On Christmas Day, as we sat in our living room and opened presents with immediate and extended family, one of our daughters called out to my husband from the garage. Initially, she sounded calm; when she repeated herself we could tell it was urgent. She’d slipped out to get something and discovered water pouring from the ceiling, running under my car, and then flowing outside beneath the garage door.

After days of sustained sub-freezing temperatures, our pipes burst. Everyone jumped into action, trying to control and evaluate the damage. Our home’s previous owner had expanded the master closet, extending it into the garage on the other side of the wall. When I answered a call for help from that direction, I found two of my sons moving hangers of my clothes from one side of the room to the other as water spilled in around one of the recessed lights. I’m thankful for their quick thinking: I had forgotten it was originally part of the garage. I returned with a bucket and towels and they controlled the chaos in that area.

My husband turned off our water from the shut-off valve at the street and then hurried to sweep the pooled water from the garage so it wouldn’t freeze there; an icy trail snaked down our driveway for a couple of days. Next, he cut into the garage ceiling and found the problem pipe. Neighbors, who arrived when they saw what was happening, told us how they once helped a past owner of our home fix a similar issue.

Fourteen of us were home when our pipes burst. We forgot about opening Christmas presents and did what needed to be done at the time. Later when I drove a carload over to use the bathroom at the neighborhood pool, we found water pouring out below the water fountain between the men’s and the women’s restrooms. I reported it on the neighborhood Facebook group and someone turned off the water. As my niece pointed out, I had effectively cut off access to our only bathrooms.

Thankfully for us, that’s when our neighbors stepped in.

Please join me today at (in)courage for the rest of the article!

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