, but to his credit, time isn’t exactly on our side. Plus, we have no idea where we keep the rest of the few tools we actually own.
After several long seconds of slippery wrangling, everything goes quiet.
Well, the baby is probably turning blue from all that screaming. But no more toilet water fountain.
My heart still hammering, I rush to comfort our poor baby while my husband gathers towels for water cleanup.
It’s tempting to ignore the aftermath and just go to sleep. But as parents of two small children, we know that if given the chance, messes unattended to will grow limbs, become self-aware, and kick you out of the house.
The damage to the carpet isn’t as bad as we thought, but even the bathroom ceiling is wet from the crazy spray.
When I go downstairs to scavenge for more towels, I realize it’s raining.
In the kitchen.
The large light fixture, positioned right underneath the flooded bathroom, can’t contain all the water seeping through the ceiling.
And cleaning up that mess is all fun and games. If your definition of fun and games is wet and miserable drudgery. Emptying the water-heavy light fixture is tricky business, and we get showered several times in the process.
All in all, the whole shebang has provided us with a perfect opportunity for whining and complaining. For asking why me and why now, after a torturous transatlantic flight?
So we do a little bit of that, because we’re human.
But both my husband and I know that along with all that water raining down onto our already-grimy kitchen floor, are showers of abundant blessings. Of tender mercies of the Lord.
Because our master bathroom is located above the kitchen, not the living room with semi-expensive electronics, fabric furniture, and even more carpet.
Because our oldest son slept until the rain showers in the kitchen stopped—dealing with one upset child was plenty.
Because the water supply connector could have snapped the next day instead, when my husband was at work.
Because we were home, able to deal with the disaster right away. Had the same thing happened during our four-week vacation, the entire house might have collapsed before anybody realized something was amiss.
Around 4 a.m., two and a half hours post-flush, the four of us fall back into bed. We’ve exhausted our entire supply of towels cleaning the bathroom, the kitchen, and ourselves.
I hope the kids don’t expect any more 3:30 a.m. baths.
My pillow feels just right under my head. I thank God for His mercies.
And make a mental note to ask the landlord where in the world we can find that water main.
How has it (figuratively) rained in your kitchen? Would love to hear your stories!