"You have to go home right now." Chad said, his jeans soaked through to his shin bone. "Your house is flooding!"
There I stood like a three years child, at the corner of Hayworth and Santa Monica Boulevard, blinking back at Chad.
My fight or flight response mechanism was still uploading..
It was forty five minutes earlier that I had been struck by a bolt of crippling anxiety that, upon leaving my house for work, I'd forgotten to lock the gate. The gate is the only thing that separates my dogs from turning into road kill in the canyon. There had been workmen coming in and going out all day to repair a nagging leak above the entry way of the house F For Food and I share. I opened the gate, I closed the gate but, I could not, for the life of me, visualize myself locking the gate as I left for the last time. Elliott was out of town on what was meant to be a nice relaxing vacation with her friends and family, so calling her was not an option.
And, with Elliott out of town, it meant that the responsibility of not burning the joint down sat squarely on my shoulders, a feeling as uncomfortable to me as built in shoulder pads. It is alleged that, on occasion, I leave the house for a lovely afternoon of errands with the iron set to steam. It has been suggested, on occasion, that I refrain from child bearing.
But back to the point..
I'd left for work two hours prior to my electric pang of panic. I called for backup from the only other person in Los Angeles with a key to my gate. Unable to persuade him to saddle up his white horse, I gave in and tried calling Elliott, no answer.
Blasted time zones!
I began pacing. My chest tightened, crushing my lungs in it's grip. I began to sweat. I tried to squeeze the image of squished puppies out of my racing thoughts. The room began to spin.
An idea, An idea, An idea, An... CHAD!
My friend/boss Chad was at work, too, but Chad had wheels and Chad was willing to put them to work to ease my concern so that I could focus on my job and not the number of hungry coyotes in Laurel Canyon.
I handed Chad my key dressed up like toilet paper(long story) and he promised to make sure that my babes were snug as bugs in rugs behind a secured gate.
What Chad was to discover was a mess of a different color.
I snapped out of stun.
"You have to go home NOW!"
I unglued my cowboy boots from the cement, flew back into work, grabbed my purse and keys and bolted to my car.
I can report that there are two things in this world that do not go together.
A Gas Pedal.
I can't honestly say that I remember the whole drive home or whether or not all four wheels were touching the pavement the whole time. What I can recall was the sound coming from the inside of my house as my trembling hands tried to connect the toilet paper key to the gate lock. I'd heard that sound a hundred times hiking through the rain forests of Maui. It's called...
It was the sound of a waterfall coming from the inside of my house. I was outside. At the gate. By the street.When I connected key and lock, I ran towards the sound. It got louder and louder. My blood felt colder and colder.
Once inside, there I was... face to face with my very own waterfall. No plane ticket necessary. It was in my foyer. It was a scene so unbelievable that it's possible Tom Sawyer floated by on his raft as I opened the door.
I splashed my way in. My boot clad ankles felt the drag of resistance in the pool of water that occupied three rooms of my house and was making it's way into the bedrooms. I looked around wildly. Where are the dogs?!
I splashed through the hallway to the living room and found them huddled together shivering, wet and eyes the size of saucers. I scooped them up, promised them it would be O.K. and brought them to higher ground. My bed.
Olivia and Eduardo safe from the rising tide, I could shift my focus.
The water valve.
I enlisted the help of a neighbor, made 17,000 phone calls to Elliott, who made 17,000 calls to the landlord, who put us in touch with the house handyman, who, once he was done taking an a nice anecdotal trip down busted pipe memory lane, helped me locate the valve.
I turned the knob furiously until I heard the house let out a sigh of relief .... or was that me?
With the water swept out, the floors mopped and buckets arranged to catch the last few stubborn leaks from the now gaping hole in the ceiling, the house no longer resembled a dyslexic Noah's Arc.
A damp chill still hung in the air.
To remedy that, I built a fire in the fireplace, wrapped the pups in blankets and took off my waterlogged boots. Everyone and everything on their way to being warm and dry, I set off to the kitchen the quiet the growl that had taken up residence in my belly. After the chaos of the evening I craved something easy, simple and hot. This six ingredient dinner fit the bill.
Casareccia Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil
(wading pants optional)
- 2 cups casareccia pasta (sub strozzapretti or fusilli)
- 2 cups halved baby heirloom tomatoes seasoned with s&p
- 1 cup hand torn basil
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (recommend Terroni's house oil)
- 3 large cloves of smashed and roughly chopped garlic
Boil pasta, in salted water, for two minutes less than package directs, a little under al dente. Strain and run cold water over it to cease further cooking. The pasta will cook more in the pan later.
In a large sauce pan, saute the garlic in the oil over medium heat until garlic begins to look translucent.
Add seasoned tomatoes. Turn cut side of the tomatoes down and stir occasionally for about ten minutes or more. With a gentle press of a spoon squish the tomato guts out. If they don't give way easily the tomatoes need more time.
Stir to coat each piece with the olive oil/tomato sauce.
Season to taste.
Stay dry my friends.