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disaster from the water gods

Yesterday, I made the terrible mistake of assuming life was going swimmingly. Jason and I had just had a productive meeting, during which I booked a nearby sound studio, Number 9 on Gerrard, to record an audiobook of the memoir. A big project but one which seemed to fall surprisingly easily into place. Even better, after Jason left, Anna phoned to tell me how much they are all enjoying their Nova Scotia retreat.


I was chatting with her on the phone when suddenly water started squirting – pouring – out of the light socket in the dining room. Terrifying. And then the smoke alarm started shrieking. It was as if the house itself was possessed. I ran upstairs to see water pouring out of the smoke alarm above the stairs and out of the door frame of the nearby bedroom, pooling in inches on the floor. I dashed up to the third floor, thinking that my tenant had left a tap running – water was squirting violently out of the wall in his bathroom, the floor was awash in water. All the alarms in the house screaming, water running down walls everywhere.


Total panic. Drenched, I called John.

15 minutes later he appeared. I’d tried but couldn’t turn off the house’s water system in the basement because the shut off valve had been changed, it’s a lever somewhere that I couldn’t find. But he turned it off. And though water was still squirting and the alarms were still screaming and the carpeted stairs were soaking wet, we made our way to the third floor where John eventually figured out that the toilet had somehow pulled out of the wall and disconnected from the pipes. He managed to stop the waterfall and disconnect the alarm.

Major clean up – every single towel in the house, every rag, every bucket. Luckily neither tenant was home at that time. Poor Robin upstairs came home and went into shock. The woman in the basement initially was furious about the wet carpet and wet floor and lack of towels, but forgave me.

And then my dear friend Suzette arrived at the door for dinner; though I’d sent her several messages of warning she didn’t get them. And despite everything, despite the kitchen being full of the pots and bowls I’d used to catch water and the sodden towels covering the deck, we made a nice dinner and evening. Luckily our food was all made.

In the middle of it all, as I was mopping floors and trying to get ready for my friend, I found the cat on the stove, trying to eat our pasta dinner from the saucepan. 



I drank too much. There was a huge cleanup after. The paint on many walls, from attic to basement, is damp and damaged. Can’t even think about it.

As I’ve quoted many times, my last handyman Len told me I must have offended the water gods in a previous life. And it certainly seems so, this house a litany of leaking roof and skylights and flooding basement. But – a toilet pulling from the wall and flooding a four-story house – have you ever heard of that? 

In the night, I awoke, feeling as if my body was electrified, currents charging through, zapping me. I thought I was having a heart attack and came down to look it up on my phone. It said something about anxiety, and also about MS, that it might be an early symptom of MS. Put the phone down. Not going there right now. Ate some peanut butter, my soporific of choice, and managed to sleep. When the stores open will ride downtown to buy fresh towels and bath mats for my tenants, as theirs are in garbage bags on the deck. John is arriving at some point with new parts for the toilet upstairs, and then we’re going to tear out the carpeting on the stairs, too sodden to save.

What if John hadn’t been home yesterday? The thought makes me sick. I wonder, for the millionth time, about a nice little condo somewhere. 

But where? Any ideas? Up for a move. 


PS Just dropped a heavy bottle of maple syrup on my toe. It hurts. Time to give up? Back to bed? Back to the womb? 

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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