Living in a Pretty Old House

Today I was sitting in the living room in my pajamas, working on schoolwork with Francis our cat in my lap. Out of nowhere, a great rushing of water commenced in the other room, and Francis leaped out of my lap in excitement.

I open the door to our bedroom to find a literal waterfall of water pouring out of the ceiling and onto the floor right next to our bed. There is a trail of leaking ceiling tiles over our bed that are beginning to get wet and drip as well, but thankfully the majority of it is to the side. Right on top of my cellphone.

As most of you are currently aware, I struggled with OCD and anxiety, and most of my triggers have to do with liquids and particles that are not where they are supposed to be (i.e. somewhere that I deem out of the way and safe). I just stand and stare at this flow of water, and think, what the fuck.

There’s obviously nothing I can do to stop the flow of water, but I can get my cat out of there at least. This proves to be more difficult than anticipated, because Francis absolutely loves anything having to do with rogue liquids and particles. He frolics through them any chance he gets.

“France!” I yell, shaking the food bowl in the other room in an attempt to coax him out. It’s not working, which is saying something for him. Finally I get him to follow me out, and I lock him in the porch area while I figure out what the fuck is going on.

My first instinct is to call the neighbor upstairs and see what the fuck is going on, hopefully locate the origin of this liquid. However, as I look for my phone I am dismayed to realize that it is exactly underneath the pond of water in the bedroom.

A few minutes later, the flow of water slows down, and then finally ceases.

I decided to forgo the phone, and knock on the neighbor’s door upstairs. She is startled to hear someone at her door, but then realizes it’s me and why I’m there. We investigate potential sources for the water, and realize that she was unclogging her drain just now, using a coat hanger that probably busted the crumbling pipes of the old house.

I go back downstairs, grab my phone and wipe it and germ-x it, and then text our landlord.

This is not the first surprise we’ve had with this old house since we moved in three months ago. We twice had open sewer leaking out of our basement with our laundry washer. We also had a rotting kitchen sink drain and had to catch the dirty leaking water in an old bucket and dump it once a week until it finally escalated in flow and covered our kitchen floor. Finally, the funny part is that the landlord was just here yesterday- to investigate the leaking roof over our enclosed porch where we are catching the flow of rainwater in yet more buckets. I’ve never had such need for buckets in my life before this year.

Moral of the story is, I guess, sometimes shit happens. And sometimes shit happens a lot. And pretty old houses have reasons why they are undesirable to live in. And also whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger or some bullshit like that. All I know is that I didn’t see any good coming from this whole chain of events from the morning, and so I decided to do the only thing I know how to make meaning out of the meaningless and upsetting- write it out.

Maybe we can laugh.

But later. Much later.

Originally published at

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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe —

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