waves at sunset

The Great Flood of 2017

In the early hours of last Thursday morning, Terry and I flooded our entire house.


It’s, er, kind of becoming our thing, really, isn’t it?

*hollow laugh*

The flood started at around 3:30am: or, at least, that’s the approximate time I was jolted awake by the light from the en-suite bathroom suddenly being slammed on without warning.

“Well, that’s rude!” I thought, rolling over in bed to see Terry silhouetted in the pool of light from the open bathroom door, and just kind of standing there, staring ahead of him, apparently transfixed by the sight of our very ordinary, suburban bathroom.

At first I thought he was having some kind of night terror, like he used to get back when he was on dialysis. I remember one time, he woke up and thought I was a log: like, a really, REALLY scary one. (Although, to be fair, I guess anyone would be alarmed if they woke up and found themselves in bed with a giant log, no?) Another time, I woke up to find him cowering in the corner of the bedroom, calling out to Rubin… who was sleeping peacefully in the kitchen downstairs at the time. Kidney dialysis: it’s even LESS fun that you probably think it is, kids!

This time, Terry continued to stare into the bathroom, before suddenly raising his hands in the air (like he just don’t care, yo), and taking a step back, now staring at the floor around him, in abject horror.

At this point, I thought I’d better intervene.

“Terry!” I said. “What the hell are you doing? And do you know what time it is?!”

“THE WATER.” Terry replied, in the kind of tone that ensured that, for the rest of my life now, the words, “THE WATER” will be guaranteed to send chills down my spine. “It looks like the tap in the sink’s been left running, and it’s flooded the entire bathroom.”

“Wasn’t me,” I said, quickly. “I haven’t touched that tap since before I came to bed.”

“Wasn’t me either,” said Terry.

We looked at each other wordlessly for a few seconds, before realising that, actually, it didn’t really matter whodunnit – which I guess is a good thing, because we STILL don’t know the answer to that one. Neither of us has any recollection of turning the tap on during the night, although, as I mentioned in last week’s pregnancy diary, we’ve basically been sleeping in shifts for a few nights now, and neither of us is exactly on top form, so yeah, WHO KNOWS. And, indeed, WHO CARES, because, the fact was, SOMEONE had left the tap running at some point during the night, and as the sink in that bathroom has never drained properly (It does drain, but it does it really, reeeaaaaalllly slowly, so, yeah, if the tap was running for a while, it would totally overflow, even if the plug wasn’t down…), and now, Terry was telling me, the bathroom was flooded.

Well, OK, I thought: it wasn’t exactly the best news to get at 3:30am, but hey! It could’ve been a lot worse, couldn’t it? I mean, the bathroom is tiled, and everything in it is designed to be pretty waterproof… So I swung my legs out of the bed so I could get up and help Terry mop up the bathroom…

… and my feet landed in a giant pool of water.

It had got worse.

The water, you see, hadn’t restricted itself to just the bathroom. No, there was so much of it that it had actually FILLED the bathroom, and made its way into the bedroom. It was all the way up to my side of the bed, and, as I looked around, I could see that it had also made its way UNDER the bed, and was, even now, creeping towards the other side of the room.

“TOWELS,” instructed Terry, stepping bravely into the waterlogged bathroom. “We’re going to need more towels!”

Finally spurred into action, I sloshed through the water on the bedroom floor and opened the door, preparing to go downstairs and grab some more towels from the hall cupboard.

The carpet on the landing outside the bedroom was soaked with water.


Whimpering a little, I made my way down to the second floor hall (Our house is a 3-storey, with the master bedroom and en-suite on the top floor. This fact will become relevant soon.), stopping abruptly in my tracks when I almost walked into ANOTHER pool of water in the hall there, created by the steady trickle of water that was POURING THROUGH THE FREAKING CEILING.


water damage to hall ceiling

(The hall ceiling, the next morning: Terry had to make a hole in it to let the water out, because we were worried the entire ceiling might have come down, otherwise…)

I was so shocked by this, that I just stood there looking at it for a few seconds in horror.

