As I wrote my blog post about our toilet catastrophes Monday night, I had somewhat bought into Chris’ illness-induced nonchalant attitude.
“It’s just fine. I’ll paint the ceiling when it dries. Don’t worry about it.”
(Can I stress again how bizarre that is for him?? BIZARRE. The man curses the very concept of home ownership when too much hair gets into the shower and makes it drain slower.)
Although I was still traumatized by the event itself, I bought into the fact that I was far along on the road to recovery.
But the next morning, my friend Julie’s husband Greg read my blog post, left a completely expected snarky comment, and apparently called or texted his wife immediately to tell her (I imagine somewhat amused) of my tragedies.
Julie, being the more sympathetic of the two, texted me her condolences and offered the free advice that another friend had just experienced something similar, and that their insurance company paid for the repairs.
Insurance! What a novel idea! Last time we had a homeowner’s insurance claim (which happened to be a month before Noah was born), I simply called our agent, he took the claims information immediately over the phone, was VERY generous with the repairs that he decided we might need, and had a check in my mailbox in two days – a check that covered our expenses, our deductible, a couple house payments, and quite a few boxes of chocolate to medicate my trauma.
(From both the house repairs and the upcoming birth of my son.)
Back to present day. Thanks to Julie’s fabulous idea, without consulting my still-recovering husband, I called our agent and began the claims process.
But I suppose our damages sounded worse than last time, because our agent started throwing out scary phrases.
And I immediately began to feel as if I had perhaps stepped out of my area of expertise.
But it was too late – they had effectively scared me that if we didn’t check it all out, our house could imminently cave in under the pressure of a secret under-floor river of sewage.
So on Tuesday evening, the REAL chaos began.
ServPro brought two man-sized dehumidifiers, each with the decibel level of a Jet Engine, and six blowers that unimaginably multiplied the cacophony.
One set was put in Ali’s bathroom (now known as Ground Zero), and the other in my kitchen, meaning that there was no escaping of the mind-numbing, patience-ruining noise that otherwise could only be caused by twenty-six angry toddlers.
And they were to stay on 24/7 for the rest of the week with a technician from ServPro stopping by daily to check their progress and bring me grave, graver, and gravest news.
(I did begin to wonder if I had never called the insurance company what would have happened. Could we, perhaps, have blissfully lived the rest of our lives without knowing that a fountain flowed deep and wide deep and wide under our tiles?? Or perhaps, ten years down the road, our floor would have fallen in Money-Pit Style, and we would have vaguely remembered “that one time, when Ali flooded the bathroom…” and it would have all been much less traumatic, right?)
More phrases began being thrown around.
“Rip out the bathroom floor”
“Possibility of sewage in the carpet.”
“Take out the carpet padding.”
As Ali overheard these phrases, coupled with others like,
“Ali flooded her bathroom.”
“She didn’t come get me.”
The guilt welled up in her little soul and burst forth in a manic tirade of hyper, uncontrollable madness.
Chris came and got the kids and took them to the mall one night to give me a break from it all. And, as they were on the way, Ali explained quite carefully how she in fact was not at all to blame for this catastrophe.
She had followed the rules provided to her, and the rules had failed her.
Later, I convinced her to repeat her dissertation to me with the promise that I would blog it, since I had already told my rather one-sided version of the story.
She was quite relieved to be given the platform to tell things the way they really happened, so here’s her story, from the deepest depths of her mind:
Well I…I wiped four times just like you say I can do before flushing – and you didn’t ever think wiping four times would stop up a potty!
But I wiped four times and…and, and, and…then it stopped up the potty and then I flushed it again like Daddy always tells me to do and then it didn’t work but then I finished wiping in your bathroom and went back in my room and almost finished quiet time.
Well I was in quiet time and, I, and, I, um….
And I looked at my carpet and it was really wet, and then when I went in my bathroom it was flooded.
I tried to talk to you like about five times on my monitor and, and um…
And you wouldn’t answer so then I waited.
I didn’t come downstairs because I thought you wouldn’t be happy with me because…because you always said that I couldn’t come downstairs when Noah was asleep because I don’t want to wake Noah up.
I almost played but not quite – but that’s funny! And then in one second, you came upstairs.
So there you have it, America. The judgment is in your hands.
Was Ali to blame for a lack of common sense to understand an emergency when she found herself in one?
Or were her parents to blame for shackling her with paralyzing rules, thereby setting her up for destruction?
Epilogue: The bathroom is still in question as to whether all flooring will have to be removed. The kitchen has been cleared for repainting, Ali’s room is partially carpet-padless, and one set of blowers are still relentlessly demolishing my resolve to live.