This week’s column

Orange County Register; North County News-Tribune; Jan 26, 2023, Page A4

When your house is all wet


Have you had enough rain yet?

Rain is something that we long for in southern California, but when it gets here it disrupts our lives in big and small ways. It’s one thing to step into a puddle and get your shoes wet—it’s quite another to hit the brakes in your car and lose control.

I’ve often wished that our rainfall would come in little doses that would keep the ground appropriately damp. Perhaps a gentle sprinkle every morning between 4 and 6 a.m. instead of the usual deluge. If only.

Our family survived the recent wind and torrents, although puppy Piper was not a fan of doing her business in our flooded yard. With the state of our house, I agreed with her.

It all began with the vent in the guest bathroom. The first storm had resulted in a leak that dripped from the vent. I was not thrilled, but it was a small, slow drip so I put a container and towels down and told myself to be flexible. After the storm, we’d get it fixed.

But we didn’t get it fixed.

Dale is very involved with his family’s care, specifically his mother and his developmentally disabled cousin. If you’ve ever dealt with the health care machine, you know how difficult it can be to get into the doctor, get the right prescription, get the approval from insurance, etc.

Not only is he a good son, he’s the guy who wants to fix things around the house by himself. So the leak had to wait.

The next storm made the leak bigger, extending along the ceiling. At least it was dripping into the bathtub. Fortunately, we didn’t have any reason to use the tub. Until we did.

We’re still not certain what went wrong, but the rain did something to the electrical system in half of our house. Suddenly switches were turning on the wrong lights. Then just as suddenly, the switches stopped working at all. We no longer had working lights in our kitchen, foyer, or master bathroom.

Dale’s attention was taken away from the leaky vent, and I couldn’t argue. Drips on the ceiling are an annoyance. Faulty wiring is a house fire waiting to happen.

I tried to adjust as my husband divided his time between taking his cousin to the doctor, reading Wiring for Dummies, and trying different configurations to get the lights back on.

The first night, I washed the dishes by candlelight. The following day, Dale provided a clamp light for the kitchen so I could cook. I felt like I was living in the little house on the prairie.

One day, I was too busy to shower until it was dark—too dark for the master bathroom. Schlepping all my soaps and lotions into the guest bath, I discovered that random cold drips of water from the ceiling do not enhance my shower experience.

By the fourth day, Dale admitted defeat and said he’d hire our electrician neighbor to find the problem. All he had to do was put the wiring back the way it was before he started trying to fix it.

It’s now been seven days, which is okay because I’m learning patience.

I’m hoping that we can get the wiring fixed and the vent leak patched before the next rainstorm. We may not have had enough rain yet, but our house has.

Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at