“TOWELS, AMBER!” Terry shouted from the floor above: so I opened the cupboard door, took out all of the towels we own, and, pausing only to throw one on top of our brand-new hallway puddle, headed back upstairs, where the towels were instantly soaked through by all of the water on the bedroom floor.

“You better check the dressing room,” Terry said, opening the bathroom cabinet to unleash yet another torrent of water. (The sink sits on top of the cabinet, so the cabinet had been in the direct line of fire. Er, water…) “It’s right underneath this room, so it’ll have gotten the worst of it…”

Well, at this, my blood ran cold.

“Not my dressing room!” I wailed, turning and running back downstairs – well, waddling back downstairs, anyway: I mean, I was freaked out, but I was also 8 months pregnant – I don’t go anywhere fast these days.

This was the sight that greeted me in the dressing room:

water damage on flooded ceiling

(This was also taken the next morning, needless to say: not even I was thinking about blog photos at that particular moment…)

It was bad.


Luckily, most of the damage here was to the ceiling: the water had dripped onto the rug, too, but the rug dried out easily enough – I’m not sure my shoes or handbags would’ve been quite so lucky, so I’m grateful for this small mercy at least.

I had just a few moments to contemplate this new piece of information, when Terry started calling out for more towels again. We’d already used up all of the ones we have at that point, so I headed down to the kitchen, on the ground floor of the house, to grab some dish cloths, instead.

I heard the water as soon as I opened the kitchen door:

flooded kitchen

Yup, the water had made it through the kitchen ceiling, too, all the way down from two floors above it, and having narrowly missed Blinky the Roomba,, was now proceeding to soak our brand-new kitchen floor, which, you might recall, was just installed a few months ago, when we renovated the ground floor of the house.

Aaaaand, at this point I basically just dropped to my knees and wept.

(Actually, I didn’t, which is quite unlike me, under the circumstances. There was a period of at least twenty minutes where all I could say was, “OMG, OMG, OMG,” repeatedly, though. I thought I was going to end up like Hodor from Game of Thrones or something…)

By the time I’d mopped up downstairs, and set out a collection of pots and pans to collect the drips (The cloths over them are just there so we weren’t driven crazy by the DRIP DRIP of the water falling into them), it was around 5am, Terry had gotten the bathroom more or less under control, and we decided we may as well try to get some sleep, wide awake though we both were at that point.

“Do you think we’ll EVER stop flooding houses?” I asked Terry, as we lay there in the dark, with the smell of wet plaster and rotting carpet wafting under the bedroom door.

“We’ve only flooded two houses,” Terry pointed out. “This one and the last one.”

“We’ve only OWNED two houses,” I replied. “And we’ve flooded this one twice now: although I guess the whole thing with the hall wasn’t actually our fault. There was also that incident with the pint glass, though, and, well, do you not feel like we spend a disproportionate amount of time running around with towels and saucepans?”

And honestly? I really think we DO.

It was still to get worse, though.

The next morning, we woke up to find that, in addition to coming through the ceilings of the hall, kitchen and dressing room, the water had also damaged the ceilings in the office and newly-decorated nursery – not as badly as the hall and dressing room, granted, but even so, people, EVEN SO.

Thankfully, the new kitchen floor is waterproof, which meant that it survived its ordeal intact.

water on chair

And the bedroom floor, meanwhile?

Yeah, it’s ruined.

It’s not the kind of damage that you can really capture in a photo, but the floor in that room is a wood laminate: it actually wasn’t a particularly cheap laminate, but, unlike the one we used in our kitchen (Which has survived two dishwasher leaks, plus a constant influx of rain from the back door, as well as this latest flood…), it isn’t a waterproof laminate either, and it obviously wasn’t designed to have a body of water sitting on top of it for God knows how long. The upshot is that the flood got right in between the joins and warped a large area of the floor, which is now all raised up and angry looking – and who can blame it, really?

