Waiting for the other 12 shoes to drop

It started when, after our most recent spell of rain, I noticed some water in our crawl space.

“Some water” herein being defined as in there was “some water” in the Titanic after it became acquainted with an iceberg.

Even though I quickly ruled out the possibility of sinking and the need for lifeboats, there remained the problem of the water and what to do about it.

I will now state, for the record, that I hate crawl spaces. I’ve hated crawl spaces for as long as I’ve owned homes.

I hate them because they’re dark, damp, and involve a lot of bending over and crawling about while (unsuccessfully) dodging floor joists. In fact, if there’s anything to like about crawl spaces, my now 64-year-old knees, back, and forehead would dearly love to hear about it, but they’d likely remain standoffish and more than a bit skeptical.

Still, the water in our crawl space meant that our sump pump had taken time off or, more likely, gone to wherever sump pumps go when they die.

So, after the water receded, I ventured under the house and discovered that, indeed, our sump pump was — to use a complex and highly technical engineering term — “toast.” Further, after 28 years of doing its best to keep the cold out, most of the insulation under our floors looked as if it needed to be replaced.

Note to self: “It’s never just one thing.”

All of which coalesced into my head as a single thought. That thought being, “There’s no way I’m going to do all of this.”

And so, we got bids for the work, one of which quoted a price which must have been for the building of the second Aswan High Dam on our lot so as to ensure that not a drop of water would show up in our crawl space ever again. However, we did get a bid for the sump pump installation and a second one for replacing the insulation that didn’t cause my heart to quit.

So, we turned them loose.

The good news was that the work got done and, even though I kissed any thought of a Montana hunt goodbye for another year, I kept the promise I’d made to myself about not going under the house while it was in process.

Feeling better about it all, I completely forgot that bad things always come in threes.

I was quickly reminded of this rule, however, when — during a breakfast battle between soggy corn flakes and dental enamel — one of my wife’s teeth lost the fight as badly and as unexpectedly as did Sonny Liston to (back then) Cassius Clay. Holding a piece of that tooth in her hand, she sagely mumbled “I’ll bet this isn’t going to be cheap.”

One crown later, she was proven to be clairvoyant and I mentally pushed that Montana hunt back another year or two.

Then came last Wednesday. That was the day I walked out to my truck and found that it wasn’t in the mood to start.

Since the days of home auto repair have succumbed to the rise of computerized engine modules, electronic readouts, and very specialized and expensive tools, there was little I could do except bite the bullet and push that trip back yet another year.

As of now, my check book looks more than a bit abused, and I refuse to do the math to see what the balance (if any) might be. It’s that scary.

Still, that’s three bad things in less than two weeks. Nothing more can happen. It’s a basic law of nature. There’s a balance in the universe that has to be maintained.

Thus, when our heater began making strange noises, I reasoned that it couldn’t mean that another three were about to start. Someone keeps track of these things, don’t they? There’s no way that another calamity was going to show up at my door. A merciful deity would ensure that it was someone else’s turn, right?

Then, why is my driveway settling too? I need to talk with whomever is in charge of all of this because I’m getting this “deer in Fate’s headlights” feeling.

But that’s not going to fix my heater or driveway is it?

Now, I lie awake at night wondering what’s next.

And it’s not going to stop, is it?

Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to larrysim@comcast.net

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