‘What’s that noise’ N said, as we stood in the kitchen filling the washing machine with Nipper’s mucky clothes.
‘That’s not rain’ he said as he made a dash for the stairs. I scooped Nipper up under one arm and threw the rest of her soiled outfits into the drum before setting off after N.
We could hear the rushing water but we couldn’t see it.
‘It’s coming from somewhere under the bath’ he said
‘But where’s it going?’ I wondered aloud
As I ran back downstairs I could see water cascading down through the light fittings in the kitchen. We had a leak, and it looked and sounded like a big one.
‘We need to turn the water off – do you know where the stop cock is?’ I called back up the stairs. ‘No idea’ came the reply. It’s a good job I did. With superhuman strength I pulled the dishwasher away from the wall and located the tap.
‘What shall we do now?’ I asked
‘Call a plumber??’ N responded.
Ten minutes later Neil-the-plumber had the situation under control. Twenty minutes later John-the-electrician condemned the kitchen light but made everything safe for us. ‘You’re going to have to wait for everything to dry out before we can turn the lights back on down here’ he told us. Adding; ‘If I was you I’d have driven round to ‘their’ house and given them what for’. ‘Their’ being the previous owners. We knew we were buying somewhere that needed a bit of work, but that bit of work had turned into full scale renovation and a huge hole in the bank account over the past 5 months.
Disaster had followed disaster from the moment we picked up the keys, which actually turned out to be fairly redundant as the front door could have been opened with a cheese knife. Safety and security weren’t watch words for the previous owners. Doors and windows were also an anathema to them. We replaced the front door the minute we walked through it and then two weeks later the patio door fell in on top of N. Thankfully Nipper and I weren’t in the room at the time.
A full rewire of the house from top to bottom was ordered due to health and safety and so it came to pass that we were still mid-renovation five months into living in our ‘dream home’. We’re used to the bare plastered walls, the ripped up flooring and the shower that’s never hot, but the burst pipe was taking the biscuit.
It had been a ‘trying’ day. I’d dropped Nipper off at the nursery in the morning, explaining that I’d popped a couple of changes of clothing in her bag as she’d had a couple of nappy explosions over the weekend that were linked to teeth, and also to chemical waste. The supervisor at the nursery hadn’t found my joke in the least bit amusing. She didn’t want a child with the Norovirus near the nursery gates, that alone in ‘Roo’s. I explained that Nipper wasn’t ill, and that she’d been running around like a mad thing all weekend and that her nappy had been clear this morning. I duly kissed her on both cheeks and scarpered.
Three hours later and I received a distress call from the Nursery.
‘This child is ill. She’s pale. She’s done a terrible nappy and she needs a bath. This is not teeth!’
‘I’m on my way’. I grabbed a bath towel (not sure why!) and raced down there.
As I entered the Nursery one of the assistants gave me a pained look and said; ‘she’s just done another one........ and it’s not nice’.
I walked through to the cot room. Nipper was laid out on the changing mat and a very harassed assistant was attempting to quieten her down and clean her bottom at the same time.
‘This is not teeth’ she said and flashed me a look, which can only be described as ‘disapproving’; I was a terrible mum. I’d left my sick child with these people and she’d covered them, and everything else, in poo. Foul, stinking poo.
‘There are her clothes. I’ve washed them through’ she said.
I’d lost my voice. I didn’t know what to say. I could see what they were all thinking; ‘you knew she was ill, and you still brought her and her poo into the Nursery. Shame on you.’
Shame. I felt it. Nipper had dealt it, and I definitely felt it.
I made a hasty retreat from the room clutching Nipper to my breast. They were right – she did need a bath. And so did I now. I stopped in the annex to put her coat on and that’s when the water works began. I cried and cried. I cried for being a rubbish mum, and I cried for the shame of bringing Nipper’s poo on everyone. But more than anything I cried for having left my child with others when she should have been with me.
The assistant found me crying in the annex and asked me what was wrong. I said; ‘nothing, I’m fine’. I couldn’t explain that she’d made me feel like a terrible mum.
Nipper and I left the Nursery. Nipper promptly burst into song, chirruping away in the back of the car. I decided a quick once over by the Dr was warranted. Dr suggested leaving off milk for a few days and making sure she got enough fluids, but she agreed with me that she seemed fine in herself.
Parent’s evening at the Nursery tomorrow. I don’t want to go but N says we can go in there and hold our heads up high. I’m not so sure – I can still smell the poo on me. Good job Neil-the-plumber’s here as I write. He should have fixed the bathroom in time for me to shower the shame from my body before we leave for parent’s evening tonight.
Nipper’s fine. We’ve had no more explosions since the once reported by the Nursery over 24 hours ago.