The puddle

It was 3:00am. My dog, Norman, shot me a look and began to whine and continued to look out into the bedroom hallway. 

“Lay down Norm, Mama will be right back. She’s just using the bathroom,” I said. 

I flipped my pillow over to the cool side to lay back down and try to get some more sleep before it was time to rise. Before I knew it, I shot another look at the clock and it was 3:15am. I turned over to see if my wife, Azure, was back in bed, but she wasn’t. I then looked toward Norman and he was still sitting there looking at the bathroom light, which glowed underneath the door onto the floor. It was very abnormal for my wife to be in the bathroom for 15 minutes. She’s usually in and out in less than 2 minutes, tops! 

“Something isn’t right here,” I said. 

I hopped out of bed and walked briskly to the bathroom door. 

“Azure, are you okay?” I asked.

“I’m in a lot of pain, Sean. My stomach is killing me,” she replied. 

“Oh, no. It was time! But it couldn’t be! On the actual due date!?” I thought to myself. 

“Did you call the doctor?” I asked. 

“Yes, she said to wait until the morning and see how I feel. I’ll be right out,” she said. 

This gave me some kind of relief and I made my way back into the bedroom to calm Norman down. Two minutes later Azure came back into bed and tried to rest. I began to watch the clock and kept tabs on the time in between each shooting pain she reported. First, it was every four minutes, then every three minutes. 

“Azure, I think we need to head to the hospital. You could be ready to give birth,” I said. 

“OK, OK, let me call the doctor again,” she said. 
Just as she stood up, I heard water hitting the wood floor.

“What was that?” I asked. 

“My water broke!” she replied. 

I jumped out of bed, as did Norman, to see what was going on. I quickly threw a towel on the puddle before Norman got his nose into it! I plopped Norm back onto the bed, began to throw our clothes into a duffle bag, and headed off to the hospital! Twelve hours later, Mason Richard McCormack was born at 6 pounds and 9ounces. 

After two days at the hospital, things started to die down a bit and it was time to take the munchkin home. We carefully placed him into his car seat and bundled him up as if we were heading outside into a blizzard. Mind you, it was July! We made our way to the car and I placed Mason’s carrier into the base of the car seat. ‘Click.’ 

“Is he secure Azure?” I asked.

“I believe so,” she said. 

“I think I heard a click,” I said.

Not believing myself, I began to lift up on the handle of the carrier to ensure the seat was secure. 

“OK, I believe it’s good,” I said. 

Azure then jumped into the back seat next to Mason and I nervously took the wheel in my hands. We were on the road and I was on high alert! My eyes were scanning the road constantly and nervously looking in each of my mirrors. I stayed in the far right lane of the highway, cruising at a speed of 30 miles an hour. I was being so overly cautious and aware of my surroundings the entire trip. 

I kept checking my blind spots, using the turn signal way in advance before switching lanes and keeping a more than safe distance from the car in front of me. What was only a 20-minute drive on a normal day, took us close to an hour. But, we managed to arrive home safe and sound. At the time, I thought I was being too overly cautious with my driving skills. However, it was so crucial for me to triple check every decision before making a move with such an important package to be delivered. You can never be too cautious!

It was a Friday afternoon and my co-worker, Glenn, and I arrived at a house to install a 75-gallon hot water heater. Glenn headed to the basement to begin the dismantling phase, and I headed upstairs to open up a few faucets to help drain the heater. Things started out smoothly, and then the ever so famous Friday-late-afternoon-curve-balls started to come our way! You name it, it happened. 

The cold feed gate valve to the heater wasn’t holding, so we needed to shut off the main water supply to the house. Yep, you guessed it. The valve now at the meter wasn’t holding and it was time to call the water company. We all know that waiting for the water company to arrive isn’t the fastest process in the world. But, eventually they showed up and I was able to sweat a ball valve on in no time. 

After several hours on the job, it was time to fill up the 75-gallon beast. Glenn began to feed the heater with water and I made my way upstairs to ensure all fixtures were turned off. While upstairs, a call came in on my cell from a customer and my focus was directed to the phone call. Once the tank was filled and all of the air was out, I shut the hot side of the kitchen faucet and made my way back to the basement. 

Glenn and I began to quickly clean up because it was getting late and we wanted the weekend to begin! All of the tools were quickly wrapped up and put into the truck. I then made my final go-around to ensure there were no leaks or tools left behind. While in the basement, I heard water running. I quickly went to the meter to see if the needle was spinning, and it was! 

“Oh, no!” I said. 

I ran like the wind! I raced up those basement stairs and began my frantic search for a running faucet. My mind was racing and counting all of the fixtures I had opened. 

“Kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower…. The tub!!!” I finally recalled. 

I quickly sprinted upstairs to the second level and burst through the master bath door. There it was. The tub on legs was filled to the brim! The homeowners left the plug in the drain. I quickly shut the valves, and took a step back with my eyes wide and in total shock. 

“Oh my god, that was close,” I said. 

All I could think about was if we had left that house with the tub running. The homeowners were away for the weekend and the place would have been flooded! I knelt down near the tub, shook my head, and carefully reached into the tub and pulled the plug.

The situation on that Friday afternoon could have turned really ugly. We all have been in these situations as plumbers, and they can be very scary! I learned a very valuable lesson that afternoon, in that you can never be too cautious while plumbing. My mind was elsewhere when I was talking on the phone, and I was not focusing on the job at hand. If I took my time and triple checked everything, this possible disaster would have been avoided. 

Whether you’re sweating pipe in a tight spot, dealing with gas and water, or taking that nerve-racking ride home from the hospital with your baby, you can never be too cautious! Trying to throw a towel on this possible “puddle” wouldn’t have cut it. Safe plumbing! 

Sean McCormack is co-owner of BMC Plumbing and Heating Inc. He can be reached at seanmccormack99@yahoo.com, or (845) 596-7770. Visit Sean’s website, www.seantheplumber.com.

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