COL Some days, the lessons pour in

SIt started out as an ordinary day. With an unusual amount of ambition and it being a terribly hot, humid day outside, I decided to tackle a job in the house that every American housewife doesn't look forward to -- cleaning the bathrooms. Not just your everyday cleaning, but the kind of cleaning where you swab, disinfect, scrub, polish, dust and organize; and anything else it takes to make it sparkle.

Things were moving along just fine and on schedule. As I stepped back to survey my work, I decided to add an extra touch. My favorite old picture, which had never found the right spot in this house, would really dress up a bathroom. After all, think of the hours in these "sitting" rooms. Might as well make it homey!

To make a long story short, as I stood on the stool, ready to hang the picture, I dropped it. No, the picture didn't break. But it did slip between the tank and the wall. Immediately, I could hear gushing water. Come on, just because the picture was of a waterfall, this was a bit too real. I looked down, only to see the bathroom floor being flooded -- fast. I panicked.

Instead of using my head and looking for the valve with which to shut the water off, something I never had to do in this house, I ran upstairs, out the door, and yelled "Help! Come quick!" My husband wasn't sure what crisis was now taking place but responded immediately. (He later told me he was sure I had see a mouse.)

As for me, I hurried back downstairs to survey the damage. I didn't realize how many gallons of water can run out of a pipe in such a short time.


Do you remember the story we all read in grade school about the little boy in Holland who plugged the hole in the dike with his hand for hours and saved his country? Well I know how he felt! Back in the bathroom I was able to stick my finger in the hole in the wall where the pipe had broken off and stop the water until husband came (after what seemed like an eternity) and shut off the water.

Water surely travels fast. By now it had reached the furnace room, the laundry room, the toy closet, the rec room; and needless to say, the bathroom was mighty wet! And the worst part was that this catastrophe occurred on a Saturday afternoon.

After a few choice words (from me) and looking over the mess, our first thought was where to get parts on a weekend. Fortunately, there are still a few people besides farmers who work more than five days a week. Thanks to them and my husband, the pipe was repaired after several hours of work and two trips to town.

As for me, I really got a lot done that day; much more than I had anticipated. Since the toy room was sort of messy, it needed a good straightening up. I had been wanting to scrub the furnace room, and the same for the laundry room. And the bathroom? Wow, does it shine or what!

Besides all of this, there were several lessons to be learned. For one thing, every lady should know where the valve is to shut off the main water line to their home. If you don't know, please find out before you go to bed tonight.

The second thing is that we should always be thankful for water and never take it for granted. It was so nice to have it running again by nightfall.

The third thing I was very grateful for was the fact our home has never been among the number of homes that are flooded each year around the world by heavy rainfalls. What a mess that must be.

And lastly, husbands know much more about certain things than woman do and can be very wonderful!

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