Copyright 2009 by David L. McClure
There are some storms that you can see approaching from miles away. You see the ominous line of dark clouds and you know that you must go out and roll up the windows and lash down the patio furniture as well as the occasional beagle or poodle. And then there are the storms that sneak up on you, zapping you with bolts of despair and exhaustion as you play this ever maddening game of trivial pursuit otherwise known as ‘life’.
This particular ‘storm’ started out on a Friday morning, innocently enough with me kissing my wife goodbye as I headed out to Houston to coach a rag tag bunch of non-athletes in a basketball game between Dallas Christian College and Bay Ridge Christian. ‘Non-athletes’ hardly depicts their lack of ability. The team included two young men from Belize that could dribble the ball better with their feet then their hands.
It would be a quick turnaround, leaving Friday and returning late Sunday night after a swing through Louisiana and Houston. My wife groggily said goodbye and then murmured something ever so vague, apparently still half asleep. “I’m going to fix the leaky tub faucet while you’re gone.” I reached for my bag and didn’t reply at first.
“The forecast today calls for partly cloudy skies and a strong chance of a major storm by three a.m.” I froze in my tracks. Is that a cloud I see forming in the distance?
“What did you say?” I replied in disbelief.
“I’m going to fix that leaky faucet in the shower”, she said in a louder voice.
I dropped my bag and ever so gently leaned next to the bed. I kissed her on the forehead and explained how I would repair it the following week. She reminded me that I had been putting it off and she would attempt to repair it as more clouds began to form in the distance.
Now, my wife is a wonderful lady. She loves to cook but the kitchen resembles an apocalyptic war zone afterwards. Ordinary bags of flour somehow become exploding powder kegs. She loves to decorate but hates to clean. She would rather mow the yard than fold the clothes. She is a lot like ‘Rosie the Riveter’. She would rather attempt to bolt a wing on a P-51 Mustang than mop a floor! Unfortunately, her ambition at times leads her to believe that she can do anything, even repair a water line with a lethal amount of water pressure built up behind the deteriorating rubber washer that had been allowing the water to drip…drip…drip.
This just in from the National Weather Service: a severe line of storms is moving in the direction of Coach McClure’s house in Plano, Texas. Be advised to take shelter in the near future!
Three words, I know I said them clearly as I was heading out of the homestead. ‘DON’T DO IT!’ Yes, I am almost certain I uttered those words of wisdom. Now, there is a little book that details the language barrier between men and their wives. It is called, “That’s Not What I Said!!” It’s a great book to help us understand the psyche of the female of the species.
For example, when we say, ‘Where do you want to eat?’ And the female replies, ‘I don’t care!’ What they really mean is, ‘keep driving in and out of restaurant parking lots until I make a positive sounding groan, at which time I will allow you to pull over and open my door and purchase a meal that I will later on describe as being ‘fair at best.’ When we say ‘don’t’, they hear, ‘sure, whatever you do will be fine!’
I can’t explain it! All I know is men are from Mars and women are from Uranus…and they want to drive a Saturn and have a dog named Pluto and have us buy them pearls that glow like the moon even though they no longer resemble ‘Venus’. So even though I am a martian, I spoke the queen’s English whenever I said, ‘Don’t do it!’, which for my wife ‘Rosie’ was Latin for ‘the wrenches are in the garage, have at it!’
Now, a far less arrogant man would have taken the time to make sure his tools were well hidden, but no..not me! I just strode out my castle, paying no attention to the various pipe wrenches and crescent wrenches that hung in full view of my Rosie.
Friday night we drove to a small town in Louisiana and promptly lost by fifty points to a Christian team loaded with great athletes who just happened to be out on parole for the weekend! Saturday night we traveled to the south of Houston to take on Bay Ridge Christian College. They beat us by twenty. They only had four players. You’ve heard of the ‘Hoosiers’? We were the ‘Loosiers’!!
Sunday after breakfast we loaded up the van and began the trip home, discussing the potential for dropping basketball as a team sport and adding soccer or badminton. We were too far from the Dallas area to see the thick bank of clouds approaching my castle far away.
There my wife stood, staring at the faucet, calculating how she could tighten it up a bit more, despite my claim that it was as tight as it could get already. She lifted the orange pipe wrench and fastened it’s steel jaws around the shiny nut behind the faucet handle. It wouldn’t budge.
“Well,” she thought, “maybe if I loosen it a bit first…..” And thus, the flood gates opened. Somewhere in North America, the water pressure fell off sharply at that moment! Somewhere firefighters suddenly lost pressure in their hoses!!
