That Time the Basement Floor Was Saved and How it Almost Ruined Vacation

Last Friday afternoon found Todd and I watching the news in the basement due to a tornado warning. There was a funnel cloud, but thankfully it never touched down. All I could think of while we were down there was how much better it was to hunker down in a finished basement with a TV than piling up with blankets and pillows in the hallway, the only interior “room” in our Arkansas home.

Once the threat was over I headed back upstairs while Todd went to the unfinished side to check the sump pump and do other assorted manly things. He happened to notice some rust-colored water under the water heater and, upon further inspection, found a very slow leak.

This is where I tell you I’m so glad he found a slow leak and not a flooded basement.

This is also where I tell you how fortuitous it was he found the leak on a Friday, giving him the weekend to get a new one installed before we left for Maine on Monday morning.


  • Isn’t that lovely? If you click on it, you will be taken to Joyful Reflections Photography in Connecticut. So if you’re in CT and need a good photographer, you’re welcome.

Saturday morning he drove to Home Depot and purchased the new water heater and he and Taylor carried it from his truck to the basement. Todd had already made plans to help some friends move on Saturday, but since he had all day Sunday to work on the water heater it was no big deal. That night he turned down the heater so the water would be manageable to drain in the morning.

Sunday morning I was going to go to church and run some pre-vacation errands. As I was stumbling to the bathroom to start my ablution, I heard a thud! followed quickly by a grunt. Todd slipped on the stairs – thankfully near the bottom – and his feet went right out from under him, sending him back. He snapped his neck and hit his head on the way down. We’re pretty sure he got a mild concussion and most likely whiplash as well.

You know how the best treatment for a concussion and whiplash is rest? Yeah, well.

He continued down to the basement to start on the water heater and I decided I wasn’t leaving until I knew how he was doing. He started draining the unit –

This is where I tell you how convenient having a sump pump next to your water heater is. He just ran a hose from the unit to the sump pump and let it drain away.

– and as that was going on he unboxed the new water heater. It was covered with dents. Three huge dents and probably four decent sized dents. So he called Home Depot and they were kind enough to deliver another one and take the first one away.

Once the old one was drained, Todd and Taylor went to work exchanging the water heaters and hooking the new one up. Everything was going great.

This is where I tell you nothing can ever be easy. Ever.

Todd couldn’t get the pilot light ignited. He tried and tried and tried and finally gave up. Which meant we couldn’t leave this morning for Maine. Which is okay because we were only going to drive half way today and take our time tomorrow going the rest of the way.

So he got up and tried again this morning. Still nothing. He called Home Depot and they told him to call Rheem. He called Rheem and spoke with a really nice guy there who had him pretty much take the entire ignition compartment apart. ┬áHe checked the dumaflache and the whatchamacallit, but they were fine. The two of them brain stormed and trouble shot and voila! Success! I think the Rheem guy even offered Todd a job. It turned out the ignition thingamajiggy wasn’t close enough to the starter dealy. Surprisingly, I was NOT offered a job.

We could have left late morning or early afternoon and continued with our original, yet modified, plan, but decided to just call it a day. Besides, it was the day after the fall so Todd was even more sore today. So he took it easy. Being the supportive wife I am, I, too, took it easy.

At 2:00 when he said he was going to lay down on the couch for a little bit I said that I, too, would lay down on the love seat in solidarity. When he got up from his nap close to an hour later, I continued to encourage him from behind closed eyes (and the hood of my sweatshirt pulled up and over my head to cover said closed eyes) for another hour.

The best part of the day? Taking a luxuriously hot shower this evening. It was glorious.

This is the third time in a row that our plans to get away have been thwarted in some form or fashion. But this time we shall overcome! And Taylor shall have hot water while we’re gone.


  1. Cheryl Z. on October 13, 2015 at 2:33 am

    So glad you have a nice finished basement to wait out those dreaded storm warnings and even better a keen eyed hubby who could spot and fix a potential major water issue. Hate to hear about Todd’s fall and so glad it wasn’t much more serious. In this house we had a horrible experience with what was suppose to be a “mild concussion.” After 6 years being followed by our local Concussion Clinic, we were told there was no such thing, as it caused so many issues on my teen’s developing brain. So glad Todd is okay and hope you both have a safe, fantastic time in Maine. You both deserve it and the foliage should be perfect.xx

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