Traveling Man Part II – The last-minute emergency

Drip… Drip… Drip…

That’s the sound I heard at 4:30 a.m., as I headed down the basement stairs, prepping the house to leave for five days for our holiday trip down south-ish.

We live in an old farmhouse that was built in the 1800s and has a stone foundation.  The perfect conditions for rodent invasions. It’s like the Mexican border under Joe Biden’s watch down there! 😉

What?! I voted for him! I can talk trash, too!

I was going downstairs to check mouse traps to avoid coming back to the putrid stench of rotting flesh and perhaps the opportunity to empty and reset if I’m lucky. That’s when I heard the dripping.

W.T.F… why now?!

I turned to my right and saw the hot water spigot connected to my washer was leaking.  I thought the hose was loose, but it wouldn’t tighten. I went to turn the shutoff valve, and that’s when I heard “SNAP.”

Sploosh!! Hot water comes gushing out, spraying everywhere, soaking me from head to soggy socked toe, as I stood there stunned with broken ballcock valve in hand.

“Heh heh, he said ballcock! Heh heh!”

Naturally, I did what the cartoons have taught me to do and crammed the broken valve back into place to try to stop the flow. Any slight movement caused in to geyser out from the sides, spraying wildly like holding your thumb over the end of a hose.

“AMY!!!” I screamed! “Can you please go shut off the hot water?!” (Yes, I remain polite even under duress.)

Amy – “I can’t find it! Which one is it?”

Me – “I can’t move, or this is going to spray  everywhere! Ugh, why the hell did I have to come down here, God damn it!”

Amy – “Found it! …I think …what is this?”

Me – “I don’t know! I can’t move! Can you just shut off the main, please…” Water stops.”Thank you!”

With water shut off, I could finally release pressure from the leaking sieve and inspect. The valve snapped clean off. Thankfully, the water did NOT scald me.

But it was nearly 5am, and there’s no stores opened. We haven’t taken showers and can’t leave the house without running water. Even though we won’t be there, the boiler still needs to run to avoid frozen pipes.

I’m rummaging around the toolbox, barefooted, in doused pajamas, hoping and praying I miraculously have the random part I need. I don’t. “Fuck! What am I gonna do?!”

We were supposed to leave by 5am. Stores don’t open until 6 am, and since we live in the sticks, it’s an hour round trip to the closest hardware store, and we have a 10-hour drive ahead of us.

I kept wracking my brain, pacing back and forth, and that’s when I saw a hose. Attached to that hose was a ball valve. I quickly unscrewed it and tried threading it in. It fits!

I grabbed some plumbing tape, wrenched it in, and cautiously turned the water back on.  It worked! No leaks! Hurray! I saved the day! I was even able to reconnect the washer. Score!

We showered up, finished jam-packing our four-door sedan using my mad Tetris skills, and only left an hour and a half later than originally planned. It’s better than if we had to wait to go to the store. Thank our lucky stars for that hose!

We’re finally on the road! It’s been so long since the whole family has traveled together and been together for the holidays. I’m excited to see and be with everyone.

Until then, I’m using this long drive to write and reflect, read my friend Lisa Rimmert’s book, “Stay” listen to tunes, chat with the family, and count my blessings. I am thankful for this opportunity and will cherish the memories.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday! I can’t wait to feast!

Our buff turkey from Thanksgiving 2018

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