The Camel’s Back

by Anne Bennett on December 7, 2010

I didn’t post a lot over the Thanksgiving holiday. Our old house was getting a major facelift, with new sheetrock ceilings and paint, and we were living in the cabana in the back yard with our three big poodles. As I’ve written before, it was cozy.

The Monday before Thanksgiving we began to clean the house from top to bottom of all the sheetrock dust and paint spray. The floors had to be uncovered and filthy, dust-laden tarps taken up and carefully hoisted outside. At 5 PM that afternoon, I began work on the floor in the kitchen. As I cut into the tape that held the tarp to the floor, I felt a drop of water on my head.

Someone had flushed the toilet upstairs and it had overflowed, flooded the bathroom and had begun leaking down onto the freshly painted, new kitchen ceiling. Randy and Nick the sheetrock guys drilled holes in the ceiling to allow the water to escape and minimize the damage. We sopped up the water upstairs with all the towels we could find.

I began to sob as I continued to cut tape and pull back tarp. Apparently my wailing was so loud that I scared off Randy, who sat outside in his truck until Champ arrived home.

Let me make this clear:  I wasn’t crying about the ceiling. I’ve lived long enough to appreciate what is truly important. But after two months of displacement from my home and my kitchen, during which the only readily available cooking utensil was my slow cooker, I had reached my tipping point. I had had it up to here.

We should probably all familiarize ourselves with this pivotal place in our psyches, and the conditions under which it might be reached. I had no control over my emotions, and what’s more, I didn’t care. Randy would just have to continue waiting in his truck for Champ.

To tell you the truth, all I could think of at that moment, and I am not kidding, was a sunny beach and a cool drink with a little pink umbrella perched on the edge of the glass,  and how I wished I was there drinking that drink.

It’s a couple of weeks hence and my pity party is over. As I said, I know better than to dwell on what is essentially nonessential. Ceilings can be fixed. More paint can be applied. (God knows that. I’ve become best buddies with Stan, the guy at the paint store.)

We’re back in the cabana for a couple of days while the wooden floors in the kitchen are being refinished. I’m revving up the slow cooker for tonight’s dinner.

By the way, when I attempted to wash the towels from the flooded bathroom, the washer broke and the next day the Sears repairman proclaimed it dead. It’s only eight years old, I told him. Washers are supposed to last 20 years. Not anymore, he replied. Nothing is made like it used to be.

Champ and I spent Black Friday at Sears buying another washer/dryer set. This new washer sings a little computerized song when it starts and ends a cycle. If I spoke washer language, I’ll bet it would be telling me not to become too attached to it.

It’s December and all I can think of is: Beach. Drink. Umbrella.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Clara December 7, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Hang in there, Anne! I think I have the same washer as the one you bought. You can turn the song off if it gets too annoying 🙂

Shannon December 8, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Our 8 year old washer died last month too. And now thanks to you, I’ll never hear the cute little song from my new washer again without thinking that it’s actually singing about its coming demise. Thanks. 😉

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