Friday, December 7, 2012

Wayne Manor, Part 2 of 2

In case you missed it, we had an interesting Monday morning on North 52nd Street this past week. Like most Mondays, I got up at 5:00 AM to go to the Omaha masters swimming workout. As I made coffee, I heard a strange sound coming from the basement: running water. To be more precise, it was running water hitting my basement floor that was strange. That's not a sound you want to hear at 5:00 AM, or anytime, for that matter. I went downstairs to discover a pond forming from water gushing from behind the washing machine. Apparently, its hose had ruptured sometime overnight.

The first step to resolving a problem like this was getting it under control. That meant stopping the flow of water. Fortunately, there was a shut-off valve at the source. I went to close the valve, but with one quarter twist, the valve's handle snapped off in my hand. Crap! The water was still gushing.

No problem. I sloshed across the basement and grabbed a pipe wrench from the work bench. This crisis would be over shortly.

Nope. That valve was really stuck. The wrench rounded the valve stem, stripping all the threads in the procsss. The valve itself didn't budge. Double crap! The water was still gushing.

I re-sloshed across the floor to the work bench for a garden hose splitter: one that has valves allowing the user to control which (if any) hose gets the water. Fortunately, the splitter screwed right on and I was able to shut it off completely.

Also fortunate was the fact that my basement is unfinished, and aside from two area rugs that were ruined, the water didn't cause any real damage. And since the concrete floor has a floor drain in it, I thought I'd give the drain a chance to handle the inch of standing water while I went to swimming practice. Time: 5:14 AM

Ninety minutes later, the water had subsided some. I spent the next 30 minutes as a one man bucket brigade, scooping the water into a bucket and dumping it into yard waste trash can. After the water was completely removed from the basement, I got the mop out to finish cleaning up.

That's when I found a brown fuzzy thing hanging upside down above the utility sink.

"That's weird," I thought. "That looks like a mouse. But why is that mouse stuck to the wall, all upside down and everything?"

I got a little closer and noticed the dark wings folded beneath her body.

Nice. My basement has a bat in it.

Golly, what a Monday morning! Let's recap. A minorly flooded basement. A broken, stripped water shut-off valve that required a garden hose adapter to close it. 3,200 yards at the swimming pool, a trip to the hardware store for replacement washing machine hoses, a bucket brigade, mopping. And now a bat. Sheesh! It wasn't even 9:00AM yet.

Before I did anything else, I called Katherine down to showoff how resourceful her husband was. I displayed the ruptured washing machine hose, the broken valve, the stripped valve stem, the garden hose adapter and even retraced the circumference of the water's high mark. I wanted to make a big impression. You know, to ham it up a little and show her how fortunate she was to be married to such a resourceful (and handsome) man. Until this point, I said nothing about the bat. The bat was my Ace in the hole.

At just the right moment, when Katherine's eyes were starting to glaze over with boredom, I pointed to the fuzzy brown spot above the utility sink and asked her if she knew what that was.

"I don't know, what is it?" she asked as she got a little closer.

Wait for it. She moved a little closer. Wait for it...even closer. Then she stopped dead in her tracks...

"A bat." I said proudly.

"Eeeeeek!" And just like that, Katherine was no longer in the basement.


I put on a flannel shirt, heavy working gloves and grabbed a towel. Towels are awesome. So many uses.

The bat was clueless of what was going on. One moment, he's dreaming he's in the dark cavern of Wayne Manor, gushing waterfalls, ponds and all; the next moment he's enveloped in 100% Egyptian cotton, placed in a cardboard box and being set outside in the cold light of day.


This wasn't the first bat in our house.


  1. SMPL Pool kits are easy build affordable swimming pools. they allow you to install a pool if you have limited access to your back garden.

  2. Steel Swimming Pools has the courage to say what we were all thinking. We know you like to get up early and go swimming, but as any bat knows, your basement is no place for a pool. You may think you could never go the SMPL Pool kit route because it's so hard to get to your back garden. Don't be an idiot. That's what ladders are for.