The Bright Side of Bursting Water Pipes: Blogging about Disasters Brings Hope

by Sally Matheny
Niagara Falls image compliments of flickr
Should we blog about our daily dilemmas? Looking for the brighter side in the midst of our disasters may bring hope to others.
Is there a bright side of water pipes bursting? We shall see.At the moment, my hope is hanging by a nail.

Tuesday, we had no electricity for about three hours. Later, after the power was restored, a water pipe burst in our attic. I’ve always wanted to see Niagara Falls—just not in my hall bathroom…, or in my closet…, or in my bedroom.
The rest of the afternoon was a whirlwind of trying to get the water turned off, trying to contact my husband, and trying to rescue clothes and photo albums, and such. It was definitely a trying day.

Wednesday, I cleaned to the constant roar of fans and a dehumidifier. It’s amazing how much stuff can accumulate in a medium-size walk-in closet.
Thursday I had a migraine and wasn’t much good to anyone.
Friday involved more cleaning. I hung clothes on a small extension rod I placed in the bathroom. It fell, so only neckties are hanging on it now. Then I tried hanging the clothes on a mobile clothes rack. It began leaning so much from the weight we had to prop it up against the treadmill.
Bursting Water Pipe by flickr

Saturday, I cleaned my daughter’s closet. She’s away at college so we decided to sleep in her room until the repairs were made. I moved some of my clothes in her closet. After cleaning, there was still only about 12 inches of available space so I crammed as many clothes as I could in those 12 inches.
We also began purging stuff. If you need a necktie or a picture frame, call us.

I don’t know how I accumulated so many boxes of greeting cards and craft supplies! I began thinning out my collections and my husband promised to weed out his collection of cassette tapes. Yes—cassette.  With his headset on, he appeared to have a wonderful time listening to each one. I don’t know how many he discarded, but the huge duffel bag is gone now. (I’m beginning to wonder if he just moved them out to our storage building).
Sunday, all was going well until we arrived home from church. Apparently, there was another small water issue under the house. My husband quickly took care of it. Then, we heard a huge CRASH!
Another closet collapses
My daughter’s entire closet shelf collapsed. Evidently, the clothes on those 12 inches were one foot too much. My son looked at me and asked if I was going to start cleaning up the mess. Closing my eyes and taking a deep breath, my firm reply was “No, just shut the door and walk away.”  I began to walk out of the bedroom.

“But, Mom…”
“I said, Shut the door and walk away.”
 I’m still pretending the mess isn’t there.
Are you ready for the brighter side? Me, too! Let me be clear, here. I don’t feel like a “Lil’ Miss Sunshine” in the middle of all the mess and I certainly don’t act like her. Ask my family. However, there is a brighter side and that’s where I try to focus my attention (at least most of the time).

We were blessed to be home when the pipe burst. I’ve heard horror stories of people discovering water damage hours later, even days later. The damage could have been so much worse had we not been home and if the power had not been restored.
And, while I felt like I was running in slow motion circles, like a half-frozen chicken with her head cut off, I actually managed to save almost everything. Only a few items suffered damage, and thankfully, none of those were our photo albums and scrapbooks.
The calvary came. Thankfully, my sister-in-law came and helped me cut off the water. Another dear friend came right away to help my husband begin the necessary repairs. My parents kept my son one day so I could clean and they brought us a delicious meal the day I had the migraine.

Repairs Needed in Attic, 2 BR, 1 Bath, & 2 Closets
The repairs aren't cheap but could have been much more expensive. My husband has developed into quite a handy-man over the years, which will save us money.
Two closets were cleaned…well, one will have to be done again. But purged a lot of stuff we didn’t need. And hopefully, the things we donated will help someone else.
I haven’t found a lot of humor in all the clothes racks falling. However, there is one event, in the midst of this chaos, that will always make me laugh.
The day the pipe burst, I was unable to reach my husband by phone. He is a pastor but he also works at a community college.  Every day he works out in the gym during his lunch hour. I finally called one of his coworkers who delivered the message to him at the gym. My husband was still in his T-shirt and shorts when he received the news his house was flooding. He didn't even take time to change but grabbed his coat and began to sprint across campus. The temps were in the single digits that day so my husband wore his long, winter coat. As he was running across campus, he said he quickly unbuttoned his coat.
When I asked him why, he replied, “I thought people needed to see I was wearing clothes underneath that long coat. All you could see were my bare legs. I didn’t want people to think I was a flasher!"
So, there you have it. Sometimes our disasters are just temporary dilemmas. My mama is right when she says, “There’s always going to be somebody who has it worse.”  It helps to keep things in perspective.

Sun over ice photo by flicker
Maybe you’re in the middle of your own disaster of sorts. And whether you’re hanging on by a nail, a thread, or the end of your rope, there’s always hope. Don’t give up. God cares about life’s little snags and the huge catastrophes. Because of His love, there will always be a brighter side.

If you like reading about the brighter side of dilemmas, you may also enjoy:  
When There’s Nothing to Blog About
 It’s funny how many people can relate to a baking catastrophe.
Writers’ Conference: When It Rains It Pours
Are you stressed? Allow God to open the floodgate!