One of the things that we had to learn early when my parents first came to live with us was that it was best that we never left them unattended. We didn't realize it, though, until AFTER thousands of dollars were spent fixing all the "accidents" that occurred when they were alone. Two specific incidents come to mind.
When we moved to this house 4 years ago, Taylor and I discovered the joy of walking and would go out on a regular basis several times a week. We continued to do so until one fateful day about two years after my parents arrived. Upon returning to the house after our morning walk, Taylor headed to the shower in the loft and I went downstairs to the den to cool off before I, too, took a shower. As I sat on the couch, I began to hear a sound that was not unfamiliar, exactly, I just couldn't pin point what it was. I stood up and began to walk toward the sound and felt something hit my head as I stood near the bathroom door. I looked up to see drops of water cascading through the ceiling tiles and at the same time heard the powder room toilet flushing. Realizing that an overflowing toilet was the source of the flooding, I hightailed it upstairs and found a lake on the powder room floor. It was at that moment my father came stumbling out of the Master bedroom with a small towel. I said, "We'll need more than that!" and ran to the linen closet upstairs in the loft. After getting the water soaked up, I asked my dad how many times he had flushed and he indicated that he flushed several times. I asked why he would continue to flush if it didn't go down the first time and he said,"I don't know. Stupid, I guess!" Now, if you heard that once as an explanation for something someone did by accident, you wouldn't think much about it, but this is the retort we all receive from my father in regard to anything he does. At that point, though, all I could do was clean up the floor and then take care of the downstairs bathroom. I got the toilet fixed and told my dad that I had placed several towels in the powder room cabinet just in case it happened again, The whole episode spooked me enough that Taylor and I decided we couldn't walk while they were awake for fear of another toilet overflow.
So some time passed before we got cabin fever and decided to venture out leaving Bill & Mary alone again. That decision ended up haunting me for days. When we returned from wherever we went to, I entered my parents' bedroom and my father looked at me sheepishly and said, "Forgive me, dear daughter, I know not of what I did." Now I don't know about you, but when I hear words like that, especially now, blood drains from my being and I start hyperventilating. I took a very deep breath and asked him what happened. He said that the toilet in the Master bathroom was clogged and that he tried to plunge it. I looked toward the bathroom and it looked as though every towel in the room was on the floor soaking up water, never a good sign. I took two steps and promptly felt and heard the familiar SQUISH of wet carpet. My heart sank through the floor and beyond, for several reasons. One, I knew they definitely cannot EVER be left alone again. Two, the cost of repair was going to be astronomical. And three, I was about to have a meltdown.
I turned to my father and asked him what happened. He claimed that he kept flushing it after it flushed slowly the first time. "Why would you keep flushing?" "I don't know, stupid, I guess!" I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think straight, I needed air and someone to tell me my next step. I called Steve and lost it. After he calmed me down, he said he'd call and get someone out to the house as soon as possible. I stood in the
dining room feeling powerless and hyperventilating. Then I heard my mother ask the million-dollar question. "Did you try using the toilet cleaning pad?" "Yes" "Were you cleaning the toilet with that wand?" "It's not supposed to be flushed." "Oops, too late!" It was at that moment that the floor gave way swallowing me up into the depths of hell. I am not proud of what happened next. I know that my meltdown was the result of the stress I had been under for the previous 2 1/2 years. Running a household with 2 grown children, 2 elderly parents and a husband, as well as, trying to start an online business, took it's toll and in a big way I started screaming about my pretty house being ruined and how I couldn't understand why he'd keep flushing after seeing it was clogged. My mother made a comment about how they would pay for the repairs and I said, "You sure as hell will!" The total cost for drying out and cleaning carpet and under flooring, new toilet purchased and installed (because the old one had 5 disks stuck in it!) and labor over a 5 day period? $2000+
As I was leaving the bedroom after my tirade, I heard my father turn to my mom and as deadpan as possible and without a trace of emotion say to her, "Well, I guess we've overstayed our welcome."
They are still here and I have learned that having meltdowns are bad for everyone's health. Hence, the purpose for this blog!