The water exploded from the faucet so hard it shot across the bathtub and began to erode the wall across from it, causing Rosie to scream for the kids to bring buckets and pails. She tried in vain, bless her heart, to get the washer and the faucet back on. She would have had better luck trying to get toothpaste back into a tube or me back into the leisure suit we were married in! The torrent of water was relentless.
A river of water filled our bedroom and snaked it’s way down the hall towards the living room. It was like someone had opened up a fire hydrant in our bathroom. By the time a family friend had arrived, the wife and kids looked like a family of terrified mice trapped below the deck of the Titanic.
The following is a warning from the National Weather Service: This is a flash flood warning for the 1200 block of Bass Drive. Radar indicates that a heavy thunderstorm has dropped twelve inches of rain INSIDE the McClure household. Be advised, more heavy weather is headed towards the area.
By the time I had dropped off the last member of the croquet team and parked the school’s van, it was nearly two thirty a.m. I felt like I had lead in my pockets when I unlocked the front door at around three. I took two or three steps toward the sofa where Rosie was sound asleep. The floor made an unusual ‘squishy’ sound as I walked. I stopped and looked down to see that I was standing in a couple of inches of water. I looked in horror down the hallway and saw that the water was even deeper.
Lightening struck in my brain! I kicked the sofa to gently wake up Rosie and I screamed, ‘What the hail is going on here?’
Now, for as long as I can remember, I have always been the member of this relationship that handled all of the impressions, be it mountain lions or Bill Clinton. But, at this exact moment, my wifey channeled the spirit of ‘Lucille Ball’. She sat straight up on the sofa and began the ‘Oh,Ricky’ chant! She said something about trying to fix a faucet and a torrential downpour…or outpour….followed by a stream of tears down her cheeks.
I am sure she said more, but I stopped listing right after the comment involving the words, ‘…tried to fix the faucet’. She had me at ‘I found your wrenches!
“Look here. See, moving up from the south, you’ve got this cold front, a coach that is mentally and physically exhausted…and over here in Plano, there’s this ambitious warm front called ‘Rosie’ and she is carrying a butt load of moisture…and they’re gonna collide right here in Plano, Texas….this could be…the Perfect Storm!”
I raced down the hallway, making the sound of a duck running from a ‘gator as I went. The bedroom was under three inches of water and the bathroom resembled a pond. I didn’t know whether to explode or go get my fishing gear out of the garage. I checked the clock, three fifteen in the morning. That meant it was already Monday and I would have to get up to go teach in four hours.
Rosie stuck her head around the corner and said, “Let’s just go to bed and then we can clean this up tomorrow.”
I turned slowly towards my soon to be ex-wife and lightening bolts shot out of my eyes as I yelled that the carpet would be completely ruined if we didn’t get the water up right now. It was a ‘mold’ thing. This was a no brainer. I would have to wet vac the house right away.
I gathered up my hurricane force temper and raced to the all night Wal-Mart. I only had enough money for the two gallon vacuum, thereby insuring a much more tedious and lengthy adventure. I worked silently into the early morning hours, sucking water up and emptying the vacuum every forty seven seconds. All the while I was mentally preparing the case I would be presenting in divorce court in the not near enough future.
I had just emptied the last bucket of water down the drain and placed the few fans we had around the room when I spied the clock on the nightstand. It read, 5:54 a.m. I looked for a clean dry t-shirt to throw on for my sixty six minutes of hibernation. I saw the shirt I had worn the night before, sitting on top of a shoe on the floor, miraculously dry. I scooped it up and threw it on and collapsed on the bed.
Rosie lay silently next to me. ‘She could have the pipe wrench in the divorce,’ I thought to myself, ‘to remind herself of this watershed moment in our relationship!’ Then I heard her soft, sweet voice.
“I was only trying to help, babe”.
I sighed and said, “It’s okay” and began to drift off to sleep. That is when I felt it, a burning sensation on my chest. Then another and another. My chest was on fire! I ripped off my t-shirt to find hundreds of fire ants on my chest. Apparently, during the flood, they sought out the highest ground in the room. That would have been the shirt perched atop the shoes.
I jumped up and ran into the shower and turned it on. No water came out! It would seem that someone had turned the water off due to a flood caused when a woman tried to fix a dripping faucet that her husband had promised to fix, sooner or later. I ran back towards the kitchen and fell flat on my face, onto a soaked piece of carpet I had missed. The fire ants on my chest drowned, I think.
They say that one day I’ll look back on
this and have a good laugh. I suppose it will happen, sooner or
later. Whatever is wrong around the house gets repaired, sooner than
later. But just in case, sitting in the garage is a ten gallon wet
vac and a case of fire ant spray. Above it is an umbrella, because I
know, there’s a storm coming.
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