Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wet and Wild Weekend

Okay, I finally have some time to sit down and recap my wacky weekend. As well as things ultimately went, and as much fun as was ultimately had, it is not something I care to repeat any time soon.

Here was the weekend schedule, as it was supposed to have played out:

Friday (like every week):
Daycare drop-off
Daycare pick-up
Dinner and groceries

Wake at 9:30, get ready
Meet Connie at airport at 11:30
Attend shower at tea room at 2
Connie and my parents back to my house
Nice calm dinner

Sleep late
Meet friends for lunch or dinner
Possibly a movie

Sleep late
Meet friends for lunch
Connie to airport

Clean and simple, right? Ha. Let's actually start a little bit before Friday, shall we?

First, there is something you have to understand about Connie. I love her like a sister; she and I have been best friends since we were randomly assigned as roommates in college at Georgia Tech in 1996. She also has this knack for things not going quite right. I only semi-jokingly call her "Catastrophe Connie." You know the Peanuts character Pigpen? He has that little cloud of dirt that follows him everywhere. Well, Connie has this little cloud of chaos surrounding her constantly. Nothing is ever simple or straight forward where she is involved. And this weekend would be no exception.

On Thursday, Connie called me to say that her grandfather had died. She wasn't sure of the funeral details yet, so we had to wait and see if she would actually be coming or not. Ultimately, with the blessing and encouragement of her family, she decided to miss the funeral and come anyway. This has been planned for weeks, she already had her plane tickets (she moved back to Texas (her home state) several years ago), and it really is the last time she would be able to go out and do something just for herself before the baby comes. On the surface, this seemed to be the disaster we were all waiting for, but I knew it couldn't be, since nothing had actually happened to affect the weekend. The threat was there, but no real result, so the other shoe had yet to drop.

Friday went pretty well, except for the unexpected expense of four new tires. I had been noticing for a few days that there was a little bit of vibration with my car. I could mainly feel it in the steering wheel as I accelerated from 20-50 mph or so. I figured my alignment was off, and I would try to get it fixed the following week sometime, since the weekend was scheduled to be so busy with Connie, her baby shower at the tea house, and some other inevitable meet-ups with our local friends while she was here. But Friday morning, the vibration was noticeably worse, and the car was pulling quite a bit to the right. So I went straight from daycare to the dealer, were I was informed that I not only needed alignment, but four new tires as well. Great. That was not really in the budget for this weekend, but there was little choice in the matter, so four new tires were put on.

While I was there, my father called. That, in and of itself, is pretty unusual. It is usually my mother who calls, and Dad may or may not be on the phone. So the fact that he was calling, and so early, meant something was up. Sure enough, he was calling to say they were not coming. My mother was supposed to attend the shower, but she had come down with something around Wednesday. Even after three days of antibiotics, she was actually *worse* on Friday instead of better. So, #1: she didn't want to expose Connie (who is about 28 weeks pregnant) to such a rampant illness, and #2: she simply felt way too bad to travel. Dad said he hasn't seen her *that* sick in a long long time. So, no parents visiting. We also didn't make it to the grocery store Friday evening (our usual grocery night, after dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant) due to a huge heavy rainstorm. With Luke in tow and the nutty traffic, it simply wasn't worth it. I can't really complain about the rain, since we really did need it, but that was just one more errand that I had to move to Saturday morning, which was already rather busy. We stayed up a little later than we planned, until about 12:30 AM, and then went to bed. At least I would get to sleep in a bit, right?

Yeah, right. For a change, Luke decided to sleep in on a Saturday morning. It was after 8 AM when DH decided to get up and try to prep stuff for Luke, who would certainly be waking up at any moment. I was supposed to stay in bed for another 90 minutes or so. DH had also agreed to wash the outfit I was planning to wear to the shower, so he went to throw that in the washer.

