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Columnist

The Rule of Three

Everything bad happens in threes: people die and appliances die in threes. It’s the way of the world. I remember my mom telling me of the pattern when I was a little girl, and by golly I don’t think she’s been proven wrong yet.

Case in point, when we were little our washer, stove and refrigerator all went out within two weeks of each other. Heck of a deal. Right before Christmas, too. What a nightmare that must have been for my parents. I mean, I remember them being upset about it, but I was a small child so, to me, it didn’t seem too bad. Now as an adult, the idea of this all happening within two weeks of each other – nightmare scenario. End of the world. Closing up shop. We’re all done here folks, nothing to see.

As an adult I have had my washer/dryer go out at the same time, when the kids were pretty little, and that just about set me over the edge. It was during the toddler years, aka the “Let’s spill everything on every item of clothing we own forever” years, so that was exciting. I think my parents took pity on me and saved the day on that one. It could have been because they just wanted to have clean grand kids. Not sure.

So, this week at the house I’m on pins and needles because we are on number two of the rule of three. I can almost feel you nodding your head in solidarity and worry. That’s me too. It’s almost like a, “Oh yeah, come at me bro” type of feeling, but at the same time an, “Oh, please, no” emotion at the same time.

You see, this week Joe and I started renovation projects on the basement. Well, mostly Joe. I did some taping, but he’s done a lot of the work. He’s got a pretty good idea in his head for what he wants to do, and it’s coming together. However, he works better alone. If I work with him, he gets frustrated. It’s not like a “build a playground set and get a divorce” situation, it’s more like a “I’m driving my own self nuts and I don’t need extra help going crazy” type of deal.

This is where things get sketchy, because I’m unsure if we can count this as rule number one. He was pretty successful in installing the tin he’s putting on the walls (just took a couple of goes and some patience – and only one piece of tin didn’t work out). So, I’m on the fence. However, a definite number one would be dinner.

Joe is a cook who cooks with emotions. If he’s angry or stressed out, boy can you tell it in his cooking. The man has to cook with love. Not me, I can cook no matter what mood. I can cook in robot mode, but I think that comes with being a mom? I do a lot of things without thinking about it. Ta dah!

Tuesday night rolls around and Joe is fresh off two stressful nights of working in the basement, he walks in the door from a pretty stressful argument with Violet (NO! I am NOT wearing that to dance!) when Wyatt says, “So, uh the ceiling above my bed is leaking.”

Oh. Awesome. At this point in time, I had just walked in the door from work, too. Greeted by Joe saying, “Babe, come downstairs. There’s a leak.”

Gotta love that welcome home. I go downstairs to see that, sure enough, there is a leak right over Wyatt’s bed. We head upstairs to the bathroom, which is right over his room, assuming that one of the kids has left the tub running or sink on. Nothing. No leaks. Crud. We go back downstairs and stare at the ceiling. Willing it to tell us its wet secrets. No luck.

“I guess I’m cutting a hole,” Joe says with anger.

“Well, we are going to rip this ceiling out anyway,” I said with kind of a positive lilt.

I mean, find the positive, right? He grumbled. We cut a hole where the leak is and find that the pipe isn’t leaking, but there is water coming in around the toilet. I say, “Wax ring. I bet it needs replaced,” and you know what? For once in my life I was right. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does I feel pretty cool.

So, Joe sends me to buy the supplies we need and he angrily starts cooking. Before I leave I say, “We should order out, you’re stressed,” and he says, “No, I’m making dinner.” I shook my head knowing this dinner was not going to turn out.

Fifteen minutes later I got a text from Joe.

“Ordered pizza, bring the stuff home and then please run back out to snag it?”

I replied, “Cooking angry?” He didn’t reply. I took this as a yes to my question. Dinner had indeed been ruined.

Two hours later the toilet is fixed, we are fed and attempting to relax, but really I’m just looking around the house for number three. What will it be next? The dishwasher, washer/dryer, and fridge are new, so I think we are okay there (knock on wood). He fixed the garage door last winter – hopefully it’s alright. I don’t know, I’m on edge.

As I’m nervously peering around the house, Joe says, “So you bought two toilet wax ring repair kit things?”

I replied, “Yeah, wanted to give you options.”

He smiles and says, “Let’s just go ahead and fix the other one this weekend.” I thought to myself, “He’s trying to beat the rule of three, that smart fella.”

I also smirked because I wish it worked that way, but there’s an appliance somewhere in the house about to take a nose dive off a cliff. A ticking time bomb. You can’t beat the rule of three.

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