Walking into the kitchen one afternoon, soon after the new AC units were installed, I tripped on something. No toys laying about, our kids are too old for toys scattered about the house, the dog is outdoors and not underfoot - why did I trip? Looking down I see that the linoleum has decided it wants to curl up - right in the middle of the kitchen. Seems the stickity that sticks it down has come unstuck. Is this another protest against our kids? Surely the floor likes me - hmmm, but then it did reach up and trip me - and I dropped a glass of iced tea when I tripped, so I have to clean that up - and put on some sandals so I don't step in broken glass. Oh floor, why do you torture me?
As I watched, another piece let loose and flipped up, ready to catch some unsuspecting victim, ahhhh but not me, I am watching out for these tripping linoleums. I know what they can do. I clean up the iced tea and wipe the floor carefully with a wet paper towel to get the last shards of glass up. And BOING - up goes another edge of linoleum. Is this a strike? A protest? A sit-in (or rather a pop-up)? Does the stickity stuff have a shelf life and now it is too old and all of it will continue popping up?
What to do? Replacing it is very expensive - and we just blew our wad on the AC and the fridge and freezer. Off to the hardware store, Helpful Boy tells us that we can put metal strips on the seams and nail them down. That will hold the floor down, but it will look uuuugly. We can't have ugly in our new house - so over to the flooring department and choosing new flooring. Such choices, such pretties, such prices!!
We make our choice, pay Helpful Boy and head home - to see what else could go wrong in our nice house, our big house, our cool house in the desert. We love our house - it was love at first sight. We had walked in the side door with our real estate agent and fell instantly in love with a house that had a breakfast room and a huge Rhode Island-size family room. We said nice things about our house - we appreciated our house - did it not understand?
We leave the hardware store to go home and walk in the door of the breakfast room and it is mayhem - curls of linoleum are everywhere - throughout the kitchen, through the breakfast room and down the very wide hallway to the dining room. Quick - call Helpful Boy back - tell him we need more linoleum - we'll get the measurements and call him back.
Have you ever tried to measure a floor with big spikes of the edges of linoleum poking up. Someone has to stand on the flapping linoleum while two other people measure - and there are not enough feet in our family to hold all the spikes down. Finally measured - sort of - called back Helpful Boy - told him the measurements - drop over dead when he quotes a price!
Jump ahead three days later - and jump over those spikes of linoleum, most of which we have fairly successfully tacked down. Not THAT'S ugly! In come the helpers of Helpful Boy - rolls and rolls of linoleum - enough it seems to cover the earth. It is a pretty linoleum, so we hope our house will be happy with that and settle down. We can hope, can't we?
Things seemed wonderful - the linoleum shines like the sun - the fridge and feezer are humming a sweet tune - the AC units- both of them brand new - are working fine, the air inside is cool and welcoming, like a waterfall on a lovely mountainside. WAIT - that waterfall is not coming from a mountain - we don't have mountains in the desert - and we certainly don't have waterfalls. Water everywhere - water in the kitchen, water outside on the driveway, under the kitchen window - and we had just fixed all the linoleum.
Quick - find the shut off valve - WHAT? You say there isn't one - then find the shut off at the street. You say you need a special tool to turn that off. Well who has a special tool to turn off the water at the street? It has to be very long, it is a dark deep hole there under the lid of the water meter. Call the city - quick quick - my house will float away - and I can't afford that, not with the new fridge and freezer, two new AC units and new floors in three rooms. Here comes a neighbor with a big stick - uh oh - is he mad because our water is running into his house too? Oh - it is not a stick, it is the tool for turning off the water at the meter. Hey, where did you get that stick, and can I get one too?
Ok - water is off - now to decide what to do. I think the first thing we'll do is smash in the outside wall - for you see - there is not access to the pipes in the wall that are leaking - why didn't they put a little door in the wall so that we could get in there easily and see how much damage there was to the pipes? Why oh why? Isn't there a rule about things like that? Well, there should be.
Don cut the wall open, house surgery, and finds the shut off valve. How are we supposed to access the shut off vavle if it is inside the wall? He also finds that the pipes are spaced far apart and he has to cut out more of the wall, our pretty yellow house now has a gaping hole in its side. Good Neighbor has left the water turning on gadget with us and so I go to turn on the water so Don can watch and see where the leak is. SPLAT - there it is - right in front of his face - and spouting like a whale. Turn off the water!!!
A pipe has split right in the middle - not at a joint - so now we call Mr. Plumber Man - friend of Helpful Boy and AC Man. Mr. Plumber Man says he can come out in two weeks - ok - goodbye Mr. Plumber Man - we call Mr. Plumber Man number 2, and number 3 and number 4 - ahhhh number 5 can come out today - and he teaches us the meaning of emergency service cost. But we have to have water, our wonderful kids need water to drink, and ice cubes in the new fridge, and showers to wash off all the desert dust and grime. Maybe they could just go to the city pool and soak in the pool a bit. No? Ok - do your stuff Mr. Plumber Man number 5.
Maybe the kids could go dance in the rain - or not - since it only rains about twice a year in the desert - they would get awful stinky between rains . . .All is soon fixed - and Don builds a pretty door to go where the gaping hole was, and he plasters and fixes the edges of the gaping hole so the door fits - and all is peaceful once again. Not much damage to the new floor - nothing came unglued or popped up to trip us. I think we are ready to get back to enjoying our new house, our nice house, our big house, our cool house in the desert.
Ya think? Well think again - next time I'll be back to tell you about a white carpet, date trees by the driveway, a can of honey and three teenagers! Oh the stories I could tell you. See you next time . . .