Storches On Safari

Baby's First Act of Wanton Destruction

"Do you hear water running?"

"I do...wait, is it the dishwasher?"


"Yeah, probably just the dishwasher."


(NOTE TO SELVES OF OH, 18 OR SO HOURS AGO: It's never just the dishwasher. Fool-ass fools.)

Some time after this conversation (which was mostly fueled by our joint desire to not get up off the couch), Ezra entered the room.

"Some water spilled on the floor in the basement."

Jason and I raised our eyebrows at him, not because we wanted further explanation — oh no, that might result in us hearing something that required our presence or supervision — but because that's our parenting code for "THAT SOUNDS LIKE A PROBLEM YOU KNOW HOW TO SOLVE YOURSELF, YOUNG MAN."

Ezra smiled blankly at us for a second before saying, "I know, I'll get a towel!"



He wandered into the kitchen, grabbed a single dishtowel and went on his merry, problem-solving way.

I don't know exactly how much time passed between this moment and the moment where I suddenly realized Jason was screaming bloody murder about towels, but it was probably a few levels of Candy Crush, making all my Sims use the toilet, and at least one Thatz Not Okay.  

But while Jason's tone and urgency was definitely on par with someone who was about to homebirth an old-time-y baby (TOWELS! I NEED TOWELS! BOIL SOME WATER! GET THE STRING AND SCISSORS!), I have to tell you that my husband — my rock, my best friend, the love of my life — tends to kinda get a case of the dramzzz when it comes to stuff going wrong in the house. Particularly water-related things. Water is always lurking, ready to rot our woodwork and flood our drywall with mold. An overflowing toilet is basically six seconds away from causing major structural damage. FACT.

In other words, I sighed, got up off the couch, wandered upstairs and halfheartedly pulled two or three beach towels out of the linen closet.

I passed Jason on my way down to the basement — at least I think it was him; he was more of a brownish blur — and he looked at my sad little bundle of towels and informed me that wasn't going to be enough. We were gonna need ALL THE TOWELS.

I figured the toilet had clogged, or maybe one of the kids made a mess washing their hands. Worst case, a ceiling leak from the first-floor bathroom. And so when I finally got to the (completely dry, nigh, near spotless) basement powder room, I stood there for a minute, thoroughly confused. Where...water? Is? Bwuh? 

I suddenly remembered our conversation about the dishwasher and had a flashback to THIS INCIDENT and OMG. I ran into the playroom and zeroed in on the ceiling and that's when I realized I was standing in two inches of water. 

So. Okay. Our townhouse was built in the late 1970s, and every single unit has a dry bar in the basement. Which sounds so much swankier than it is. Because it's really just a cheap cabinet topped with a cheap countertop...and a tiny, useless little sink. I guess it was there so the menfolk who were party-downing in the knotty-pine basement — drinkin' and shootin' pool and fillin' the poorly-circulated underground room up with cigar smoke — could wash their whisky glasses or something? While the ladies presumably stayed upstairs playing bridge in the family room? (While the living room sat empty and covered in plastic, natch.) 

Anyway, I have never understood the point of the dry bar, and so for the most part it sits completely forgotten about. There are some board games and puzzles in the cabinet, along with a yoga mat, and the countertop is usually cluttered with Toys That Someone Has Lost Access To Because Someone Turned It Into A Weapon. I have used the sink exactly once — during our home inspection, just to make sure it worked and we weren't being ripped off with a non-functional tiny sink that MAYBE SOMEDAY I might choose to wash my hands in, because the actual full-sized sink in the powder room is like, seven whole feet away. 

Point is: Ike had climbed up, put a tiny sink stopper in the teeny drain, turned on the wee faucet full blast and flooded the entire fucking basement in a span of about 20 minutes. 

(I didn't even know the sink HAD a sink stopper, for the record. Accessories! What a selling point! Still would have preferred finding a hollow wall full of doubloons, however.)

I wish I could have gotten some pictures, just so y'all would have no choice to believe me that SERIOUSLY, it was literally flooded wall to wall to wall, with Thomas trains and plastic tomato slices floating towards the slanty sides of our house, all OH THE HUMANITY. But since Jason informed me that we probably only had 32 seconds to soak up all the water before the laminate floor buckled and broke and sent us all tumbling into a swamp of sacred burial ground, I decided not to waste any time documenting the occasion. Baby's first homeowners' insurance claim, yaaaaaaay!

We really did need all of the towels, by the way. All the good towels; all the guest towels. The kids' towels, the beach towels, the back-up beach towels, the dinky little hand towels and a bunch of super-old gross towels that I don't even know why I'm holding onto, other than for moments like this. Four laundry loads of towels so far, with one more to go. 

We cranked up the dehumidifier, sent everyone to bed because DONE WITH YOU, ALL OF YOU, and opened a bottle of wine. Everything seems fine and dry this morning, though I think Jason will feel better if he paces back and forth checking for new creaks or squeaks or I don't know FOUR HUNDRED MILLION MORE TIMES.

This one, by the way.






I mean, sorry.


