SoCS: emptied

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “the last thing you emptied.” Think of the last thing you emptied or something you empty often and use it as your prompt any way you like. 

Two weeks ago I emptied my laundry room and it was horrible.

I had a very bad water heater that only heated about 50% but it was enough. I could do dishes and have showers. But to have a bath I had to boil a big pot of water to get it hot enough. Every time I went from the kitchen to the bathroom carrying a big boiled pot of water I thought “this could go very bad”. It cooled down quickly, too, and couldn’t be topped up with more hot water.

I could live with that and have been for a few years but one day, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed the floor of the laundry room was wet. I put down some old towels and found it was leaking from the bottom! OMG. All that night I imagined the bottom falling out. There is no basement here, my laundry room is on the main floor, between the kitchen and bathroom with no floor drain. It truly would be a disaster.

On top of that I was in a depressed state. A very close friend was in the hospital with cancer and I didn’t hear anything after that. I was so worried, checking my email and her Facebook timeline several times a day. Now this laundry room demanded my attention. It was so stuffed with stuff I had to clear it out to let a plumber get to it. And I didn’t have a plumber yet.

Luckily the leak was slow, I could change towels morning and night to manage it. I kept my fingers crossed and used my “chipping away” method. When a job is too big or overwhelming I use the chipping away method: do a little bit everyday.

There are shelves behind the door and they were filled with craft stuff, painting stuff, weird one- use cleaning products, an extensive collection of rags. Not only shoe-shining stuff but my dad’s old shoe shining stuff.

First day I rolled up my hallway runner and emptied the top 2 shelves into the hall. That was it.

The next day I put a big garbage bin in the hall and ruthlessly started to throw things out. Way to much craft garbage I’ll never use. I started a box for the annual hazardous waste drop-off but I only did 2 more shelves. Still keeping the leak in check with towels.

I chipped away for a few days until the shelves were empty and I could get them out from behind the door. Finally had access to the heater. Put the shelves in the hall and put the clean and organized stuff back on them. Ta-da! I’d say it took 5 or 6 days.

THANK GOODNESS I DID IT THAT WAY! In the meantime I found a plumber trusted by my neighbors. I called him and he said he could put it in the next day! If I hadn’t have done the methodical emptying of the laundry room I would have been tossing all that crap into the hallway that night!

And here it is: my beautiful, clean new water heater. My baths are so hot I haven’t been able to stay in them long enough to top it up with hot water. Now its over, I’m glad its done. The shelves are back behind the door, all organized. Now I can chip away at paying for it on my credit line.

My friend passed away this week. I’m so sad. I have a headache from crying. I’ve had a few nice hot baths.

7 thoughts on “SoCS: emptied

  1. There are so many threads running through my head, from this one, “simple” story of fixing a water heater!

    I am so sorry to hear the loss of your friend.

    I’m not so sure it is coincidence that your water heater timed into the worry about your friend. “The Lord works in mysterious ways” which I change to “The Universe works in mysterious ways.” The project took your mind (somewhat) off the friend. I’m sure you had to focus while slogging through, a type of meditation. And I know being able to soak in a bath is a good way to destress, reflect, and center.

    I haven’t been able to take a bath for over a decade (lousy tubs, no tubs, and/or bad knees which prevent me from getting down into a tub, let alone getting back out of one), and so I am happy/envious for you. 🙂

    I’m stealing the term “chipping away.” I have done similar, and it does keep one from going totally deer-in-headlights when faced with a big task, but I like the simple term! Thank you. 🙂

    • I’ve thought about how it was a well-timed distraction ending with something therapeutic. The ‘Lord’ (or whatever you want to call it) draws a line through time that we can’t see until we look behind. I had some beautiful moments in nature here that buoyed me up. Swans flying over head. Coming across the bittersweet vine I was writing a haiku about. small blessings.

  2. Water heaters are so much safer and more efficient now, and they still last a long time. I’ll bet your gas bill goes down now, too.

    Sorry about your friend.

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