The last time I was sick, I forced myself to go to work and spent nine miserable hours coughing and sneezing all over my desk. When I got home, all I wanted to do was take a long, hot, relaxing bath.
The bath I got.
The relaxation, I did not.
In the three years we’d been living in our house, I had only taken a handful of baths, each without incident. So when I turned on the tap and poured in my organic bubbles, I had nothing on my mind but feeling better.
The weird, quirky thread running through my life had other plans.
Once the tub was full of steaming hot suds, I sank down with a book and relaxed for the first time all day. All of sixty seconds later, I sat up abruptly and tossed my paperback aside as a strange sound reached my ears.
Through the partially open door, I heard what I initially thought was a rapid tapping or popping noise. Instantly I pictured sparks shooting out of the space heater, which was running in my bedroom across the hall.
But it only took a few seconds of intent listening before I realized that the sound was that of rain – and it was coming from inside my house.
Ceiling Fan Falls
Naked and sniffling, I jumped out of the tub, ran downstairs with a towel wrapped haphazardly around my sudsy, wet body, and hurried into the kitchen, which is situated directly below the bathroom. (Looking back, I truly don’t know how I didn’t slip and wipe out as my soaking wet feet padded across tile and hardwood floors).
When I turned on the kitchen light, I was greeted by a waterfall cascading out of my ceiling fan.
I’m pretty sure I screamed. Then I ran to grab my phone and call my dad. My husband was working second shift forty-five minutes away, and with my dad’s extensive plumbing knowledge and the fact that he lived a mere three minutes away, I called him first.
“He got called into work,” My sister told me.
“No!” I cried. “Let me talk to mom! I need mom!”
By now I had reached full panic mode. I was shaking like a leaf, simultaneously freezing cold and sweating profusely, and still wearing nothing but a towel. I had almost forgotten about the fact that I couldn’t breathe through my nose.
My mom got me to calm down enough to remember to shut off the main water valve and turn off the kitchen light from where the water was flowing. Not only was I terrified of my ceiling caving in, but now I was picturing an electrical fire.
After assuring me that my dad should be on his way from work soon, I threw on some clothes and gathered half a dozen towels to sop up the mess in the kitchen.
While I waited for my dad to arrive, I placed an emergency call to my husband and begged him to come home.
Once Dad arrived, he quickly determined that the overflow valve for our tub had worked its way loose over the years. So when I filled the tub up a bit too much, the water, not having a proper route to the drain, had taken the path of least resistance and exited through the kitchen ceiling fan.
Luckily, it was an easy fix that only took a few minutes and a couple of turns with a wrench.
The ceiling and the light fixture/fan, miraculously, were not seriously damaged, and after asking him about seventeen times, Dad assured me that my house was not going to burn down when I flicked on the light.
After he left, my husband looked at me and chuckled.
“Only you,” he mused, shaking his head and giving a half-smile.
Yup. Only me.