He really was a good guy – you just didn’t want to piss him off. I was an expert at pissing him off, whether I meant to or not. If there was a way to screw things up, and piss my dad off, I would manage it.
Before Kyla was born, her dad and I would go down to Teeny-Tiny Town for Christmas every year. He had two kids from his first marriage, so that made arrangements difficult. Worse, I worked in retail – in a mall – and I had two days to celebrate in: Christmas Day and Boxing Day. And those poor kids had a lot of places to be.
So the other night, in the middle of one of The Evil Hypnotist’s dark, white nights, which, incidentally, turned into one of my own, I sat straight up in what passes for my bed, recalling that earlier that day I’d discovered a load of laundry from God knows how long ago, still sitting in the washing machine. I had intended to rewash it before the mold grew.
I had just remembered that I’d forgotten. That’s a stupid phrase. But that’s what happened.
Up I got, and in I went to the little closet that houses the washer and dryer (and all of my clothes, on a rack, and on shelves, and in filing cabinets). There’s also one of those huge double washtub/sink kind of deals in there, which means there is only enough room for me to stand in front of the washing machine and turn around to come back out of the closet.
It never occurred to me that I might need an emergency plan in place in case of an emergency. You know, the kind of plan that includes how to get all the stuff out of there in a hurry. In case of an emergency.
What kind of emergency could there be in my laundry room?
Flooding comes to mind.
I have a little apartment-sized washer and dryer; the dryer is up on a stand and the washer sits in front of the laundry tub/sink thing with its hose attached to the cold water faucet. In order to start the washer, I have to lean waaaaaaay over it to reach the cold water tap and turn it on.
I don’t leave the tap turned on all the time, as I’m afraid the pressure might build up or something and blow the washer hose off the faucet, and then the water will just run all night/day down the drain and my so-far-kind-and-friendly landlord will raise my rent and/or start charging me for utilities.
It was 2 am. I had just gotten out of bed, wincing as I walked barefoot into the laundry room (closet) on freezing cold ceramic tiles, wearing a t-shirt and my underwear.
I leaned over and turned the tap on.
Except, the tap had never been turned off since the last laundry load (which was still sitting, molding, in the washer) had been done, and…
The tap came off in my hand.
And water shot from whatever you call the pipe you attach the tap to, with amazing pressure straight at the wall, where it ricocheted (does water “ricochet”? I can’t find a better word at the moment) and doused the entire room/closet, and everything in it, me included.
I did the only thing I could think of to do, which was shriek for Kyla to come. What the hell; it’s not like she was asleep or anything….
Luckily, because the dog started to bark when I started yelling…
By the time Ky figured out where I was screaming from and opened the door, I had climbed over the washing machine and into the sink, where I sat in my t-shirt and underwear, in a high-pressure jet of freezing cold water, attempting to screw the tap back on.
And she said, “WTF?! What did you DO?!”
To which I calmly replied at the top of my voice, “Never mind! HELP ME!!”
“How? What do you want me to do?!”
“Uhhhhhh…. I don’t know… get a towel…?”
“Are you joking?! A towel?!”
So of course we both started to laugh…
And I could not get that tap to screw back on. I could jam it on the pipe – which caused all the water to spritz out the seam into my face – but I couldn’t turn it.
I didn’t know where the shut-off valve was, either, so Ky decided that she would pull all the stuff out of there and look for it. She had to fold my bed back into couch-form to accomplish that, though.
And first she had to convince the Lily-Dawg that it was safe to get off my bed, which took a lot of doing.
Meanwhile, a bzillion gallons of water flowed over the floor and through a tiny hole drilled in the wall, into the sauna.
Aha! I had always wondered why that hole was there. At least the rest of the place wouldn’t flood…
Granted, that same bzillion gallons of cold water was flowing over me before it hit the floor, and I was slowly turning into a half-naked ice-cube.
Ky finally got the bed together, the washer out, and some towels down… but couldn’t find the shut-off valve anywhere. I asked her to take my glasses off my face, as I couldn’t see through them in the condition they were in, and that’s when I noticed the valve hiding behind the wash tub, and managed to reach down between the tub and the wall to twist it closed.
By the time we got all the water off the floor, the walls, the dryer, and got my clothes spread out all over to dry, it was 4:30 am.
I lay in bed, shivering… neither of us slept at all.
I had to work that afternoon – and dancing in the parking lot on no sleep is no fun. It was at work that I realized I still hadn’t rewashed the moldering laundry…