And so it was that, with just three weeks to go (If that) before our baby is due to make his entrance into the world, and just a few days after I proudly announced to the internet that I TOTALLY had everything under control, the bedroom ended up looking like this:

bedroom reno 1

the bedroom after the flood


Just… FML, seriously.

Oh, and the carpet on the landing outside the bedroom door is pretty much ruined too, but it’s just a small area, and we were planning to replace it sometime next year anyway, so we’re just going to leave that for now. The bedroom floor, on the other hand, was too badly damaged, over too big an area, for us to really be willing to live with it, and, even if we wanted to, the fact that the water had gotten under the laminate, and was seeping into the floorboards, meant that we really had to take it up to dry out the floor underneath, and stop it from rotting/smelling.

The hall, dressing room, office, and kitchen, meanwhile, all had to have bits of their ceilings repainted, which took a freakishly long time, as they all needed several coats to get rid of the stains:

painting the hall

(Cue unpleasant flashbacks to this April, which is when this hallway was LAST painted…)

Of course, it could’ve been worse.

I’m, er, mostly just saying that for the benefit of all of the people out there who believe you’re not allowed to feel upset about something unless it’s the ABSOLUTE WORSE CASE SCENARIO : to be honest, although I’ve managed to stay pretty calm, all things considered, I did have a bit of cry when I realised the nursery had also been breached, so to speak, (I also cried when I saw an elderly couple walking along holding hands the other day, though, so, you know, HORMONES…) and, well, replacing floors and painting ceilings – plus dealing with all of the associated mess and disruption – wasn’t exactly how I’d hoped to spend the last three weeks of my pregnancy. So there’s that.

Still, on the plus side, I guess it’s better that this happen now than with a newborn in the house (Assuming, of course, that we had to have the house flooded AT ALL, and, in our case, it seems that, yes, actually, we DO…), so we’ve picked out some new flooring: it’s a similar style to the existing floor, because we’d literally – LITERALLY – just finished decorating this room a few weeks ago, and we were happy with the the way it looked: this time, though, we’ve gone for a waterproof laminate, the same as the stuff we have downstairs. (We will be trying our best not to flood it, despite that, though, because obviously NO type of wood flooring is actually designed to be underwater on a regular basis…). In the meantime, my parents have been round with a dehumidifier, and my dad also managed to identify the problem with the bathroom sink, so while we obviously can’t mitigate for our own sheer stupidity, we’ve at least done what we can to make sure this never, ever happens again.

So. The new flooring should be arriving today (Which is another reason we went back to QuickStep, actually – we knew from experience that they’d be able to get it to us fast!), after which it’ll be a race to get it installed as quickly as we can. If the baby DOES decide to turn up while the house, once again, resembles a building site, though … er, actually, let’s not even THINK about that, shall we? I mean, I was trying to be all cool and laid-back about it there, but I think you all know me well enough by now to know that I’m anything BUT cool or laid-back, and that, having spent the last few weeks frantically doing everything in my power to make sure the house was just perfect, and totally ready for its new arrival, I’m kind of freaking out now at the fact that we’ve somehow managed to ruin it all, and now the house looks even worse than it did when we started. In fact, I think I’m going to have to go and clean something, just to calm myself down.

Before I do, though, I’m just going to quickly go and check that all of the taps are turned off upstairs.

Well, you can never be too careful, can you?

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  • Oh no! That’s really not what you need, any time, let alone 8 months pregnant!

    I remember our new dormer roof leaking about a month before the arrival of our son – getting woken up by a drip, drip, drip of water on your head makes you think you’re still dreaming…

    Good luck getting everything cleaned and fixed!

    December 11, 2017
  • Aw mate! I can’t even imagine how stressful that must be. We had something on a smaller scale right before last Christmas. We’re in a three-storey too and the valve in the top toilet decided to fuck up over night and we had water leak through to our son’s room underneath (luckily we co-sleep) and down through to the living room underneath. We had water streaming down the walls – right after our fridge freezer also packed in right before Christmas and we lost a load of food. Not best pleased. Luckily (?) we’re in a rented house so they had to take care of it for us.