"An overflowing toilet is basically six seconds away from causing major structural damage. FACT." made me truly LOL because in my house an overflowing DOG BOWL of water is basically six seconds away from causing major structural damage. FACT. Honestly, it happened this week... I hear ya. GET THE TOWELS! (or just a napkin will do)


ZOMG, THATZ NOT OK...that site rocks :)

But Ike..>THATZ NOT OK! No no stopping up the sink. But dang, he is both agile and smart to figure out the stopper :)

Wine...many things can be solved by wine.


Our basement was "finished" in the late 70s, and we have that sink. 10 feet from the powder room (which was not updated and still late 50s pink). The sink's actual function is a drain for when you loose power and have to manually bail out your sump pump hidden behind the decorative wall that took 2 years to figure out how to open and what the heck is that noise from back there.

Maxine Dangerous

Oh... shit. It's so not okay, but MAN you make disaster funny. Will be a great story to tell when Ike needs to be embarrassed. First day of junior high, maybe? :)


If you haven't done it already, start emphasizing the importance of making sure the shower curtain liner is INSIDE the bathtub when the shower is on. I didn't do that with my kids. I just assumed they would use common sense. Stupid, stupid me. The bathroom and the basement storage room below it were both flooded. The hallway was only partially flooded because, apparently, carpet padding is made out of some super sponge-like material that holds gallons and gallons of water. Ugh.

Suzy Q

You were sold a bill of goods. Any bar with a sink is a wet bar, not a dry bar. Which you now know. So sorry. But hey! A selling point when the time comes.

And still, how can you get mad at that cuteness? Simply impossible. Hope you dry out well!

Kim W.

Oh! This one time, when I was, oh maybe 4 or something, and my older siblings were supposed to be watching me, I made myself some peppermint tea (I was precocious). And then after I accidentally spilled my tea on the carpet, I cleaned it up. However, when I cleaned it up, I realized that the carpet was cleaner there than anywhere else. So I decided to boil water and clean all the carpet. I boiled pot after pot of water and poured it on the carpet.

(Where was anybody that was supposed to be watching me? I don't know.)

Mom came home, and was very upset. She had her boyfriend come over with a wet/dry vacuum, and they pulled out all the carpet and padding and threw it away, then vacuumed up all the water.

Sorry, Mom.


So I was relating this story to someone today and they said, "oh man, too bad you didn't have a shop vac or something." To which I replied, "Oh fuck I totally have one of those fuckers." Lesson learned I guess.

Kim W.

Oh no, Jason! Ack! Man, kids are Destructicons, aren't they?


I hate the be the barer of potentially bad news, but since I work for a restoration company (aka we dry floods and get rid of all the molds), you want to call a restoration company to do a moisture check (a good company will do a free estimate. Best case scenario: you dried it. Worst case: there's some work to be done BUT water is cheaper than mold). We get mold calls all the time because someone's house flooded 2 months ago and they set up a dehumidifier for two days and the drywall felt dry so they turned it off. Then the inside of the walls filled with mold. If the insurance sees that you knew about a water intrusion and didn't call a pro because then the insurance says it was negligence and HAHAHA they aren't covering it.

I'm going to get off my soapbox now, but I was on it because I care. 2 inches is a lot of water, and probably more than a bunch of towels and a home dehumidifier can take care of.


Duuuude. I was like you, water won't hurt anything...c'mon, lighten up. Until our uncaulked shower in a spot about five inches long leaked into our office in between the walls and the subfloor and the laminate floor and we got black mold and had to rip everything out and wasn't covered by our homeowners.


Ditto suzy q: it's a wet bar lady! Dry bar if there were no sink. If you're telling this story and can't remember which it is, just think of your experience. . .definitely wet!


What IS IT with the cute curly blond boys being such freaking trouble? I spent 2 years thinking I was a GREAT mom because boy #1 just had to be told once "that's not for babies" and he would go on his merry way. Boy #2 (aka Hurricane Hank) is the one who, when on his way to destroy something, stops and looks back over his shoulder to make sure you see him, then furiously crawls off to inflict dooooom. Hopefully he keeps this want of an audience, so there is less of a chance of stealthy basement flooding in my future?


Invest in a wet/dry shop vac. $40ish and floods require gar fewer towels.


Between the random birds and all of your other wacky tales...this one ranks high up on the list! WOWZA! Saying thanks for sharing almost sounds cruel....hope the damage is far less than it could have been.


In the wake of all the flooding happening in Colorado right now, your story seems almost cute. We have highways washed out and entire neighborhoods destroyed. Two inches in a basement! Aw, adorable!


Yeah. Just came home from a two week vacation to find our fish frantically swimming in about, oh half a fish tank full of water. The rest? Slowly leaked out all over our original 1940s pine hardwoods. Which are now buckled. Sigh.

jill (mrschaos)

Jason's comment made me laugh. ShopVac!


Ha! Good work, though. I always stare at giant messes for a solid minute or so, just thinking, "Wow. This is a really big mess. It's gonna take forever to clean this up. I should probably eat a snack before I tackle this."


Ha! Good work, though. I always stare at giant messes for a solid minute or so, just thinking, "Wow. This is a really big mess. It's gonna take forever to clean this up. I should probably eat a snack before I tackle this."


I think worrying about water = mold = sent to the fiery depths of house-hell must be a man thing cause mine totally does that. The second a child splashes a droplet of water out of the tub, he fuhreaks.

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