Immediately motivated to action, I thought "Holy crap!" and sprinted down to the basement. When I got there I could hear water pouring like a waterfall down from the kitchen above. I didn't look, went straight to the shut-off valve, and discovered it was too tight to turn. The handyman was right behind me though, and he was able to get it to turn off. Then we could breathe and look around. Ugh. He went upstairs to take a look at the damage... I was afraid to. M stayed downstairs with me.
Fortunately there was no carpeting, just vinyl tile. There was a large puddle expanding our from the wall, miniature waves rippling the edges, spiders doing the backstroke. I grabbed two mops from the laundry room, and two towels. The towels were instantly soaked without doing anything, and the mops just moved the water around. "I don't even know how to clean up such a mess. Ohhh dear this is not good."
"I hope he was a wet-dry vac," said M. Then we heard the sound of a vacuum starting, and we smiled at each other. whew! We mopped for awhile, half-heartedly pushing the puddle around. M's mop seemed to be working better at actually gathering the water, so I left him downstairs as I worked up the courage to look upstairs.
There were pieces of my sink spread out on the kitchen floor. The kitchen, much like the basement, was full of water. Fortunately very little had extended out onto the hardwood floors, and the kitchen was just vinyl floor as well. No carpeting was affected. He asked for towels, so I gave him the last towels in the house - a couple of thin beach towels. They were immediately soaked. His vacuum didn't seem to be working: it was expelling water out the other end, and he was basically just slopping the water around, not actually removing it. I sighed. The four hours of sleep I'd had the night before was not helping to lighten my mood.
He got up. "I'm going to the Aco down street and buy some mops or something." He smiled reassuringly at me. "Don't worry, I'm going to clean it all up." I mustered up a hopeful smile back.
While he was gone, my neighbor came over with a handful of towels after my telling him the story. We used those to contain the flood to the kitchen. Meanwhile M and done a fairly good job of collecting the downstairs water into a bucket. We set up a fan to dry off the wood (through which the water had leaked, heading down to the basement).
Meanwhile Handy Andy returned with a big stack of paper towels, two mops, and a bucket. He made short work of the remainder of the kitchen water, dried off the floor, and things started to look better again.
I sighed with exhausted relief, and allowed M to comfort me. "See?" He said. "The worst is over, and it could have been a lot worse. Every project has to have one crisis, at least we got ours out of the way early. What else could go wrong?"
I laughed. "Don't say that! Electrical fire? Locusts? Frogs falling from the sky?"
But he was right: the worst was over. He stayed to supervise the repairs, and I went back to ConFusion for the rest of the day.
The only other bummer was the wall. My old counter's backsplash was an inch higher than the new one. I had feared the wall behind it might look choppy, might require sanding and some fresh paint.
It hadn't occurred to me that there would turn out to be a hole behind the backsplash, not a wall at all. Why would you stop your wall at the countertop, instead of going on down to the floor? People are crazy.
Anyway since both the flood and the hole in the wall were unplanned, they didn't get done on saturday. Handy Andy said that he could mud the walls, fix the broken pipe in the sink, and paint the whole kitchen for $200 if I supplied the paint, so I contacted him tuesday morning. He said his only day free was wednesday.
That meant that on tuesday at work, I gathered up a couple of software developers who were willing to shop paint samples with me. We went to HD, where I found a scrap of the counter I'd used, and a tile of the floor. We propped them up in the paint department and bickered over while colors would look good. We finally settled on the color "Tawny Birch", bought a galleon of it, then went back to work.
The color generated some banter. "Didn't you go to school with a Tawny Birch?" "I think I met her at a club." "Girl with a name like that, she don't need no educating."
The next day, I went home at lunchtime and got Handy Andy started on the painting. I left him there unsupervised (after all he'd done trustworthy work, and really what was there to steal? All my valuables were already moved to M's), and went back to my office.
That evening, after leaving my office for the day, I watched him finish things up. I took a few photos, spruced up the house for any potential showings, and went.... that is to say, I left my house, and drove to M's house, which is my home. That's a nice feeling.
Now I just gotta get somebody to buy this house, and we'll be all set. There have been three showings this week - that's a good sign! Hopefully the kitchen will quickly push somebody over the tipping point and they'll buy it.