It's hard to know just how the day is going to go when the first thing I hear from William, who went downstairs a few minutes ahead of Amy and me, is "Mommy, there is water on the floor!"
Last Thursday started out in this way - the three of us had been up for a short while, doing all our usual morning dressing/brushing/bed-making, which we always do before setting foot downstairs. When William made his announcement I hurried downstairs to discover a quickly spreading puddle of water on the floor - coming from the 10-gallon fish tank. Not good. But with some fast thinking and some surprisingly helpful children we were able to avert a major crisis. I grabbed the siphon hose and cleaning bucket and started draining off the water and got the fish moved to the bucket. We grabbed the other play buckets from outside to catch the rest of the water as it drained off from the hose and used every spare rag towel and two bath towels to contain the water still leaking from the corners of the tank. Amazingly the only damage to all our papers and art supplies stored below was a few soggy coloring books that were mostly used up anyway.
After moving the shelf and cleaning the floor we had our breakfast, and all the while I started thinking about the opportunity for some new organization of that area.
But first I got out the older, smaller fish tank and moved the poor goldfish to a better temporary (permanent?) home. This was pretty much the highlight of Ollie's week.
That paper behind it is Amy's quickly-drawn rendering of the morning's fish adventure - "so that the fish would understand what happened to them," she explained.
Then, as part of my ongoing crusade against Too Much Stuff, I started rethinking just how necessary the shelf was at all. I really liked how the big tank looked there, and it functioned well, but could all those art materials be either reduced or relocated? So I had Don haul the shelf upstairs to my closet of misfit furniture and that left me with...
A lot of stuff stacked all over the counters. All weekend. A few things like the paints were easy to find new homes for, as there is storage under our easel that wasn't being used well. But the more I tried to find drawers or other shelves for the paper or crayons or glue the more it just wasn't working.
So after the kids went to bed last night I slid the shelf back downstairs, refilled the baskets (after ditching a few things), and restocked the shelves. Decided that trying to eliminate this particular storage area and its stuff fell under the category of "cutting off my nose to spite my face."
As for the big fish tank - there doesn't appear to be a crack, it seems the seals simply gave out. We might try to reseal it, but I'm not sure if I'll bring it back or not. 10 gallons of water poised to spill all over the floor does give one pause.
And on a more philosophical note, all I could think about while cleaning all this up was not anger or even frustration at the leak, but rather how grateful I was that it happened when it did. I can only imagine the horror our poor neighbors would experience if they discovered an empty tank, dead fish, and a flooded living room while cat sitting for us only the week before. The mess would have been 10 times worse if had started in the middle of the night, or even an hour earlier. The way I see it, s*** happens, and for the most part I am just grateful when it happens with such good timing.