Matt and I purchased our first home four months after we got married. We were twenty-two years old, freshly out of college and why wouldn't we throw ourselves into a 30 year debt? I was the only one with a job because Matt had started pharmacy school just days before that. At the time, the housing market was booming and banks were in a good mood so it didn't matter that we couldn't afford our closing costs. We just rolled those in and financed 103% of a tiny white cottage on Raleigh Avenue.
What made us think we were ready to be homeowners at twenty-two? I am almost positive I learned in Psych101 that the human brain isn't fully developed until age twenty-six. So, there's that.
We loved our little house. Actually, it was a tiny house. We had a tiny house before tiny houses were cool. And even though it was only nine hundred square feet, it didn't take us long to realize perhaps we'd gotten ourselves in over our heads.
The week we moved in, Matt was working late and I decided to do some unpacking and cleaning. Because, you know, that's what "homeowners" do. (While you read that, picture twenty-two year old me saying the word homeowners and taking myself very seriously.) I started a load of laundry and then began unpacking some boxes in the kitchen. I noticed that the washer sounded extra splashy while it was filling up, but assumed that was normal.
This is a good time to tell you maybe I'd never done a load of laundry by myself. Stop judging me. I spent my formative years making out with Matt. While other people were learning adult-ish skills, we were hiding in his old maroon Volvo sucking face.
Anyway, after several minutes I noticed the splashy sound was growing, well, splashier. I casually walked back towards the laundry room to investigate and discovered gallons of water gushing onto the floor.
I did what any rational person would do in that moment. I ran into my front yard screaming, "Help! Somebody help me!"
Did I mention I was braless and barefoot wearing a ratty t-shirt and dirty scrubs? Because, I'm fancy like that.
When no one responded to my cries for help, I darted across the street to my neighbor Terry's house. Terry was a middle aged guy who always walked around with a stern expression on his face and complained about things like "kids these days" and "idiotic liberals". This was our first meeting.
Me:(Pounds on his door) Um, hello? I need help.
Terry:(Opens the door slightly but leaves chain lock in place.) Who are you?
Me:(Breathless) Oh. Hi. I'm your new neighbor. We bought the house across the street and I HAVE AN EMERGENCY SITUATION. Can you help me?
Terry:Oh. Uhm, ok. What kind of emergency? Let me grab a few things and I'll be right over.
Me:There's no time! You have to come now.
Terry reluctantly unchained his door and followed me across the street. He was moving somewhere between sloth and turtle speed. I doubled back behind him and semi-shoved him through my tiny living room.
Me:Listen, you have to help me. I'm pretty sure there's been a water-main break. (I didn't actually know what that was, but I'd heard Paige on TLC's Trading Spaces say it a bunch.)
Once he reached the laundry room door I saw him tilt his head, confused. He looked at the washing machine, looked at me, and then back at the ever-increasing-flood. Very methodically (and still tortoiselike) he sloshed over and reached behind the washer. I couldn't see what he did, but immediately the water stopped.
"Oh my gah! Thank you so much! How did you do that?" I was shocked.
As he turned to face me, he wobbled a bit, splashing even more water onto his khaki cargo pants. He looked like he was annoyed. Or angry. I couldn't tell. He picked up the black tube-hose-thingy that the water had come out of.
"That's the culprit, huh?" I tried to give him a knowing look. I nodded a little and furrowed my brow in hopes of looking like I understood what was going on.
"THIS!" He said at me through clenched teeth. "Is a hose. Water travels through it into your washing machine." His cheeks burned red. "You do not have AN EMERGENCY, young lady. You just tried to use your washing machine without it being hooked up."
Terry attached the hose and started to leave, shaking his head disdainfully.
"Well, thanks a lot! Sorry about all that. Super nice to meet you, by the way!" I awkwardly followed him to my front door, because I wasn't sure what else to do.
His black Rockports squeaked with every step and he left a watery trail behind him.
We lived in that tiny white house five more years and Terry never did like me.