Last Thursday, my productive week came to a screeching halt.
We’d done well so far for the week – groceries, new tags for the cars, some baking, school work, and I was planning to spend some time on Thursday hanging with the kids and do a few fun things. But that’s not how it turned out.
It was a little after 10am, and the kids were playing peacefully together in the playroom. I made some hot tea and sat down for a few minutes in the living room while I talked to Curly on the phone. Caedmon came running in to the living room, I presumed to tattle on Honor. But it was for another reason. “Mom! There’s water all over the floor!”
I thought, “Great. Honor’s pulled Caedmon’s water cup off the table. When did she do that?” And I got up to go see what the fuss was about.
And then I saw a river in the hall and my children wading in an inch of water in the kitchen. That’s when I said something to Curly like, “Holy crap. I gotta go!”
I knew immediately what had happened. I was washing a load of towels. The drain hose from the washing machine had worked its way out of the pipe and had drained the entire load of water and suds into the floor. And since our townhouse was so lovingly made in 1985 (which must’ve been before they had, you know, levels), it was running like a river through the kitchen, into the hall, the hall bath, and entry way.
I stopped the washer, shoved the hose back into the drain pipe, turned off the water for good measure, rolled the cuffs of my pants up, and stopped a second to think. How in the world was I going to clean all this up? We have a Shop Vac. In storage. Husband was at work and even if he could leave, it’d take him a good half hour to get home. So I called the management office. I’m sure Kelly thought I was off my rocker. I quickly explained what had happened and asked if they had a Shop Vac. She kindly said she was sending the guys to help.
Meanwhile, I sent Caedmon upstairs to get every towel he could find and throw them over the stairs into the living room. Not something we usually allow – the throwing of things over the stairs, I mean. So he was more than happy to wade his way through the river of Tide water to run upstairs for that errand.
Honor was sloshing her little self around in the water, and every time I’d try to get her to go somewhere dry, she’d cry. Did I mention we were in the midst of Hand, Foot, and Mouth? Yeah. So she felt super great already. Meanwhile, Oz was running around like a crazy dog, it was raining towels in the living room, and water, though no more was draining from the washer, was continuing to run through the kitchen, hall, and into the entry way. My main concern was keeping it away from the carpet if I could, so I started making dams with towels, wondering how long it would take the maintenance guys to arrive.
Caedmon finished throwing towels and made it back downstairs. He’d been playing with action figures, and thought it was a perfect opportunity for them to have a little water play. Also, to strip his clothes off “so they wouldn’t get wet.” But I declared there would be no water for G.I. Joe and moved him out of the water, back to a dry spot. I then stripped Honor’s socks and sweat pants off of her, which were soaked past the knees. Now her rashy little legs and feet were hanging out, and she was starting to freak out a little bit.
I wanted to join her.
The maintenance guys arrived with a giant Shop Vac. Oz wasn’t sure about what was happening, but he was sure he didn’t want these guys in the middle of it. Thankfully, he’d kind of made friends with one of the guys when he was here before, so he chilled out. A little. I set Honor down (in the living room) so I could sort of get things under control, and she cried. And followed me. And fell. In the water. I turned around to pick her up and found Caedmon and G.I. Joe in the water. Again. I ran Caedmon out of the water, sent Oz back into the living room, and put Honor’s wet little self in there with them.
I texted Husband to let him know what was going on. Yet, I forgot to text Curly. So I got a text from her asking if everything was ok. I mean, she heard Caedmon run in and yell, “Mom,” and then me say, “Holy Crap!” So it really could’ve been anything. But seeing as she’s been dealing with major water damage at her own house lately, she knew exactly what was going on when I responded with, “Washer drain hose came loose. Water everywhere.”
Meanwhile, the maintenance guys were getting the Shop Vac plugged in and going. At which point both Oz and Honor kind of lost it. Honor was now freezing because she was wet and the door had been open a bit, with cool air coming in. So I apologized to the guys for abandoning them, and went upstairs to dry her off and put her in some clean clothes. She was still clingy and crying, but I had to leave her in the crib for a minute to go back down and get Oz. I found Oz, picked him up, told Caedmon to get G.I. Joe out of the water again, carried Oz back upstairs, and put him in his crate.
Then it was back downstairs again with Honor on my hip. I used every single towel we owned (besides the ones in the washer) to soak up as much water as possible and keep it from running into the carpet. Then, Caedmon piped up again, “Mom! Look! A new little river! Can I play in it with my guys?” Water was running under the wall through the closet into the hall.
“No. Stay out of the water,” I said for what seemed like the hundredth time. “And put your clothes back on,” which needed to be said, though I knew it wouldn’t do much good. The guys were diligently vacuuming water as fast as they could. And apparently we were finding new places for them to vacuum.
With Honor still in my arms, I thought I might ought to check the carpet in the hall closet, and I’m glad I did. Water was seeping under the wall and it was wet in there. And guess what was sitting in a box in the floor? Our wedding albums. Yeah. Super glad I decided to pull that out and check. They didn’t get wet, but the box was about to soak through, so it was a close call. Those babies will be going in a plastic tub from now on.
By the time it was all said and done, we had water in the pantry, under the oven, all through the kitchen, in the hall, the hall bath, the entry, under the wall into the hall closet, and the utility closet. And the edge of the carpet in the play room. And they say HE washers use less water.
We ended up pulling up the carpet and pad in the hall closet. The guys took it back to their shop to let it dry out. I still don’t have it back yet, so all that stuff from the closet is still sitting in the living room. They brought a dehumidifier, and it finally shut itself off yesterday, as it got to the right level of humidity in the house. And we’ve had fans running since Thursday. It’s been quite noisy around here the past few days.
The maintenance guys were so sweet. They worked hard to get the water up and zip tied the drain hose in place so it wouldn’t come back out again. They even tried to help fussy, clingy Honor feel better, but she wasn’t really having it.
By the time we finished with the water and the guys left, I had two hungry kids, stuff all over the place, sinks full of soaking wet towels, and Tide-clean kitchen floors. So we did what anybody would do. We went to Sonic for lunch.
But we still came home to a mess. It took the rest of the day to try to recover. And it didn’t really even happen then, as we still have stuff displaced, the dehumidifier still kicking on and off, and a fan still at the ready. I also found 3 wash cloths in/behind the Christmas tree. Apparently, Caedmon got a little zealous when he was tossing towels over the stairs.
So, I will stay this: I am not glad this happened. I mean, who would be? But I am super thankful it happened while we are living in this townhouse, and not in our new house. Because then? I would’ve just sat down in the water and cried. Also? I will be using some sort of zip tie and/or logging chain to tie down my washing machine drain hose in the future. I would suggest you do the same. Just as a precaution.