Laura Zoeller

Disrupting the family circus act

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Monday morning dawned cloudy and damp, both inside and outside our house. I had gotten up to make the kids some breakfast – plain old French toast that my son described as “a circus covered in cinnamon” – and to pack their lunches. I had heard our life described as a circus in the past, but never quite in that manner, so I was chuckling as I asked my young son to go to the basement freezer and grab another loaf of bread so I could finish cooking.


He had barely made it down two steps when he stopped.


“Mom, we have a problem,” he said.


“We’re going to have a problem if you don’t bring me that bread,” I replied.


“No, really, Mom, there’s a pipe leaking water all over the floor,” he answered back.


If there is ever a good time to have a leaky pipe, it is certainly not on a Monday morning before 7 a.m., when your day is booked with interviews, root canals, hair appointments and youth group meetings. It is not when your husband, who admittedly has little success when working with plumbing – and even less skill controlling his mouth when attempting it – is backing down the driveway to leave on his first hay delivery of the day. It would be like adding one too many balls to the circus seal’s act.


Indeed, there was water all over the basement. It was dripping from the ceiling, running off the water heater and dripping off the pump. It collected itself and became a small river of water that ran between stacks of totes holding holiday decorations and a pile of egg cartons. It meandered around the corner, pausing just long enough to fill up one of my tipped-over boots, before heading to the floor drain and back to the ocean.


My husband was less than excited to return to the house for such a cause. I could hear his apprehension before I saw him. He went downstairs while mumbling something under his breath. I’m not sure what a “Frankenplumber” is, but I am pretty sure I heard him say that he isn’t one.


A couple of seconds later, he announced that he thought he had found the problem and could use my help. I fumbled around like a clown trying to find shoes, especially after the only pair I found were two sizes too big, and headed downstairs.


He had, indeed, located the problem – a connection had worked itself loose, allowing a joint to work free. Once we managed to turn the water off and locate a screwdriver, it was a relatively simple fix. Better yet, my plumbing-challenged husband was able to fix it without saying more than a string or two of inappropriate words.


When we were certain that the water had stopped spraying, my husband continued on his way, and I finished feeding the kids. After they got on the bus, I quickly wiped down the basement and put my boots outside to dry. Then, somewhat less enthused about my busy day than I was when I got up – and it was a Monday, so how enthused was I to start? – I headed out the door, precariously balancing the balls again. I wonder if I should sell tickets to this show?


Maybe then I could afford to call a plumber.



Laura Zoeller can be reached at zoeller5@hughes.net.


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