    December 11, 2017
  • Oh no Amber, that’s such a shame! And during this cold snap as well. But at least it’s happened now and not next month as you say. You’ll no doubt have it all ship shape again in less time than you think. Hope you find some time to chill out too. 🙂

    December 11, 2017
  • Chiarina


    When I saw your Instagram stories about this I was frozen in horror. I think I had my phone out while walking towards the car or something and I literally stopped in my tracks while my mouth fell open. I felt for you so, so, so much. A big big hug to you and Terry… You seem to be taking this SO much better than I would…

    December 11, 2017
  • Sascot7


    I did the exact same thing 3 week’s before my first baby was borN. Whole house, a puddle of water…….I feel your pain. Sending you loads of love and calm thoughts

    December 11, 2017
  • Oh Amber! I am so sorry to hear this has happened. I hope it all gets fixed and sorted before the baby comes. Thinking of you!x

    December 11, 2017
  • You seem be taking this much more calmly than I would! I think I’d be in floods of tears – so sorry this has happened to you, but at least you’re in the process of getting it sorted!

    December 11, 2017
  • Barbara West


    Oh, no! I am so sorry you’re having to go through this. Never a good time, but good grief! Any time you need to vent, we are all here and sending empathy and good thoughts your way. I know the baby, Terry, you, and the house will all be fine. Bless your heart.

    December 11, 2017
  • Myra


    So sorry this has happened just when you got your whole house finished and looking great. If there is a silver lining, it is that it happened before your baby arrived. It does give you one more stressor, but I hope you manage (by that I mean Terry and family and friends) to get everything fixed before Christmas and baby. And if you don’t, it will be done later and all will be fine.

    December 11, 2017
  • Ginger


    Oh Amber, I am so sorry! What a horrible thing to happen! Water can do SO much damage. My brother and sister-in-law are in the Houston area, and he has helped with some of the demolition that has to happen in houses flooded by Hurricane Harvey. It’s incredible. (Their house was not flooded.) (And I am NOT providing the Worst Case Scenario thing, either. Harvey just made it super clear for a ton of people how much damage water can do to a house.) I’m so glad that the ceilings are intact, and painting is sufficient. Yay for QuickStep, and that you were able to quickly get what you needed to replace the floors. I hope your Little Guy continues to chill out!

    December 11, 2017
  • D Johnson


    Oh NO! You are amazing, though. I wouldn’t know where to begin. I hope this is the LAST flood for you, Terry and the baby. (Gives one a new perspective on “Moses Baskets,” doesn’t it? (‘Cuz he floated down a river…?)) Sending positive thoughts. Also, this is one of your posts that has me laughing at disaster- which leaves me with a strange, delightful guilt.

    December 11, 2017
  • All things considered I think you’re handling this like a pro (-fessional house flooder?!?!), especially given hormones in the mix. There’s never a good time for this kind of thing but yeah you really got a stinker here. Wishing you a speedy repair job!

    December 11, 2017
  • I’m so sorry this happened to you! And right after finally finishing some rooms ☹️ I like how you guys get right on it, though! I would be so discouraged it would stay a mess.

    December 11, 2017
  • Alicja


    Sorry to hear, Amber :/

    December 12, 2017
  • Skimpy


    Oh no, poor Amber! And everything being ready and perfect! Well at least you’ll be in no shortage of stories to tell your boy when he’s older 🙂 Like, you know, “you were born just after the second big Flood…”

    December 12, 2017
  • Angie


    Something similar happened to us when I was little. The bathroom leaked on Christmas Eve. The leak destroyed all our Christmas cookies in the kitchen below. It was devastating! 😉

    As an adult in my own house, we had the washing machine start leaking – while it was completely full of water. We’ve also had a pipe randomly spring a leak in the middle of the night. The sound of water running now sends me into a bit of a panic. What has helped is water detector alarms. They’re pretty small, really affordable, and some are adorably shaped like frogs. We have them in a couple of spots around the house – by the washing machine and water heater, the bathrooms, and kitchen – and they help ease my mind. I heartily recommend them!

    December 12, 2017