A few days ago we noticed that our hot water heater which had, for a little while, been leaking in a sort of unnoticeable-most-of-the-time way, simply leaving tiny puddles on the shelf above the dryer, began leaking in a the-rug-is-soaked-and-damnit-I-got-my-socks-all-wet kind of way and so we had to take action. Since the problem got bad over the weekend when service providers in Chapel Hill take a break, and we decided that the issue didn't deserve an "emergency" call to the emergency number because, first of all, our basement (we don't even have a basement) wasn't flooded or anything like that, and secondly, J came up with a solution for the time being. First he put a towel around the base of the heater and draped a corner of the material over the shelf. He put a tupperware container on top of the dryer and under the towel, thus, when the towel became saturated, the water would drip down to the corner hanging over the shelf and into the tupperware. When the tupperware got full, we'd dump it and replace the sopping towel with a dry one.
The obvious problem was that the tupperware wasn't an ample enough vessel for extended duty. I mean, we didn't want to be waking up every couple of hours to dump this thing and if left unattended there would be a small flood (I, admittedly, didn't really care either way if you want to know the truth - if the rug got really wet over the course of a few days before the plumber could get there, well, it would dry, right? This is sometimes a crucial difference between J and I in the face of household mini-emergencies - I can be impatient and willing to sacrifice important material features, like, say, the rug, while J enjoys a good challenge, especially when it means protecting items from being destroyed, and especially when it means coming up with complex and brilliant plans, as illustrated below).
So when the boy came running from the back room saying, loudly, "Come here. Come here! I rigged something!" I figured I was in for a treat, basically the kind of treat that mean I wasn't going to have to carry sodden towels around the house anymore, at least for a few hours. But J was beyond exited, for using a pink dustpan and an old trashcan, he'd thought up something brilliant and he couldn't wait to show me.
The water dripped from the towel into the dustpan, delicately balanced on the dryer, down the dustpan handle and into the large, plastic trashcan and we wouldn't have to tend to it for a long, long time, if ever. I'm not much for logic and physics or coming up with solutions to problems that don't involve calling and paying an expert, but I must say, it was sort of sad when the plumbing guy showed up today to fix the leak and we had to dismantle the thing. It had been a nice little foray into surviving with only the means available to us. Our own "Swiss Family Robinson." Of course, I had nothing to do with it besides being mildly supportive when the invention was unvailed, but give me an empty pantry except for a box of spaghetti and a few bottles of dried herbs and I can make a decent dinner, something a person could live on at the very minimum, and that's called teamwork, and utilizing our strengths, we thrive.