And as I was sitting there hunched over, gnawing on it with slobbery jowls and menacing growls (nobody wants to bother me while I’m gnawing on bones), the universe sauntered right up to me, looked me straight in the eye, held out its hand, and said, “Give it back.”
Dang. Hate when that happens.
Last night, as we were settling in for bed, I became grouchy with Poor Kyle because he was teasing me for checking my email so frequently (So what? I like to know if someone’s contacted me!), so I huffed out of our bedroom and stomped downstairs to the guest bedroom, wishing he would follow me but knowing he wouldn’t because he never does.
As I flopped onto the guest bed, reacquainting myself with the chill of sheets that haven’t been slept in for several months, I picked up my phone to check my email in peace.
Then, out of the corner of my ear, I heard an unfamiliar noise:
For a moment, I stopped what I was doing and just listened to the dripping. I usually have a pretty keen sense of water noises around our house; when our washing machine erupted and started draining straight into our basement, I heard it. When our garbage disposal was on the fritz and was leaking under the sink, I heard it.
I’m like the Rainman of leaky plumbing.
So I listened to the drip for a few minutes, just to make sure it was a noise that was not supposed to be happening (because it would be awful to go back upstairs and face my husband again just for a noise that our house has always made…how embarrassing). Finally I decided the drip was indeed the wrong kind of drip, so I dragged myself out of bed, opened the door into the utility closet, peered into the darkness, and saw a steadily-growing puddle underneath our hot water heater.
Back up the stairs I tromped, meekly pushing open the door to our bedroom to face my failure. I hated eating humble pie—hated admitting that I needed Poor Kyle even though I was so mad I could hardly look at his smug bearded face.
“Babe,” I said, my voice a mixture of disintegrating pride and waxing humility, “our hot water heater is leaking.”
Twenty minutes later, we were both tucked neatly back into (the same) bed, having cut off the water and resolving to deal with it in five hours (morning time).
I must admit, though, that even though I’m annoyed about the unforeseen expense—even though I’m sad that a good chunk of our much-anticipated tax return will now be spent on dirty dishes and warm showers—it’s really fascinating to me how it all turned out.
The puddle, for example, was relatively small under the hot water heater—it couldn’t have been leaking for too long. And we rarely enter the guest bedroom in the basement, so who knows how long it could have gone on if I hadn’t stormed downstairs in a fit of annoyance last night? I know that quarreling with one’s husband is not usually a blessing in disguise, but in this case, it was. Moreover, a busted hot water heater is not normally a source of peacemaking between quarreling married couples, but in our case (that is, in the case of me feeling bad that Poor Kyle had so much on his mind anyway with his new job and money concerns and now a hot water heater to replace on top of everything else, and my subsequent decision to forget about his teasing and let bygones be bygones), it was.
So the universe is hovering over me, threatening to wrench my hard-earned bone from my protective little grasp, and it’s scary. At any given moment, I feel liable to throw up my hands in defeat like I so often do, release my already-weak hold on the bright side of life, and just succumb to the miserable part of adulthood that’s never far away.
But it’s a good sort of bone—the kind that promises not only hours of chewing enjoyment, but also whiter enamel and fewer cavities and sharper canine incisors—the kind that’s worth holding on to. I’m not giving it up without a fight.