Thursday, February 19, 2015

A geyser in my closet

It was 10:35 p.m. I had a few pages of my chapter left, and then I was going to call it good for the night and go to bed.

Then I heard a roar.

At first I thought it was just my heater being extra loud, but then I got up to investigate. The sound was definitely coming from the utility closet. I pressed my ear against the door and was startled to feel a spray of water. I turned the hall light on, opened the door, and BAM.

Geyser in the closet.

I located the source of the geyser right away—a disconnected washer tube. After searching frantically for a lever, switch, or button to make the water stop, I did what I always do in a crisis: call my parents. (Yes, it did occur to me to call the maintenance emergency number, but the last time I tried that the number was disconnected.) The main benefit I got from this phone call was someone to panic with me (not an entirely useless thing to have). Nothing I did was helping, and I was getting wetter and wetter (that water was cold), so I made another desperate phone call to my apartment's general office number, hoping an updated after-hours number would be on the answering machine.

It was. Maintenance Emergency Guy answered the phone almost immediately, and told me where the lever was to turn the water off. Of course, I couldn't find it because it was dark and I didn't have my glasses on and I was already panicked about the lake in my hallway—what if I pulled the wrong lever and blew up my whole apartment?

Maintenance Emergency Guy said he'd be right over, and I used that time to finish getting dressed and find my glasses. And I found that magic lever about 30 seconds before he showed up.

That silence after 10 minutes of roaring was the most beautiful sound.

Then came the aftermath.

Really nice Maintenance Emergency Guy found the lever that turned off the washer so we could turn the water back on, meaning I would in fact get to shower the next morning. He also called somebody to come vacuum up the lake.

I changed into dry clothes, and started mopping up what I could with every towel I could spare.

These pictures really don't do this adventure justice, but I had to do something to satiate my nerves while I waited for Vacuum Guy.

A swimming pool also formed in my washing machine.

The items on my fridge got the worst of the damage. My coupon calendar, sadly, wasn't salvageable.

In hindsight, I wish I had snapped a quick photo of the geyser in the closet, but I was more concerned with other things at the time, like keeping my hair dry.

Vacuum Guy arrived 20 minutes later, so I moved my sodden mass of towels from the wet tile in front of the door to my bathtub.

And I finally found a use for that extra shower curtain I bought four years ago.

While I was ringing and hanging, this nifty little machine was sucking up water.

And when his job was done, Vacuum Guy put this very loud fan next to my bedroom door and told me to leave it on nonstop for two days.

Vacuum Guy left at midnight, and the worst of my crisis was over.

So I celebrated with a midnight comfort-food snack.

I was tired enough to forget that there was no way my body was going to allow sleep after such a disruption to my life of calm, so I spent the night tossing and turning when I could have been doing something fun, like finishing my book. Oddly enough, it wasn't the loud fan or replays of freezing water shooting at me while I tried not to drop my phone that kept my mind whirring. It was all the what-could-have-beens. What if I had been asleep when that tube broke? What if I hadn't been able to get ahold of someone to save the day? What if another pipe broke and I couldn't hear its resulting roar because the fan was so loud?

This whole experience could have been much, much worse. When your only casualty is your coupon calendar, you count yourself very fortunate indeed. (Plus it's great that I haven't made the plunge to home ownership yet, so the apartment managers get the fun task of footing the bill for repairs.)

This isn't something I ever wanted to experience, especially without another adult around to help, but a part of me is grateful it happened. This was one of those crises every adult has to face at some point, and you never know how you'll handle it until it happens. But I made those critical calls, kept my head, and pulled through it with some dignity in tact. It's one more thing I've proved to myself I can handle on my own, and I've got some battle-earned tips to keep in mind for the next crisis.

  • You need to own more than four towels, even if you're the only one who uses them.
  • The minute you move into a new home, locate as many buttons, switches, and levers as you can—you never know when you'll need them.
  • When you get a new phone, take an hour to learn how to use it so you don't waste time figuring out how to dial a number in the middle of an emergency.

I will be considerably less glass-is-half-full about this if I have another sleepless night, though.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dream Diary: Part 6

How to get released from your calling as bishop
Before church, my dad told one of the tiny deacons to go buy a bunch of food from the Farmer's Market. He was expecting a big turnout for sacrament meeting, and he didn't want people to go hungry. Then Dad refused to conduct sacrament meeting for no reason I could figure out. As for the guy who ended up conducting, instead of walking up to the pulpit like a normal person, he jumped over it. And then opened the meeting like he hadn't just performed a feat worthy of the Summer Olympics. The deacon brought back a bunch of food vendors, who walked up and down the aisles—like they do during football games—during somebody's talk, selling their food. After this sacrilegious meeting, I asked Dad why he wouldn't conduct. He pulled up his pant leg a few inches and said, "Because I'm wearing the wrong socks!"

