Last weekend, an insidious-looking puddle appeared in our hallway. After a bit of tentative and fruitless investigating, I went to alert permanent roommate to the problem. While I’m happy to lend assistance, this issue falls squarely in his jurisdiction.
His first reaction was to throw a little blame at the dog, to which I took the stand in the dog’s defense. He’s my dog; he doesn’t pee in the house. Ever. Besides that, he’d been outside all evening and the puddle had just appeared.
By bedtime the puddle had become seepage stretching from one end of the 6-foot hallway to the other, along the wall which backs the laundry/bathroom. Not a good sign. After some further exploration, we decided to turn the water off in that room, put “Do Not Use” signs on the sink and toilet, and wait overnight in hopes that the water would recede, thereby proving the leak was in a specific area of the pipes.
5:00 AM the next morning: permanent roommate kissed me goodbye and headed for the kitchen to make breakfast and pack his lunch for work. While the coffee was brewing, he went to check the leak. He didn’t make it to the laundry room before water began squishing up from the carpet in the hallway with every step he took. The situation had become distinctly worse overnight.
That is how we came to find ourselves at 6:30 in the morning, standing in a dismantled bathroom. The counter top was leaning on a wall in the living room. The cabinet was outside the front door, with all the contents in a pile in the entryway. The grout and tile were a wet, muddy mess from the leak under the concrete slab pushing dirt up around the pipes from the pressure of the water. Clearly this was not how our day had looked on the books. After all, who has the foresight to pencil in personal emergency day or critical and immediate home maintenance day or, in our case, extensive bathroom pipe repairs needed. No one has the luxury of knowing these things ahead of time and this is why we end up discovering them at the last minute and at the worst possible time. Our entire schedules become rearranged around these unscheduled blowouts.
On top of all that, these circumstances don’t come in easily handled increments, allowing us to plan, breathe deep, and then take them on when we feel most prepared. They rush in along with all of life’s other messiness and beauty, in one long chain of events, like a freight train and sometimes all at once, heaping one on top the other with no regard for one’s state of mind or budget flexibility or time restrictions. On your way to work or to an important appointment… Car repairs… Doctor bills… Leaky pipes… On the first day of vacation… Three days before payday… The flu… A broken window or a faulty heater… Bad timing, unwanted hassles.
The bottom line is that there is no good time for these things. They are hassles, by very definition, and no amount of preparation or planning will enable us to avoid them entirely or make them fun when they happen.
This makes me think that the ability to roll with the punches, to accept with equanimity the unavoidable and unexpected, just may be a highly valuable commodity in one’s character. Yet, the more stress we carry about on a daily basis, the harder these “disasters” will hit. While there’s never a good time, there are definitely “worse” and ‘worst” times.
Just one more reason to make a quiet mind and a healthy, balanced lifestyle a priority. When life springs a leak, we can’t afford to be already saturated with stress. There’s a limit to how much we can take, and minimizing the daily load we carry will significantly reduce the impact of the unforeseeable.