A Valentine’s Day Down the Drain

It was a Valentine’s Day we will remember for all the wrong reasons.

I started writing this from a Hilton Hotel this morning, but not because hubby and I had planned a romantic getaway. After I took a bath last night the tub drained as usual until it got about half way done. All of a sudden it simply stopped and wouldn’t budge no matter what hubby tried to do. Next thing we knew the toilets wouldn’t drain…not any of the three in the house. Hubby went to look at the hot water heater and saw water all over the floor in the mechanical room. We called our friend from church who is a plumber. Thank you Lord for creating such good people!

The back story is that about 10 months ago Suddenlink, the only cable company for our town, put a cable in our backyard and left it laying there until yesterday. A contracted company came out two weeks ago to do the initial digging before the cable could be buried. Despite spray paint all over the grass painted here and striped there marking the lines, they still managed to bore through the main sewer line going out from our house. Our plumber friend figured this out in the pitch black last night in sub-zero weather–how the contractors doing the work in the middle of the day didn’t notice their blunder is beyond me.

Yep, that sucker is b-r-o-k-e-n.
The red tube is the cable they buried yesterday. They couldn’t have hit the middle of the sewer line any better even if they were aiming for it!
You can see the shattered pieces of the sewer line interspersed among the muck they shoveled out of the hole they dug.

Hubby tried to call Suddenlink last night to tell them about our emergency, but ended up on the line with someone in who-knows-where who was not only completely unable to help but also nearly impossible to understand. One of the significant difficulties my MS has created over the years is a severely dysfunctional bladder. No running water left us with little choice but to get a hotel room around 11:00 last night.

Several phone calls this morning and a sprinkling of “No, this needs to be taken care of today so let me speak to your supervisor, please”-es later, and with our plumber supervising the contractor operating a backhoe who made the mess in the first place, and VOILA, we can flush and run water again.

I guess it’s good this happened before and not after we close on our current home in just a couple of weeks. The buyers, not knowing about the cable fiasco, could have thought we were perfectly happy selling them a lemon.

As for my MS, in case you were wondering how the effects of the work and accompanying stress invariably associated with moving has affected me, I can tell you that it hasn’t been pretty. Layering major plumbing issues that required a backhoe to dig up half of the front yard has not really helped the situation much. Random painful muscle spasms, difficulty walking, extreme fatigue, poor coordination, tingling extremities, and incontinence have become more frequent than I care to admit.

To balance all of this out though, today is a day of much gratitude because it marks exactly one year since I retired from all work. There is no way I could have continued working even a few hours each week. Adding to the excitement, the first full dose of my new MS disease modifying drug Ocrevus is less than two weeks away, just three days after our move to the new house. I’m not sure how my typically boring, run of the mill life has turned into the beginnings of a pretty good sitcom plot, but I’m happy that hubby and I have been cast together and can find some humor to laugh at this, our crazy life.


We placed our house on the market three weeks ago and every day since has been like living in some alternate reality.  The endless cycle of picking up, putting away, wiping down, and clearing out in order to hide the fact two cats and their humans live here had grown old by the second day. I’ve seen vlogs of people on YouTube who want you to believe they happily clean their house every day and offer advice on how you could learn to love to do the same. I like a clean house and I’m no slacker when it comes to actually doing the deed, but there is no way I want to adopt some ritual that forces me to scrub the toilet every morning in order to feel joyful.

Nevertheless, with the knowledge people could be coming over at the drop of a hat to see the house, I found myself in a state of constant tidiness not too far removed from the feeling you get just a couple of hours before hosting a dinner party. You have ten things to do at once and the pressure is on to get it all done before the first ring of the doorbell. We don’t host dinner parties anymore thanks to my MS. I don’t have the energy to clean, cook, AND be charming anymore. Most days it’s a struggle just to do one of these through to its completion. So, it wasn’t too far into the first week my prayers grew in fervor for God to intervene and make some way for me to survive this part of the process.

We had two open houses and several showings the first couple of weeks which resulted in one low-ball offer that was $40K below asking price and begged to be rejected. However, we received and accepted a second offer this past Monday, but it was contingent on the young couple’s house selling first. It was such a great offer we thought it was worth giving it a chance. For better or worse, a contingency does not stop your house from being shown, though it usually slows things down to a trickle. So, we were absolutely flabbergasted by the number of people who crawled out of the woodwork the day after Zillow and Realtor.com listed our house as “Contingent”. Our hearts and hopes soared that maybe something would come of it all, but my MS was absolutely seething and out to take revenge because I was not complying with its dictatorial demands for rest.

My prayers took on a begging tone asking Him to help me survive and to get another offer that would press the contingency to a precipice and conclusion. With each passing day my appeals intensified to the point they became more like chants than well-spoken prayers.

In addition to keeping things tidy, it grew harder and harder with each passing day to pack up the cats and put them in the car, move the litter boxes to the garage, stash the scratching posts and then drive somewhere to wait until the coast was clear before reversing the process when I got home. By Tuesday of this week I had become so tired I couldn’t walk or be up for more than five minutes at a time. Matter of fact, my energy didn’t even last long enough for the water to boil in the electric kettle for a cup of tea. The situation was dire!

That’s when it happened, right at the intersection of I Can’t Do This Anymore and God, Please Help Me. We got a full price offer on Friday that ended up being the one we got to keep. The young couple who made the contingency offer on Monday was not able to buy our house until theirs sold so they, unfortunately, fell victim to the standard kick-out clause when we got the second offer.

Our realtor, in the business for years, told me that she had never had a house with a contingency offer all of a sudden get so many people wanting to see it. She was still turning down requests to view our house over the weekend well after the ink on our contract was dry Friday.

My emotions have been all over the place through this whole experience. Excitement and anxiousness mixed with a healthy dose of hope, anticipation and nervousness. But when I saw the final full-price offer I thought I was seeing something wrong. I even looked our listing up online to make sure I had remembered our listing price correctly. Sure enough, I had seen it right the first time. That’s when I started sobbing uncontrollably as a flood of relief and gratitude to God completely made me feel undone by Him. Although I had begged God to intervene on our behalf with continuous pleas, I couldn’t take in how mightily He had answered. As the reality of it all slowly dawned on me, my continuous chant turned into millions of Thank You-s and You’re so good to me-s. I couldn’t stop saying it over and over as tears of joy and thanksgiving fell unashamedly down my cheeks. The fact that, once again like so many other times in my life, He had heard my prayers and intervened on my behalf, left me feeling completely and utterly undone and humbled before Him.

I am writing this in the middle of the afternoon while reclining in bed waiting for my MS to wear out its retaliation for doing too much this week. Let my MS do what it may, I don’t care. I am glowing in the ceaseless cascades of my Father’s love for me. I’d spend every hour of every day left in my life stuck here lying in my bed if I had to just to know and to feel His tender, caring, kind, reassuring love. Thankfully, I know I won’t have to do that. It is His nature to be just that good to me!

~ See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)