I barely woke up as he left the bedroom, so I was already dead asleep again five minutes later when he burst into the bedroom. "Where's the water shut off valve for the house?" Who, huh, wah? What are you talking about? "There is a burst pipe and the kitchen is flooded. How do I shut off the water to the house?" Like I have any freakin' idea! So I grab the phone and call my father to see if he has any ideas. First, Dad doesn't even recognize my voice (I also have some kind of respiratory thing, but it is going away), but I finally get through to him that it is me, and he gives us a couple of places to look, and also says to call the water department, just in case. Remember, I've been awake for like 30 seconds. By this point, Luke is calling from his room to come get him; he's ready to get up! Joy. I throw on some clothes, beg Luke to be patient and stay in his crib for just a few more minutes, and go downstairs to see what is going on.

I don't hear any running water, so DH must have gotten the water shut off. I never even made it to the kitchen to see what was going on. I stopped several feet away, after stepping on soaking wet carpet. This cannot be happening! Connie will be landing in about 3 hours, she is supposed to be staying here, we have just shut off the water to the house, our carpet is soaked, and Luke is now screaming to be let out of his crib. Grab the child and just accept the fact that he will be splashing around the house in sheer glee while we try and assess (and perhaps repair) the damage. I immediately called our friends Ina and David to see if they could be emergency hosts for Connie should we need it, and of course they agreed. I then abandoned DH and Luke to the wading pool that was our kitchen and headed to Hope Depot.

On the way there, I realize that the other shoe has dropped. Instead of the catastrophe happening *to* Connie this time, the chaos gods decided to take pity on the pregnant lady and inflict the pain on her hosts instead. She has a place to stay in case we can't get it together (and I really believed we wouldn't be able to at this point), we'll do the shower, then I will turn her over to Ina and David's keeping and work on the house. Maybe I'll get to see her sometime later in the weekend. We'll see how it goes.

By the way, my heroes wear orange vests! I walk in to Home Depot, and I am instantly struck by the same "oh, someone, please help me!" feeling I always get there. Despite both being engineers, neither DH nor I are very handy. We can follow instructions, but as far as just "knowing" that we need a this and a that to fix this thing, that is beyond us. Home Depot scares the beegeebers out of me. Too many things I know nothing about and could only get in lots of trouble trying to use. And there are NO people standing around just waiting to help like they show on the commercials. I finally track one down and ask about renting a wet-dry vac. They send me to the rental department at the absolute far end of the building from where I am standing (and parked). And my hero steps in.

Yes, hi. I think I need a wet-dry vac? "Well, ma'am, what happened?" I explain that both my kitchen floor and my carpet now splash. "You can do a wet-dry vac if you want, but I suggest a carpet cleaner." No, see, I don't want to clean my carpet (yet), I just want the water to go bye-bye. "Carpet cleaners are *designed* to suck water out of carpet. Just leave the cleaning solution part empty. They are easier to use, more powerful, hold more water so you have to empty it less, and are cheaper to rent than a wet-dry vac." Sold! They showed me how to use it, and I was all set. All I had to do was check out. There was a line, though, so I had to wait. I glance at my phone (don't wear a watch anymore). It was 9:30. That should give me just enough time to get home, shower, and get to the airport in time to meet Connie's plane. Cue my cell phone. Caller ID says it's Connie. I figure she is calling to tell me that she is changing planes in Memphis and will see me soon. Ha.

Hey Connie, are you okay? (I don't know what made me ask that. It is not my usual way to answer the phone.) "Well, no, not really. It hasn't been a very good week for me, and today is no different." Why, do you have an inch of water in *your* kitchen? "Oh, no, you're kidding!" Nope. What's up with you? Turns out that her plane was having mechanical difficulties. They had finally gotten them fixed, but she was going to miss her connecting flight in Memphis, so she stayed where she was to try and get rerouted to Atlanta. They did that, but the earliest she could get into Atlanta was 4:30 PM. The shower started at 2, and the tea room where it was being held closes at 4! At this point, I just started laughing. It was either that or cry at this point. Now what? Well, there was really nothing to be done for Connie; the flight lands when it lands. But I now had to call my shower co-host to see what, if anything, we wanted to do. I was pretty sure it was too late to cancel (the tea room would have already made all the food for the party, so I was sure they would charge us anyway), but I had Talley check in to it anyway. Sure enough, we would be charged whether we came or not, so with Connie's blessing, we decided to have the party anyway.

