The sound you hear is the sound of my level head drip, drip, dripping away. It has puddled in a spreading pool on the patio. It is seeping up from underneath the parquet floor. It has muddled into the unmistakable morass of a household catastrophe. It shouts SLAB LEAK.
Two little words, and with it, walls crumble.
For those of you with the incredible good fortune to have a life other than mine, this means that when the house was built, they put galvanized steel plumbing pipes into the concrete foundation. A good recipe for ruining my day sixty years later.
I am staring into the undernethers of a total household re-plumbing job, and I am doing it alone.
It started months ago as an inch-wide water stain in the corner of the dining room. No big deal. I moved the furniture to cover it up. No big deal. Then it spread into a creeping shape the size of Afghanistan. No big deal. Then it started to seep out from the foundation and lounge all day and night in a wet spot on the patio. No big deal. Then the plumber came and told me to sell my firstborn. No big deal. Then he said it would take five days to fix and wouldn’t include repairing the gashes in the walls or bathroom tile. No big deal. Then I remembered relatives are coming to visit next week.
No big deal, my husband says. It can wait. He says this from a secured, undisclosed, undisturbed location out of town. The relatives coming are his.
The sound you hear is the sound of my dying hope of rescue, my fleeting wish for a different ending, my sweet dream of salvation, leaking away. I’m calling the plumber and getting started today.