A LUMP UNDER THE LINOLEUM
Okay, it was an ominous lump under the linoleum. The kind you can feel, but only with bare beet. A tiny ridge that sparks a silent oh, crap, when your foot happens to land there: Something’s wrong, the floor shouldn’t be doing this. The thing was a few inches wide, located in an innocuous space, right between the stove and refrigerator. Mostly I ignored it, but once in awhile I said to Rob, “Shouldn’t we do something about this?”
“Like what, Babe? You mean, tear out the entire kitchen floor? Over a lump?”
Rob was right, of course. The linoleum was coved and continuous and covered four rooms. So mentally I backed off. After you’ve lived in a house for a number of years, you’re bound to find something that seems Not Quite Right. As long as that something isn’t making funny noises, or breaking into visible pieces, or growing larger by the week, you tend to think, Maybe we should do something about this. Someday.
But when you’re busy writing books, or just living a normal, active life, Someday has a habit of fading away and disappearing into Never.
Until something bigger comes along—like a flood.
Like Noah, we had to pay attention to a flood—when the washing machine backed up and discharged its water out through the toilet, and I finally saw soapy water snaking around the corner and into the kitchen.
“Rob!” I cried. “Come quick!” And moving about as fast as he usually does, and I won’t say how fast that is, Rob came.
Together we attacked the overflow with mops and buckets, and half an hour later Noah could have stopped building his ark. But that’s not how life works.
The plumber we called to clear the drains called an environmentalist to start an insurance claim, who in turn called lead and asbestos experts to examine the linoleum and walls (the latter “wicking up water,” they said ), who in turn called contractors to tear out walls and flooring.
It multiplies. While you watch and consider backing away, the list gets longer and people keep arriving. There must be a lot of profit in overflowing washing machines.
Now, two months later, we know what ELSE was going on. Under our kitchen floor a tiny pipe had sprung a small leak, which not only damaged the subfloor, but also collected into a “lump” under the linoleum. Eventually, the sneaky thing might have grown until Rob and I were forced to take it seriously and “do something.” As most of you know, lumps anywhere are never a good thing. Happily, the flood made it happen sooner.
But hey, it all worked out. Our kitchen now has the world’s most beautiful hickory wood floor . . . a pale woodsy background that set off an interesting collection of grainy streaks and dark knots and little swirls, about which Rob and I keep saying to each other, “Isn’t this beautiful?”
And nary a lump anywhere.
My latest book: “Revenge of the Jilted Draperies: and other sweet-and-sour stories” now available through Amazon—or autographed, through me: email@example.com.
A ten-dollar gift for Christmas.