My (Preferred) Alter-Ego (come find me here!)

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Merry Heart Meditations (part 1)

…because God has a sense of humor…

Definition of “A Beans Day”

It had been a high stress day at work; I came home exhausted and had a raging headache. JD decided to be kind and start dinner for me–minestrone soup, at my suggestion. Every recipe I found online suggested that the ingredients list was flexible, so JD decided to build our meal off of a bag of dry 5-bean soup beans.

After they had been boiling for an hour, I walked into the kitchen to discover most of the water in the pan had boiled away, the bottom layer of beans had burned to the pan, and the top layer of beans sported a chalky, powdery substance previously undiscovered by man. I made the executive decision that the time had come to start from scratch. Down the disposal went the beans, and out came another pan.

Just before we sat down to what turned out to be a delicious dinner, JD discovered that water was backing up into my kitchen sink. He retrieved a half-filled bottle of liquid plumber from the laundry room and sent it to work its magic while we ate.

Upon clearing the table from dinner, we discovered the sink still was not draining. I went to round up a second half-full bottle of liquid plumber from my bathroom. Down poured the contents of the yellow bottle; up glooped more slightly bubbling drain water. I sent DJ for the plunger.

We alternately worked on the sink with the dedication of trained EMTs performing CPR. In the back of my mind, I vowed to thoroughly disinfect the sink once we took care of this little drain problem.

An hour after we discovered the plumbing clog, we made a trip to WalMart to purchase more drain cleaner (the expensive kind) and some water-proof adhesive to seal a leak in the pipes our vigorous plunging had exacerbated. We were in the plumbing department when we saw it, housed ominously in its oversized plastic bag: the Liquid Lightning Drain Opener — sulfuric acid guaranteed to eat through anything organic in 20 minutes.

“We are so getting this,” JD said to me. And we did–to use as a last resort after another bottle of drain gel.

Dark was rapidly descending and I was puttering in the yard when JD came flying out the back door and doubled over coughing on the carport. I threw down my watering can and ran to his side. “What happened?!?”

More coughing.

“Are you okay?”

“Don’t go in there!”

“What’s wrong?”

“It–the smell–I–” Cough, cough, cough.

My house. My rules. “Stay here,” I told him, and I pulled my t-shirt up over my nose and ran inside. Neither of us are good at following directions, it seems, because he was right behind me as I crossed the threshold.

It smelled like a thousand pool filters had spontaneously combusted in the center of my kitchen. One tiny bottle of chemical had transformed my sink drain into the mouth of hell. I could almost see the smoke wafting into the living room.

My eyes were stinging while I ran around shutting off the air conditioning, turning on every fan, and throwing open the windows. JD dazedly followed every footstep, sporadically coughing every few minutes. I began wondering if we needed to rush him to the emergency room.

We shut ourselves in one of the back rooms of the house and sat in the dark (I had turned off all the lights to cut down on the heat), waiting for twenty minutes to pass. JD could only manage a few words, mostly about an erupting green liquid that squirted up past the pan he’d put in place to cover the drain. To this day I only have a vague understanding of what exactly happened. It sounds like Slimer took up residence in my plumbing.

At around 9:45, we tiptoed through the house (as if walking normally would somehow set off another chemical reaction). Drain vomit had crusted over my sink with brown and green goop. A good sign, I thought. Nothing could live through that!

JD turned on the water, and it bubbled along for a few seconds. I grabbed a steel-wool scrubbing pad, concerned that the residue on the sink wasn’t washing off fast enough. By the time the water began backing up into the sink again I had realized that the stain wasn’t coming off. I sent JD home to call a plumber and get some sleep, and returned to my room trying to force images of greasy water, dirty dishes, and chemical haze from my mind.

A phone call from the plumbing company the next morning informed me they wouldn’t be able to come out until early next day. JD washed my dirty dishes in a drink cooler in the back yard. We went out for dinner that night, reminding each other that in a year, this experience would be funny.

One over-$300 visit from the plumber Saturday morning brought the following conclusions:

1) JD and I are both in the wrong line of work. At $350 an hour, we could both retire within twenty years.

2) Sulfuric acid will eat through the bottom of garbage disposals.

3) Sulfuric acid takes the finish off of brand new stainless-steel sinks. “Safe for pipes,” my eye!

5) Sulfuric acid is rendered powerless in the face of 5-bean soup mix. Beans are indestructible. All paving companies should take note.

The wonderful thing is that God is always there with us, even in the middle of a “beans” kind of day. He protected JD and me from possible chemical fallout, and the entire situation lasted a relatively short amount of time in the grand scheme of things. JD and I have laughed about the experience with our friends multiple times already, and it has been much less than a year. How grateful I am to share my life with a man who laughs with me.

I’m praying that the plumber felt the Holy Spirit in my home on Saturday morning as he worked. Is reaching a human life worth $350? I have to say, “it is.”

“For we know all things work together for the good…”

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