I’ve touched on our home saga before. After years of apartment living we bought our first home – in a wonderful neighbourhood in a town we love – and almost immediately (exactly one week after getting the keys) hit some major snags. Sewer and drainage issues consumed the better part of six months – hours of phone calls with insurance companies and consultations with contractors and many thousands of dollars.
After dealing with these issues – most of which required us to undo existing infrastructure like flagstone pathways and cutting down mature trees – we’ve slowly picked away at other structural and aesthetic improvements.
This post was supposed to be about how thankful I am for a new front door. Of all the renovations, this has thrilled me the most. Most winters I’ve stuffed rags around the perimeter of our very drafty front door. A repair attempt earlier this year only made things worse, rendering the door draftier and almost impossible to open and close. So seeing a new door installed this week thrilled me to no end.
But then we hit a snag, as seems to be the lot with renovations.
When dealing with an external water faucet, it inadvertently impacted piping inside the house. In the guest room closet. In the guest room closet where I was storing all my wrapped Christmas gifts.
With both kids happily entertained yesterday before supper, I decided I would capitalize on the relative peace and goodwill by tackling a batch session of Christmas wrapping. Once a small pile was completed – and feeling quite proud of my handiwork – I went to add these new additions to the growing stash in the guest room closet.
Let’s rewind for a minute. Earlier this week, in light of pending torrential rain (and based on the recent catastrophic flooding in British Columbia) I removed ALL the wrapped gifts from the closet…just in case. They stayed high and dry and, thankfully, the storm passed us by without any impact. On Thursday we moved the gifts back into the closet so we could have the basement deep-cleaned for the first time in SIX months. The floors were mopped, the gifts were neatly stowed away, I had a new front door. Life was glorious.
And then I opened up the closet and saw the water.
So that’s how I found myself unexpectedly unwrapping several bags full of neatly wrapped, but completely sodden, Christmas gifts.
And then I started counting my blessings.
It’s not that water in the house doesn’t suck and it’s not that I don’t wish this hadn’t happened (although I’m a bit grateful it did, read on). I’m definitely not naturally the “Pollyanna” type (the word pessimist has definitely been attached to me). But I’m hoping it’s evidence that the Bible Study lesson of letting anxiety be the cue for gratitude really did permeate.
Because I couldn’t stop finding all these things to be thankful for, even as I slowly wrung the water out of a pair of funky socks and eyed the permanent water stains on our Alex Colville Horse and Train print.
- For running water. The fact we have a leaking pipe means we have access to running water. Billions of people don’t have this luxury.
- That I was in the closet (which I sometimes go weeks without opening up) which led me to discover the leak after an hour instead of hours (or days) when the damage would have been far more extensive.
- That we have gifts. What a priviledge to have the resources to give and receive items (many of them for sheer fun) this time of year.
- For the recent electrical upgrade that required us to cut holes in the closet drywall. This gave the water an exit point so, instead of flooding the ceiling, it dripped right down through the hole (onto the wrapped gifts and stored artwork).
- We caught it early enough that most of the gifts were 100% okay (especially the calendars I worked so hard to prepare), if a bit waterlogged around the edges.
- The fact we discovered the issue at 4:30 pm when contractors were still onsite and that they were able to correct the issue so we had access to running water over the weekend!
- That our contractors were willing to stay late (on a dark, wet Friday evening) to do a temporary, but safe, fix so we didn’t have to put in an emergency plumbing call which would have left more time for more water damage (and cost a small fortune).
- This happened – the pipe was compromised and if the break hadn’t happened now, it probably would have at some point in the future when it almost certainly would have caused significantly more damage.
- For a husband that was so calm and helpful and joined me as we listed all the many things to be thankful for while he cleaned up muddy boot prints, removed wet insulation, and vacuumed up drywall.
When I woke up early this morning (I cannot shake the early wakeups since DST) I knew what to do. I headed downstairs, cued up a podcast and rewrapped the mostly salvageable gifts. And I was grateful.
The gifts are all wrapped and safely stowed on a high shelf inside plastic bags inside plastic totes. Because, as grateful as I am to have managed to recover most of the gifts to be able to re-wrap them a second time, I’ve no desire to make a hattrick out of this event.
And I am still really, really, really grateful for that new front door.