Home flooding

Home floods suck.

Yesterday, I was getting more coffee (again, coffee saves) and the washer was making a ‘funny, splashy’ noise. I went to look, and the ‘funny splashy’ noise was water cascading out of the washer, and running across the floor. Goody.

The water was shut off, barriers were set, though I couldn’t keep water from raining into the basement (damn gravity). The wet-vac again proved its worth, and if you don’t have one, go get one right now, and finish reading this later. Mine holds 16 gallons, and we filled it twice, though once just from the washer tub.

Anyway, no permanent harm done, and now the floor is really dry and clean under the laundry appliances. The ceiling in the basement is drying out nicely, and the dryer ran nonstop to get the very wet clothes (wrung out) at least functionally dry.

I have a long and ugly (though amusing) personal history of household floods, one caused directly by my own negligence. Keep reading, and I’ll tell you about one.

In either 1996 or 97, it was one of the older kids’ birthdays (July or August), so everyone but me went to Disneyland (I had a job handing out Motrin and saying “no light duty”, and thus couldn’t be spared). After work, my youngest came home early with one of the neighbors, so I was on youngin’ watch. My explicit task: bathe kid (old enough to bathe self without requiring direct observation), put child to bed. That’s it, simple enough even for me. Water is started in the tub (keep track, this is important).

I was (for about the 5th time) re-entering contact data into my Win95 version of Outlook, after yet another crash-reinstall. (An aside: my brother says I’m the only person he knows who has formatted, intentionally, the same drive more than once.)

I entered the name of a wonderful med-school friend-couple, and decided to call them and catch up. We had a nice conversation, and about 20 minutes later we hung up. Sounds of water running. Hmmm.

“Daughter?” I shout. “Yes, dad?” is the reply. Not from the tub. “Time for you to get in the bath.” “OK.” Sound of footsteps toward bathroom.

Sound of footsteps toward me.

“Dad, there’s water in the bathroom.” I walk toward the bathroom, and find she has a talent for understatement. There is water pouring out of the bathroom, into the hall, and into the master bedroom. The water is secured, and barriers to flooding are set (I thought).

Let this be a warning to all who read this far: I did not have a wet vacuum at this time, and it would have saved me hours of time and aggrivation. Again, go and buy one now, tell them I sent you.

Lots of towels are used, and forearms are sored from wringing. At some point, daughter is asked to go to the garage to fetch the bucket, as the wet towels are too far from the tub. Sound of footsteps toward garage.

Sound of footsteps coming directly back.

“Dad, there’s a snake in the house”. Daughter goes straight to her bed, and gets on it, fearing snakes. Smart girl.

There is, indeed, a snake in the hallway. It’s green, and about eight inches long. I know crap about snakes, except that they’re to be avoided. The broom is employed, snake is swept out the front door (the screen has a big gap at the bottom, and is how it probably got in). Neighbor reports a lot of King Snakes in the neighborhood, and take it off my hands. He helpfully tells me they exist to kill rattlers. I laugh at his joke, and wonder why he mentioned this.

Snakes’ out, trouble is over. Walk back into the living room: water in the living room, snuck out under the wall from the bathroom. Crud.

So, finish with water in master, decide it’s time to tackle the living room flood (It’s been about an hour of swamping so far). To the living room I, daughter and bucket go. We turn the corner, and, there it is: a rattlesnake.

It’s a foot-long or so, with a rattle and making unhappy noises, by the back door. The grey cat has the snake ‘under guard’.

And, I’m done. Home flood I caused, second snake in my house, screw it.

I picked up daughter, took her four doors down to the other doc’s house, the one whose wife brought her home from Disneyland. “I have a rattlesnake in my house, and a flood. Can you keep daughter tonight?”. Showing spirit, she said yes, and I left daughter with her. I still had a flood and a rattler in my house.

Home. Rattler is herded outside with the broom, and scooped (alive) into paper sack. Flood is contained, and finally finished. Whew!

Now comes home the birthday party, with tales of amusement and “…you wouldn’t believe…”. I assured them I could top their stories, and did so.

Different neighbor, who works at pet store, gamley volunteered to take care of the rattler, with a release-in-the-wild planned on the base. Camp Pendleton is a wildlife preserve, leading to some odd rules, like: you can shoot anything including .50 cal machine guns in some areas, but in those same areas engineering stakes cannot be driven into the ground, as ‘it might disturb the ground squirrels’.

So, we’re all relaxing, and laughing about it (after looking under all the beds), and in comes the grey cat. Limping, with a very very swollen front paw. Crap. What a great evening.

Grey cat lived to see another day, and I now have a wet-vac.

So, happy endings, and amusing stories, all around.


  1. Anonymous says:

    That is soooo funny..I think you should send that entire story to Michelle Au and see if she will draw a comic of it. It would be hilarious!

  2. Oh. My. Goodness.

    Doc, that’s amazing. I think that I might have simply given up and let the rattler start biting me and be done with it all.

    Good grief!

  3. AuntSusie says:

    Who ever said “life at home is boring’!? You DO realize, that Daughter probably learned her cute “understatement” abilities from Dad?
    Good stories!!! I would recommend your prose to any English teacher.

  4. Homes in Ft. Worth have basements??!!

    I know that I will learn something new (and interesting) on the internet every day.

  5. Who needs sit coms when real life is so unbelievably funny. Amazing story.


  1. GruntDoc says:

    Snake, #4

    Yesterday, another snake in the house. Little snake, and its release to the outside world was a relief to the snake and a profound sense of loss for the cat, as it hadn’t had a toy that was nearly as…