Friday, February 17, 2012

What Happens When You Have Alligators in the Bathtub and The Great Flood of 2012

Alligators in the bathtub...this is what happens when you have alligators in the bathtub...a water damaged dining room ceiling...again. March 1st will mark our 9th year in our house and this will be the third time I will need to repair my dining room ceiling. The kids' bathroom is above the dining room and living room but water always takes the route of least resistance and so the water stains always end up in the middle of my dining room toward the wall near the kitchen. I've had a plumber come in to give me advice as to how to prevent this from happening again. Should I replace the linoleum floor? He said for the cost to put in tile, no, and if there is water on the floor it will still find a way to get in the walls.  Should I install shower doors instead of having a shower curtain? Again, his answer was no and I can't remember all his reasons but they sounded good at the time and so his advice was to just install shower splash guards on either side of the tub and to not take down the shower head because that could lead to potential water getting out of the tub.

Well, a hurricane hit the bathroom Tuesday night. Alligators and sharks were doing everything they could to beat the storm. When the storm was over...the water sat on the bathroom floor. Then another Nealon kid went into the bathroom, saw the results of the storm, teeth were brushed and nothing was said...and then the next Nealon and then the next Nealon and nothing was said. 

Well, the real storm didn't hit until Wednesday morning when the result of the storm the night before slowly made its way to my dining room ceiling while we slept. There was screaming, there was yelling, there was crying. And then there was more screaming and yelling and crying because I heard that phrase that I just can't stand. That phrase that I think bothers me more than any other, IT...WASN'T...ME!!! Really, that's your defense? You feel that the carpet is not just wet but saturated and you don't say anything? You see the water on the floor and you don't say anything? We've had this discussion hundreds of times about water on the floor and you don't say anything? I was mad. I was mad because of the water damage but I was more mad that all four of them knew there was water on the floor to the point that the carpet was now 5 pounds heavier with water and yet they didn't speak up. And then the "Uncle Peter" story was mentioned.

Uncle Peter is one of five Nealon Brothers and then there was Mary Ellen, the only sister. There are many, many  Nealon stories about what it was like to grow up in their house. Stories that have been told and retold over and over again. When the Nealons get together and these stories are told there is always laughter and it is always funny to listen to different points of view of the same story.

For school, Ryan had to interview a family member and he chose his Uncle Peter. One of his questions was, "What's one of your favorite, funny childhood memories?" Peter told the story of the time they were all in Michigan. There was a creek nearby and the boys went down to it to hang out. Mark was trying to fish, Peter was jumping from rock to rock and Chris was hanging out as well. Then Paul shows up and sees Peter jumping and says, "That looks fun, I can do that!" Well when Paul went to jump, Peter said, "Oh, no, I wasn't jumping from that rock. I was jumping from this one!" Which of course was farther away. So Paul jumps, misses and is now in the creek. The story is told that Paul must of landed in the one little part of the creek that was over his head because it wasn't that deep. Chris said that he told him to try and stand because he was only inches away from the edge. How deep could it possibly be? But when Paul tried to stand, he went under. Peter started running to get mom and dad but while he was running back to the house he stops and thought for a second. "If I go get mom and dad, then I'm going to get in trouble." A boy with this dilemma. He wasn't the first and he certainly wasn't the last. What does Peter do? Well, he starts to run back to the creek because he doesn't want to get in trouble but then he turns around and starts to run back toward the house to get help. In the end, he goes back to the creek and they are able to pull Paul out. Mark, who was still fishing, just looks over at them all and says, "Can you keep it down over there, you're scaring all the fish away."

So back to the dining room. The screaming continues..."Uncle Peter didn't want to get in trouble with his mom and dad and I know none of you want to get in trouble either but WHY DIDN'T YOU CLEAN UP THE WATER!!!" The screaming, "not a morning person to begin with" mom banned all electronics until further notice. But that won't solve my water damaged ceiling. Do I ban them from ever taking a bath? Do I take away all the toys that they love to play with in the tub? Do I ban them from the bathroom all together and make them take their showers in the basement bathroom? Chris already kicked them out of our bathroom because he was tired of the water on the floor and the wet towels on the floor so to use our bathroom, it's by invitation only.

I know it's just a ceiling and we can have it fixed...again...but I just had the painter here in November to fix it after having a water stained ceiling for about a year so the angry mom did come out.

Yesterday was a rainy day. The boys couldn't play basketball outside and so when they came home from school they were trying to figure out what to do without ANY TV, no xbox, no ds games, no wii, no phones, no ipods...they were lost souls at first. "Mom, what did you and Uncle Robbie and Uncle Brian do in the "old" days with no electronics?" And then the creative juices started to flow. Ryan finished reading a biography on Walt Disney. 

Timmy and Molly worked together to make this board game.

 Timmy pulled some books off the shelf and started rereading some old favorites.

Ryan made his own board trivia game all about the Muppets.

I found Shannon on the floor in the utility room creating something.

All Molly needed was a balloon and a tennis racket.

I also put them to work. My next house project is to paint Molly room. She no longer wants the pink paint that has been there since we found out we were having another girl 8 years ago. Her pretty wallpaper on the bottom needs to be removed. They have learned that things don't magically happen while they are at school all day. The magical fairy is MOM!!!

The only electronics that were allowed was the computer for homework purposes only. Ryan said, "Since there's nothing else to do, I might as well get my blog posts done for the month of February."

Timmy playing with bug toys.

Timmy and Ryan playing together with a paper basketball Valentine card.

Ryan asking his trivia questions at the dinner table. I think I was the Muppet Champion.

And what was Shannon creating in the Utility Room?

A jar to collect money for a Disney Cruise trip. I think in all the ranting and raving  that morning, Chris had said that vacation money would now have to be spent to fix the ceiling.

 This morning while trying to get Molly and Ryan out the door because their ride was almost here, I called up to Molly who was in the bathroom. She yelled back at me, "I'm almost ready, I'm doing number 2!!!" Timmy and I just looked at each other and then she came running down the stairs saying, "I was doing rule number 2, cleaning up my spit out of the sink." Shannon had taken a dry erase marker and wrote some bathroom rules on the mirror.

Have lessons been learn in the Nealon House? I think so. Will I ever have to have my dining room ceiling repaired again? Who knows? But what I learned, is that my kids can come up with things to do without electronics. They can work together to make a game. We can laugh as a family at the dinner table while answering questions about the Muppets. And someday, years from now, my kids will get together with their own families and tell the story about the great flood of 2012.

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