I check out at Home Depot and head home. At least not having to meet Connie at the airport gives me an extra two hours to try to assess the damage to the house. By the time I got home, DH had gotten most of the water out of the kitchen, but the carpet was still soaked. The good news, though, was that it was not a broken pipe like we had originally thought. It was "just" a split hose connecting the washer to the water supply. All we had to do was turn off that spigot until we could replace it; the rest of the house still had water. We thought it was a pipe because the hose split right on top. The washer and dryer are in a little closet with bi-fold doors that face into the center of the kitchen. When the hose split, the water shot almost straight up, hit the ceiling of the closet, then went through the gap between the top of the closed bi-fold doors and the track they sit in. This caused the water to hit the ceiling in the kitchen and cascade down the side of the pantry that faces the washer. All DH could see when he first got there was water coming from the ceiling and running down the pantry wall, which made him think it was a pipe in the ceiling. So, no plumber, just need to replace the hose, dry the carpet, and hope the ceiling and carpet dry enough to not need replacing.

So, DH continues with the kitchen while I start on the carpet. I was absolutely astounded at how well the carpet cleaner worked at sucking up all the water. It went from visible standing water to damp but not wet in one pass! As instructed, I just moved it very very slowly (seriously about an inch a minute) and waited until there was no more water being sucked out of that particular piece of carpet, and then move it just a little (an inch or so), wait for the water to finish coming up, and move it again. I sucked up a gallon of water per square foot on the most heavily soaked sections. That is not a joke or an exaggeration. That was about 12 square feet. That does not including the part of the carpet that was just wet, not soaked, that we also had to vacuum. Somewhere in there, we ran out to get lunch. It was after Noon, and Luke was starving. He usually eats 11-11:30, so not surprising. I vacuumed a little more, then showered and left for the baby shower.

The tea itself was quite fun. I'm not really into hot tea, but this was quite good. We also had scones with lemon curd and whipped cream (no clotted cream, boohoo, though I personally prefer Devon double cream), plus a host of other goodies on a triple-tiered tray. Very elegant, if a little fru-fru for my taste. Several of these women I had not seen in 2 years or more, so it was really great to finally see everyone again. We stayed talking and chatting until after 4. I told them I would see how Connie felt and what she wanted to do, and then I would try to get in touch with everyone to see if we could pull something together for later in the weekend. I knew everyone was busy, so it was unlikely, especially for Mandi, who had driven 3 hours one way to be there from Alabama. But we would do our best.

Connie called while I was driving home to say that she had finally made it to Atlanta. She was going to try and find her luggage (that had been checked on the flight that she did not take), pick up her rental car (included in her airfare, ironically cheaper than just a straight flight), and then head to my house. There was no way I could get to the airport from where I was before she would be ready to leave, so I just went home. Where I was amazed! Other than moving the television, media tower, and a couple of chairs, things were exactly where they were supposed to be. The carpet, though quite damp, was no longer soaked. We only really had one fan, but it was running. If you had told me at 8:30 that morning that our house would look that good come 5:30, I'd have said you were crazy. Now, we had only cleaned it to "family" standards (Connie is basically family), not company standards, but still, it looked better than I ever could have imagined that morning.

Connie arrived just before 6. We exchanged detailed versions of our horror stories of the day on the way to dinner. Again, we were over an hour late feeding Luke, but he coped pretty well. We came home and put him straight to bed, but it was an hour and a half later than normal as well, which we would pay for on Sunday (just generally grumpy and disagreeable, most unlike him). I still had not been to the grocery store, and we were running low on some Luke essentials, plus I knew we really needed some fans or the carpet was going to be trashed. So Connie and I ran out to Target for fans and critical groceries. Everyone was completely exhausted by this time (it was 10 PM or so). Connie was very upset that she had missed seeing everyone, which is certainly understandable. I decided then that I would do what I could to get everyone together. I sent out an email, announcing an open house from 2-5, then crashed in bed. The house was not as clean as I would have liked for company. That is part of why it had been so long since we had seen people; I never felt the house was good enough for company. But I just said "they can deal," and decided to figure out the rest in the morning.

