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Hay’s Daze: Christmas leaked this year


Why do things happen at exactly the wrong time? You know, when the dog gets sick at 5:05 pm on a Friday and your vet clinic closes at 5:00 for the weekend. An abscess tooth in the middle of a long weekend. Your flight is delayed just long enough to miss the Taylor Swift concert. When the plumbing breaks in the middle of the night on Christmas morning.

Well, one out of four ain’t bad, I suppose. Yep, the Better Half and my own self and the two visiting Rotten Kids were nestled all snug in our beds while visions of sugar-plums danced in our heads (even though none of us have a clue what sugar plums actually are) when out from the bathroom there rose such a clatter I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

It was actually the shower in our tiny ensuite bathroom, and at exactly 3:30 am half way between Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning it decided to start leaking. And it didn’t come gentle (or quietly) into that good night. Dylan Thomas notwithstanding that dripping shower sounded like an AK 47 assault rifle was firing continuously from the other side of a thin wall about a meter and a half from my pillowed head. The Better Half didn’t even wake up at first, which was a minor miracle.

So I drag myself out of bed and stumble into the bathroom. I immediately deduce that something might be leaking even though it’s pitch dark in there and I don’t want to turn the light on because it would awake the Better Half and I’m thrashing around trying to find faucets to turn off but they are already turned off and I’m getting soaked reaching into the shower box stall and the only thing I can think of is to try and find the toilet shut off valve thingy which of course I can’t find in the dark and which wouldn’t do squat anyway on account of that doesn’t have anything to do with the water going to the shower.

Then I remember that I have a little book light attached to my Agatha Christie book on my nightstand and quiet as a large clumsy mouse I go back into the bedroom and fumble around and get the light and go back in the bathroom I click it on and stand there stupidly in the dim glow watching the shower nozzle drip incessantly. And did I mention: LOUDLY?! So loud I was worried that Santa’s reindeer might not want to land on our roof because someone was shooting at them!

By this time the B.H. has awoken and has already gone down to the basement and shut off the water to the house, which was pretty impressive, all things considered.

Oh, I took it apart all right, and poked around with screw drivers, hammers, saws etc but we had to turn the water back on in the house and that stupid shower dripped all through Christmas and Boxing Day and the next day until the Rotten Kid - the daughter one’s - Better Half Friend kindly fixed it for us. Thing is, none of us let a dumb deafening drip dampen our Christmas one little bit, and we were spoiled silly as only a happy family can spoil each other at this magical time of year. But next year I may have to ask Santa for a new shower.

But now, the not-so-happy Christmas: the passing of my friend and fellow columnist, Michael Dawe. Over many years we enjoyed teasing each other, kibitzing about our shared history in Red Deer, telling each other outrageous stories – most of them true. But Michael was everybody’s friend, and this town needed him. I miss him already.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. Reach out to Harley with any thoughts or ideas at