Another common dream motif: Bogus money
I was out to dinner at an exciting destination (the mall in Murray) with my family. I tried to pay for my meal with a 26-dollar bill. The guy taking the order seriously considered calling the police. (I know this because in my dreams, I can read minds. Sometimes.)

A taste of what my pizza-delivering dreams are like
My Domino's dreams usually follow one of two formulas: (1) show up to work hours late wearing the wrong pants, or (2) take delivery to an absurd location (like the highest water slide at the Payson pool), lose car, and, if I'm lucky, return to work hours later.

My night started well—my first delivery was close to the store, in an area I'd been to before. I figured I'd be back in 10 minutes a couple dollars richer, ready for more. But the minute I pulled away from the store, things got weird. I suddenly remembered that the one road that leads to this house is tricky to find—as in, you have to drive by it at exactly the right time or it won't be there. After a couple of tries I found the right road, but then I realized the village the house was in was located inside a tower. So I had to abandon my car and carry six large pizzas + 20 wings + two orders of breadsticks + two extra icings (no drinks this time, thankfully) and wait in the elevator with a crowd of hungry and curious people. Once out of the elevator, I had no idea where the house was and had to leave my pizzas on a bench somewhere and trek through the snow (of course) to find the house. Then I had to go back for the pizzas, which had fallen off the bench and were in the dreaded upside-down position. It occurred to me then that I'd been gone for hours, and I stood there helplessly watching a crowd of kids play soccer in a parking lot, listening to Greg Wrubell—a.k.a., The Voice of the Cougars—talk sports over the radio waves.

A Spanish class I would happily take
I've decided to take a Spanish class, and for once it's cause for excitement rather than anxiety. The class is taught in a really cool building in D.C. (cool = historic with secret passages). The teacher doesn't allow his expertise in one subject to put him above his lowly students. But the best part is the final. It's a cruise from December 30–February 2 that starts in an unpronounceable Latin American country and ends in Miami. *Please note that this was a college dream, not a high school dream. Halle-freakin-lujah.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Just a game

You hear it when your team loses. You hear it when you enthusiastically discuss your team's prospects in front of someone who doesn't care for sports. You hear it whenever your competitive nature takes over your emotions and common sense.

"It's just a game."

I've used the phrase a couple times myself. I made the mistake of saying it to my dad while we were on a family cool-down walk right after the Jazz lost in the NBA Finals for the second year in a row. I say it to myself at night when I'm trying to block painful memories long enough to escape into the solace of sleep.

If only it were just a game. If only my emotional state didn't depend so much on properly working knees and ankles. If only a couple of lucky shots and bad calls didn't have the power to haunt me for days—years, even.

If only I didn't love watching the game so much.

There are days when sports triumphs send you flying and refuse to let that smile on your face droop. Everything feels so right in your world that even world peace seems possible.

But other days, you feel angry. Frustrated. Depressed. Sick to your stomach.

If it was just a game, those feelings would dissipate on their own. But they don't.

Those are the days that, if you had a magic lamp, you would wish to be free of the burden of caring about sports.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Yes, I just used a hashtag as my title. I may as well confess that I Tweet, too.

But being a book lover has increasingly become a problem of late. Remember how I made a goal to read 50 books on my to-read list this year? For every book I cross off that list, I add five more. There is just not enough time to read even a smidgeon of the books I'm curious about.

Books satisfy some of my most basic needs: entertainment, happiness, and expansion of knowledge. But when I think about all those words I haven't enjoyed yet, my pursuit as a bookworm becomes overwhelming, depressing, and cause for panic.

I remember a time when my biggest book problem was deciding what to read next. I grew up in a world without a library and a barrage of social media—I relied on word of mouth for book recommendations and my parents' checkbook for new books. Thus, my world of books was small (though I didn't always realize it), and the only way to stay in it was to read my favorites over and over again.

But now, despite having more time to read than I ever have, my biggest problem is time. I sneak reading into my lunch breaks, spend hours reading on the weekends, start my bedtime reading earlier when I can, avoid watching TV—but it's not enough. Rather than accept that I'll never bend the spine of every book I'm interested in, I still try to do the impossible.

Like I said, it's a problem.