Denise Grace Gitsham
For 8 months, we lathered and flushed, blissfully unaware of the warning signs. Sure, the shower drained slower than most, and yeah, we had more plumbing issues than the average bear, but ultimately, everything worked as it should, meaning that things were just fine, right?
Wrong. SO wrong. Wrong in ways that no amount of Drano or plunging could fix. Wrong in ways that no preemptive measures – hair catchers, mini snakes,
you-name-the-as-seen-on-tv-contraption - could prevent. Wrong in ways that even Tony – our very thorough house cleaner – could not detect.
My husband discovered just how wrong two weeks ago, when at 4am, he heard the sound of rain…indoors. I was on the East Coast, prepping for a day of meetings, when Josh’s face popped up on my phone. “Good early morning, Bae!” I chirped, to which he replied, “We have a problem.”
As he described the horror show in our home – this home we’d just bought and moved into 8 months earlier – I felt physically ill. All I could think about were the gorgeous, wide-plank hardwood floors, the beautiful brushed nickel finishes, the amazing cabinetry filled with frou frou salts and spices … all in a deluge we were helpless to stop. My husband did all that he could at that hour of the morning: he researched every plumber in town, and threw every towel on the floor, while I frantically scrolled through my mental rolodex for someone, anyone, we might know, who could tell us what to do.
Fast forward one week, two plumbers, one home warranty company, one insurance company, three contractors, and eight demo guys later … I’m sitting in the only undemo’d part of our living room, half-working, half-overseeing the action. It’s all relatively boring and loud, until suddenly, the plumber runs downstairs, holding a piece of pipe with a ginormous hair ball half-hanging out of it. I wanted to look away, but I also wanted to see it up close. It was mesmerizing and vile, all at once.
“We found it!” the plumber (unnecessarily) informed me, with a big toothy grin. Holding my nose and keeping a safe distance from the splash perimeter, I came closer, and was shocked to see just how big it really was. There was no way this hair ball came from our collective heads. We didn’t have enough hair between all of us, Sylvie (my 16 year old step daughter) included. And suddenly, it dawned on me: this mass had probably been accumulating for years, unbeknownst to all, because it was hidden so deep within our walls.
Other issues exposed themselves as the demo continued: a little bit of mold, some termite-eaten wood planks, oddly configured pipes, and a few minor issues only a contractor could explain or understand. All of this, in spite of two very thorough home inspections spaced 6 months apart, a pre-move-in termite tenting, and a meticulous cleaning of every facet of our house, twice monthly. Our gorgeous home, which we’d cared for so well, was suddenly exposed as a beautiful façade, hiding some deep-rooted, long-standing, but thankfully, fixable issues. And fix them, we will - now that we're aware of their existence.
It’s been a little over a week, and I still can’t get the visual of that hairy mass out of my mind. Thinking about it makes me wonder if there are any other areas of my life where problems may be brewing - problems I’m not yet aware of, or problems I've ignored. I know I’ve overlooked some red flags along the way, telling myself I’d deal with them “later.” At the time, it seemed unnecessary to make a big deal out of them, or I was too tired to do the work it would take to fix them. In the wake of our home demo debacle, however, I told Jesus straight up: I’m done messing with the ticking time bombs in my life. I need you to show me what and where they are NOW.
Since our little chat, He’s brought all sorts of issues into my consciousness. I’m suddenly aware of how many recurring thoughts, habits, and patterns have gone unnoticed, unaddressed, and unchecked. If left that way, they’ll destroy me from the inside out – physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. And that's the last thing I need, while living in this 400 square foot hotel room with my husband and dog.
Rather than let it get to that point, I’m addressing my issues now, with as much grace, love, and truth as God gives me. Playing whack-a-mole hasn’t been easy, but as the saying goes, nothing worth doing ever is.
Let the demo’ing begin.
Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. - Psalm 139:23