Tuesday, July 05, 2011

When it rains, indoors

Being a homeowner warps your mind in unexpected ways. For instance, when you step into a puddle of unknown origin in the center of your toddler’s bedroom, you’ll find yourself hoping that maybe your dog isn’t as housebroken as you thought.

“Please, let it be the dog,” you’ll say to yourself before you look down at your soggy sock, because you know that if the liquid originated from anywhere other than an organic life form, you might as well start using twenty-dollar bills to sop up the mess.

This happened to me a few weeks ago, and it was the only time in my life I can remember hoping that I’d just stepped in a puddle of anything the dog might have created.

No such luck. It was water.

“Babe, nobody’s been in here all day, but there’s water on the floor in Evan’s room,” I called down the hall.

“You sure it’s water?” my wife Kara asked, coming into the room with Evan padding close behind. Life was so simple before the dog and the baby, back when indoor puddles would make Kara bat an eyelash.

Just then, the thermostat clicked and the air conditioning turned on.

“Aythee, aythee!” Evan said, pointing up at the vent.

“Yup, that’s the AC, buddy,” I said.

If you’re a bus, a tractor, a cow, an airplane or an AC unit turning on, you will not get past our son undetected.

We stood in a small huddle around the towels that were now sopping up the puddle, trying to determine why Evan’s room was slowly transforming into a rice paddy.

That’s when I noticed the water dripping down the wall. I tensed, wincing, too scared to look up, like a henchman who just realized that Batman is probably hanging from the gargoyle overhead. As if to confirm that we were getting closer to solving the mystery, a drop landed on top of the towels.

Kara looked up.

“It’s raining from the ceiling, isn’t it?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Oh, man,” I said, looking up to see the puddle on the ceiling, and the blistered paint that I’d applied two short years ago.

“Aw, maaaan,” Evan agreed.

I’ve lived in two houses over the past decade, and I can think of at least six occasions when rain has fallen from our various ceilings. I’m starting to think that water hates me, and the feeling is becoming mutual. Ever since that day in Evan’s room, I’ve been boycotting the stuff, getting my hydration by inhaling steam and swallowing ice cubes whole.

The rain in Evan’s room was especially mystifying since it was a beautiful day outside, and there’s no plumbing above his room, just attic space.

I pulled down the ladder and stuck my head into the great pink cavern. Each time I’m in the attic, for whatever reason, my primary goal is always the same: to no longer be in the attic. It’s either 107 or -15 degrees up there, and you can taste the scratchy insulation like you’re breathing in a wool sweater.

It only took a minute to locate the culprit. There, just above Evan’s room, lay a smashed PVC pipe, its shards resting on the soaked insulation underneath. Apparently, the small drainage pipe that transported water from our air conditioning unit to the outside world, like so many things, worked better when it wasn’t obliterated.

In a distant part of my brain, I could hear a replay of the plastic crunching sound I heard last time I was in the attic flinging heavy things around, getting our Christmas decorations properly stored before the 4th of July. At the time, not spending another five seconds up there seemed way more important than investigating what just got smashed.

I’ve learned my lesson. From now on, we’re leaving the Christmas stuff out year-round.

You can boil Mike Todd a drink at mikectodd@gmail.com.


  1. If you have an All Time Best collection, I nominate this column to go on that list!!!

  2. That sucks! I wonder if your subconscious is creating time-released disasters in fear of running out of topics for this article? If so, it may be time for your superego to give your id a very serious talking-to... before you get to the next big snowfall and remember that you traded your snow shovel for a b*tchin' katana.

    I sincerely hope this is the last time the Todd's are the victim of water troubles. Let me know if I can be of any help. I have some friends who are Pokemon experts and would probably know some sweet defends and parries to play against water attacks.

  3. Mike, thanks for the laugh today. I really needed it. Regards....Rich.

  4. Jon -- Thanks, man! I'll tuck this one aside in the off chance I ever have enough good ones to make a greatest hits album.

    Russ -- You have no idea how much your comment helped me to converse with my 8-year-old cousins this weekend.

    Rich -- We've been thinking of you guys all week. Thanks for the comment, and we look forward to seeing you soon.