We'd been down in the sunny south for three months, off and on for Richard, consistently for me. There was an opening in the work schedule on the PT boat at the World war II Museum, when Richard's every day full-time attendance was thought to be discretionary. It was time to return to our rural roots for doctors' appointments and to finally paint the kitchen, which had been our winter doldrums plan all along.
When we got home to the holler, we had some surprises. Richard drove into the driveway and released our big bear of a Great Pyrenees back onto her patrol grounds, which she very enthusiastically ran through, banishing the several months build-up of beasties and ghoulies. He then unpacked his Bronco II, happily carrying his gear through the living room, down the hall, and into his office and our bedroom. It was so nice for him to be back in our familiar surroundings, until he entered the kitchen where he stepped into "squish."
The drain pan under the washing machine had clearly overflowed onto the kitchen floor. How could this have happened with us out of town, and knowing that no laundry was left washing as Richard had headed out the door? He looked high and low for the source of the swill, but couldn't find any obvious offenders. He even ran the washer, sure that the metal-clad hose must have burst, but found nothing. He called me with this news; now we were both mystified. He swabbed the deck, and decided to start the paint prep.
I had planned to have friends over to supper, but since the washer and dryer were now pulled to the middle of the kitchen, this clearly wasn't going to happen until the laundry closet was complete. I arrived the day after Richard, while he was at doctors' appointments for himself and Gypsy. My assignment was to remove all the items from the shelves over the washer and dryer. I happily puttered about rearranging our pantry cupboard and pitching lots of stale stuff, so as to make room for the overflow grocery items that had ended up in to laundry closet. I know, the board of health would have been appalled that we stored spaghetti next to stain remover, but that's recently remedied.
Upon his return from town, Richard began peeling off wall covering, and washing down walls. The next day, we agreed that I would clean up the mess while he went after more painting supplies. This is when it got really interesting. As I swept the floor, I saw some dark spots. I put my hand down and realized that the darkening was caused by wet wood. Not only this, but the floor was mushy. Richard's plan to paint the kitchen was now turned into one of his "infinite regression of steps" projects.
Before he can paint the kitchen, he has to paint the laundry closet. Before he can paint the ceiling and walls of the laundry closet, he has to rebuild the floor. Before he can rebuild the floor, he has to remove the soggy spots. Meanwhile, the PT boat builders are calling him back to duty. What's a woman to do when the "war effort" calls? Wherever this project stands, I'll release my Richard right after his last doctor's appointment on Thursday. As long as I have a working stove and sink, the painting can be put off.
On the up side of these surprises, I discovered that the leak was from a rubber washer that had become brittle...a cheap, easy fix. And the orchid that my daughter's family had given me four years ago, had not only survived my absence, but had once again begun to bloom.