Thursday morning 1:48 am. I get a frantic call from my renter–she went to take a late-night bath, and the dubious plumbing in my 40+-year old rental gave way, leading to a gushing stream of water she couldn’t turn off. Oddly enough, though I pretty much HATE being woken up in the night, and it feels like hell, I was instantly awake and alert this time, with none of the usual painful resentment.
My words came slowly as I tried to think what to do, because I was remembering that a.) I never was all that sure where the main shutoff valve was in that house, and b.) going over to help would involve waking up my roommate to get his keys. He had parked behind me in anticipation of his 6 am departure for work. Disaster?
I tried to tell her how to turn off the main, and my hesitation came through, though misunderstood, and she hung up with a frustrated “Thanks for your help!”
I knew I would be going over there, regardless—heck, I pay the water bill! Plus, being a Xeriscape author, I loathe water waste. Also, my mind had already leaped ahead to the silver linings of the situation:
- She’s a friend, and I’m used to her reactions—for the first time ever, they didn’t bother me one bit. Score!
- My favorite friend is a handyman who’s been often out of touch in the last few years, swamped with single-parenthood, and the machinations of retiring from a long career in the military. Every time something breaks over at the rental, we call him, and he always responds with help, and renewed contact. Score!
- My roommate, when I woke him, was sympathetic, not grumpy, as I expected. Score!
- Unlike my roommate, I don’t happen have any early am appointments tomorrow, in my self-employed lifestyle (since my last layoff four years ago), so I’ll be able to sleep in, if need be. Score!
- I’m finding as I get older, I’m getting better at being able to pull it together and function adequately, even in the middle of the night. I’m a lot more philosophical these days—and it feels more alive. Score!
- I managed to get the cars swapped out, and was on my way over when she called again. She’d been able to turn the faucet off after all, at least down to a trickle, and she’d work on getting it fixed in the morning. I’m already in touch with my friend these days, so don’t need the plumbing disaster this time…Score!
And, most of all, it’s just a little plumbing disaster. It’s not having to go to the hospital at midnight, as my renter herself did a few days ago, when her best friend’s brother, a 41-year father of five, was dying of an aneurism. Nor, as she had to hear, just a couple days later that this same best friend lost one of his good friends, a young woman who was shot to death by her mentally-ill brother-in-law, along with her stepdad and boyfriend.
Declutter your preconceptions. Not a disaster at all–just a matter of perspective…