Monday, December 22, 2008

Spiritual Exercises for the Last Week in Advent

Yesterday, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we had great plans. (I've just used the most dangerous word in the English language, the harbinger of impending doom---at least around here---plans!)
We had *planned* to bake Christmas cookies, watch The Grinch, eat Christmas cookies, finish Christmas shopping (or start in some cases--ahem) and decorate the second, completely superfluous, decorated simply for the sake of being decorated Christmas tree with large scale Lionel train at its base.

Then it happened.

Moments, no--milliseconds, after the Captain walked out the door for Mass, while I had four very wet, very soapy little children running (and speed-crawling) in four different directions, the Boy hollered these dreaded words, "Hey, Mom, there's standing water in the utility room."

And so we did.

Beulah and Hannah were charged with corralling and dressing the bath brigade while I ran down the stairs with a lame mop and bucket. It's a bad thing when the carpet squishes beneath your feet, I thought to myself, as I entered the utility room--where, sure enough, we had water but no visible leak. The walls were dry, the ceilings were dry and the carpet, for the most part, was dry. Unable to contact the Captain by phone in the middle of Mass, I began calling my tried-and-true neighbor and family who might help me discern where the water was coming from. Given the double digit below zero weather we're having, and the fact that the lines to the outdoor faucets were wide open, made burst pipes seem like the most obvious solution. Except for the lack of water coming from, you know, the pipes. So, when my dad--the eternal optimist--cautious homeowner said, "If I were you, I'd call a plumber today," I grabbed the nearest phone.

Fortunately, the plumber was home and arrived at ours less than an hour later. In the meanwhile, I called the now out of church Captain to gently break the news to him. Nothing like an inch of water in your basement to bring down your spirits, I know, but at that point there was nothing he could do. So, I told him to head out and do his shopping and that the plumber cometh. There was nothing, he--nor I--could do at that point. He agreed. While he headed off to shop, the girls and I put into practice the same "let it go" mantra and started decorating the tree. Finished with that, we headed to the kitchen and started baking.

The plumber (and the Captain) arrived about the same time. The culprit, according to the plumber, was a bad sump pump. Several hundred dollars and a couple of hours later the problem was solved, the water began to recede and we (meaning the Boy and the Captain) started cleaning up.

This sump pump disaster gave us (yet another) opportunity to grow in virtue that we hadn't expected. We could have (and in the past probably would have) let this mess ruin our festivities and dampen--literally--our spirits. But perhaps we're learning something throughout the recent string of disruptions on the Ark. Or perhaps we're getting too tired to care. It's a thin line, but I think the relative calmness surrounding this most recent catastrophe is more the former than the later. At least I hope so. All this growing in virtue is great, but even the schools get a Christmas break from learning.


Ericka said...

oh no.
Jane, looking back at these posts.....well, you know the saying, 'what doesn't kill us....'
But, c'MON for goodness' sake.
Here's praying 2009 is uneventful and maybe even boring would be nice :)

Anne said...

You should have heard me laughing out loud because our sump pump had an 'issue' yesterday morning, too! Is that weird or what?! Ours was not as bad as yours, but we had plenty of water to clean up, but the carpeted area was safe.

So are you getting as much snow as we are?? We had 8-10 inches yesterday and then 12 inches 2 days before that and we are expecting 4-10 inches tomorrow. Now I think other thoughts when I hear, "White Christmas" and "Let it snow!"

May your Christmas find you with peace at the crib.


Becky said...

Ohhhhh man! Bring on the eggnog and cookies!