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I have learned quite a bit about myself in the years since I left my parents home.  One of the many things I learned was that I have quite a bit more to learn.  And, life is very good at finding “teaching moments” for me to learn new lessons.

Living on my own has taught me to cook beyond my previously mentioned grilling skills.  There are times, in the dead of winter, when the idea of grilling is not appealing, peanut butter sandwiches are getting old, and there’s simply no money available for pizza.  Necessity forces you to learn the skill.  And, over the past few years especially, I have begun to develop a certain level of aptitude, maybe even skill, in the kitchen.  My wife is very grateful for this.

The other thing I have learned, from living in an older, difficult to maintain home, is how to fix things I never would have even attempted on my own in the past.  Unlike my father and brother, I was never attracted to the aisles of Home Depot.  The hardware store and all its contents held no appeal for me.

It’s amazing how that changes when you have maintenance work to do.  And life loves to create mini-crises in the house at the oddest times.

Take last week.  I rose from the comfort of my bed in the wee hours and shuffled toward the bathroom.  My ears told me something was wrong before I even walked in.  After all, the trickle of water should not be heard in a darkened and empty bathroom at 4:30 in the morning.  But, my sleep addled brain assured me the toilet was running or a faucet had been left dripping.

That was until I stepped into the bayou that had been my bathroom.

The bath mat was so wet it was like stepping into a swamp, and as I quickly flipped on the light I saw that the entire room was flooded.  The culprit?  The fountain coming from below the toilet seemed to point an accusing finger at the source pipe for that porcelain fixture.  Panicking a bit, I lunged for the source pipe and quickly twisted the cutoff valve.  The water slowed….but didn’t stop. 

Damn old pipes, it won’t close completely.  Yelling to my sleeping wife for assistance, I dashed to the basement, intending to cut off the water completely.  Imagine, if you will, the depths of profanity a grown man can reach when awoken in this way at 4:30 AM to find that this cut off also will not close completely.  I finally found a cutoff specifically for the bathroom which functioned properly and turned my attention to the aftermath. 

After sopping up what we could with towels, I found that we were out of any kind of paper towels.  And thus, in a bedraggled state, covered in the sodden dust of the basement and bleeding from a new gash on my thumb, I set out to the local grocery store for paper towels.  With the mess contained I crashed for what remained of the night.

The next day, being clueless when it comes to plumbing issues, I photographed the area where the pipe appeared to have been broken and ventured to Home Depot to help.  With their help and expertise I found it should be an easy solution.

The problem? Over an hour of early morning panic, frustration, injury, and jaunts to the grocery store.

The solution? A five-minute swap of a feeder hose which had broken off its nut.

Sometimes I think that someone out there is truly messing with me and find no end of amusement in the hilarity that ensues from each little crisis he throws my way.  The thing is, I can hardly blame him.  Looking back at it now, the situation was just good comedy.


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