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WHAT’S SO FUNNY:A drain on the family

If you live long enough, you get a taste of most of life’s mishaps. The latest taste at our house involved plumbing.

I use the upstairs shower because the water pressure up there is intense and manly. Patti Jo and our daughter Katie take their showers in the girlie shower downstairs.

The other day, Patti Jo said something about the downstairs shower draining slowly. I noticed no problem when I took my upstairs shower, but when I came down afterward, I did notice that the downstairs bathroom, hallway and master bedroom were all flooded.

The plumber determined that the flood was caused not so much by my shower, but by a clog beneath the downstairs shower, which in turn was caused primarily by a big ball of hair.


I have some hair. Patti Jo and Katie have more. I think we know where the ultimate fault lies.

Patti Jo reminded me that I’d known there was a problem beforehand. I told her that little could be accomplished by playing the Blame Game. She’s still speaking to me; I don’t know why.

We used up all the towels and the carpet was still squishy, so Patti Jo called a professional drier.

He arrived with a hand tool that found water in the walls and under the bookcases. He said we’d need our carpet pad pulled out, plus “de-hu’s” and blowers operating between carpet and floor, full blast, for three days.


We looked unenthusiastic, which seemed to hurt his feelings. He said this was typical in his business. People were always desperate to see him but later turned ugly and wanted him and his equipment out. He envisioned us turning on him before we even had a chance to do it.

He and his assistant moved everything out of our bedroom and hallway, tore out the carpet pad, placed the de-hu’s and blowers, turned them on and left, whereupon our carpets did the ocean roll for three days and the kitchen sounded like the basement of the old Chicago Sun-Times building when all the presses were running.

Particles kept swirling in the air, which became extremely dry. But it was better than mold and rot in the walls, so we raised our voices and soldiered on.

After three days, the carpet man came and took his blowers out. He hoped we appreciated what he’d done, although he was pretty sure we didn’t.

He told us we were lucky, and that much we knew. When I have a thorny problem and need to think profoundly, I stay in the shower until the hot water runs out. If I’d done that the other day, the entire Top of the World neighborhood would be on hold to FEMA.


  • SHERWOOD KIRALY is a Laguna Beach resident. He has written four novels, three of which were critically acclaimed.