This piece was written from my basement while I taught my youngest to swim. I never intended to own an indoor pool, but with all the rain that filled our bottom floor, we have no choice.
But my flooded basement is only partially the problem. More accurately this piece should be called, “Helpless wives and their husbands who leave as disaster strikes.” Mine in particular seems to have an uncanny ability to get out of Dodge before a household crisis. Several years ago he was out of town when lightening struck our well pump leaving us without power and water for days.
At least this time he was in the same time zone, but that didn’t help my basement dry out. You see, when it comes to all things house, I am, in the words of a close friend not a “can-do” kind of gal, which I guess makes me a “cannot do” kind of gal.
That’s right- it takes a village to raise this housewife. So when my husband’s train pulled out of the station, I felt like I would drown. Luckily, my close friend, Mrs. “Can-Do” came to the rescue to pump my basement dry, all the while reprimanding my inability to remediate household catastrophes.
And it is downright embarrassing to be so dependent on a man or a childhood friend because I pride myself on being a self- sufficient, modern woman. So when my husband returned home to a still wet basement I tried to gain an education.
It was futile.
As soon as he mentioned drywells and down spouts I looked at him, glazed over and become Charlie Brown, sitting in the classroom, hearing only nonsensical phrases from the teacher at the front of the room.
I thought perhaps television might be a more animated teacher. I tuned into Handy Manny on the Disney channel first, figuring I needed to be eased into things. Manny is so affable, and if I could only get tools like his that would talk me through repairs I might not panic every time my husband leaves town.
After Manny helped me master the difference between a philips and a slotted I felt I had graduated to reruns of Holmes on Homes, an HGTV Canadian show where Mike Holmes, a General Contractor, helps people with renovations gone awry.
He was so supportive that I wept along with the couple whose kitchen was functional by the end of the hour. I still didn’t understand his methods, but I did understand that Mike would never roll his eyes (like my husband) or tell me a monkey could install gutter extensions (like Mrs. Can Do). I am considering flying Mike in for the next home crisis.
Until that happens, I will continue with the dumbed down version of Household 101, which is titled “Get on the phone and call a service person!”
I had absolutely no idea who to call for the basement. Plumber? Excavator? Pool guy? I consulted my cheat sheet that my husband leaves for me with all the important numbers and was still stuck.
When my husband returned and the proper service person was reached and scheduled, I decided it was my turn to get out of Dodge, as I had suffered enough humiliation over my inability to control the flood waters. So when I answered the door for the basement specialist-who knew there was such a person- I told him my husband was available but I was on my way out. “Where is your basement?” he asked.
I shrugged. “I am really not sure. I will have to call my husband.”