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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Vacation Nightmare

Posted June 24, 2008 9:03 a.m. EDT
Updated June 24, 2008 9:07 a.m. EDT

It started out like the Vacation from Hades. It ended quite heavenly.

With that headline I’d like for you to comment on your most dramatic vacation when something unexpected happened and forced you to alter your plans.

I read a book title the other day that intrigued me. It was Divine Chaos. Maybe that’s what I experienced last week.

Here’s the scenario. We’re driving to our mountain cabin near Roaring Gap. I’m on my cell phone with a nice home construction expert Donny McCall of Sparta talking about some repairs I’d like to make to our place. Donny agrees to stop by, take a look and give me an estimate. We arrive. The weather is perfect. We’re all ready for a wonderful and relaxing week.

I walk to the back side of the house and notice puddles of water on the patio. I rush inside and my worst fears are realized. Two inches of water fill the downstairs level. I run into the utility room and see the culprit. A pipe fitting has snapped. Water coming up from our well is gushing out on the floor. I push back a yellow lever and the water flow stops. I turn off the water pump.

A gush of thoughts is running through my head. The smell indicates the water break is still pretty fresh. There’s no hint of mildew or a musty smell. My son Will jumps into action and begins taking furniture out. It’s great to have a tall and strapping young man in the family who doesn’t have to be told what to do. My wife Cindy gets on the phone to report the problem to our insurance company and then finds a special team out of Wilkesboro that can come that evening to stabilize the situation and remove the carpet and padding the next day. Will and I work quickly to get the heavy bedroom furniture out.

Donny McCall calls to say he can stop by tomorrow to give me an estimate on those home repairs. I ask him if he knows a plumber who can make an emergency call. He does and he calls him immediately. An hour later Kelly Bartley arrives and quickly fixes the plumbing problem so we can use the house. Meanwhile, a top notch water damage restoration team headed by the Johnson brothers Dennis and Gary arrives and begins the task of drying our downstairs area with a battery of dryers and dehumidifers.

It’s late but there’s a nice pizza place in Sparta and I think they’re still open. I make the drive, order up a couple of large pizzas and return home. We’re starving and the food tastes great. We relive the moments of the day and one word keeps coming back: gratitude. I am grateful for a great family and kind and caring people like Donny McCall, Kelly Bartley and Dennis and Gary Johnson. I am also grateful that we caught the problem before it destroyed our house.

We were able to open the windows and relax. A beautiful orange moon rose over Tar Heel Ridge. Stars popped out all over the clear cool sky. We sat out on our deck and gave thanks and just soaked up the beauty of the heavens. Life can be quiet, sweet and simple in the mountains away from the internet and cable TV.....in spite of the flood.