Luke blessed us by sleeping late again Sunday morning, and thankfully, there was no swimming pool in the kitchen. I thought I would sleep in a bit (knowing Connie would also be sleeping in, between being pregnant, exhausted, and off by an hour due to changing time zones), but as soon as I remembered the open house, there was no going back to sleep. I gathered up a couple of recipes (including my Salted Peanut Marshmallow Bars that she had specifically mentioned sometime Saturday) and decided I could wing the rest of it with stuff from the deli. Pepperidge Farm is also on my hero list. I got their Entertainment Cookie pack (10 different types of cookies) and Entertainment Cracker pack (4 different types of crackers). I also grabbed a "party pack" of sliced cheeses from the deli and mixed fruit and veggie sets from the produce section. It was like an instant party! Grabbed some plates, cocktail napkins, and plastic cups, and we were all set. Came home, made the bars, cooked lunch, and had everything ready to go by 2. It's a miracle!

What I did not tell Connie was that Mandi had decided to make that 3 hour drive from Alabama *again,* with husband and 8-month-old in tow this time. So she was quite surprised when Mandi showed up just before 3. Everyone else arrived around 4. I actually think this was ultimately better than the tea because the spouses got to come. It also allowed one of our friends who was out of town to come by Sunday evening after she returned, another great surprise! Mandi had to head home to get her little one in bed (I completely understand!), and Katie had just moved that morning into a new house so she headed back to do some more unpacking. The rest of us all headed out to dinner and had a grand time (besides Luke being uncooperative). We were only missing Talley, my co-host from the shower. She never did make in on Sunday. Everyone stayed until about 8:30. We worked out meeting Talley for breakfast the next morning, and then Ina and David for lunch, before Connie had to catch her flight home. We then had the hair-brained idea to try and catch a movie, which we did. Saw Premonition at the dollar theater and got home just before midnight.

Monday morning dawned awfully early. We got Luke to daycare, then headed straight to breakfast at a new restaurant called Mimi's Cafe. Totally not what I was expecting inside, but I am dying to go back! Very nice place, casual yet elegant. Breakfast was fabulous (I had quiche lorraine), and I glanced at their yummy lunch and dinner menus while we were there. I love finding new restaurants! They were not busy at all, so we stayed and chatted with Talley until just after 11. (Talley had to be at work at Noon, I was off for the day.) We then met Ina and David at Fellini's in Midtown for some of the best pizza in town. Came home, chilled out for an hour or so, then Connie was on her way. She had her own car, so I didn't go the airport with her. Her return flight was uneventful, thankfully, and she got home safe and sound. I went to bed at 7 PM, just flat out exhausted!

So, all in all, things went much better than I would have thought they could given the facts in evidence around 10 AM Saturday morning. But that is not an experience I care to repeat anytime soon.
Currently feeling:


  1. Wowsers, you are such a trooper! I probably would have lain down in the middle of the floor in a ball and started crying if my carpet went squish!! I'm so glad the weekend turned out, I mean, at least everyone got to hang out together in the end!

  2. oh my goodness. That is chaos alright. I'm glad it all worked out though!

  3. Wet and Wild indeed! I'm impressed at your presence of mind. I would be crying and freaking out simultaneously on seeing the mess.

  4. Wow, can I call you the next time I'm faced with a crisis situation? Sounds like you got it all handled pretty well and very quickly! Though I completely understand not wanting to repeat that experience!

  5. I wish I had known the trick about the carpet cleaner when we had water problems in our basement a couple of years ago. We ened up buyin a wet/dry vac in the end. It's been a worthwhile investment and I think most homeowners should have one.


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