Michael and Susan Carbine had spent the last six months doing a meticulous remodel of their beloved home. Their kitchen was last, and they pulled out all the stops: top-of-the line stainless steel appliances, exquisite quartz countertops, deluxe cabinets, and rich hardwood flooring. With the remodel finally complete they spent all Saturday putting their kitchen back in order. Exhausted the couple plopped into bed, aching but feeling good for what they had accomplished. Now they could finally enjoy the finished product. Michael faded fast and was already sleeping when Susan’s sharp elbow jolted him from a really good dream. “What’s that noise?” “I don’t hear anything.” Michael’s mouth responded as if on autopilot. “It sounds like running water.” Michael jerked awake, his eyes bugged open, and he sat up in bed. His senses went on high-alert, his heart raced, and his muscles tensed. “It sounds like a lot of running water.” He bolted out of bed and moved towards the sound. He flicked the kitchen light switch as he sped past. Water raced across their new hardwood floor, spreading out in all directions like an attacking army. “Susan! Quick! We’ve got a real problem.” She was already behind him. “Where’s it coming from?” “I think the sink.” “My cabinets! They’ll be ruined.” “I’m more worried about the floor.” Michael’s mind raced to figure out what to do. He assumed there were shutoff valves under the sink, but even if there were they wouldn’t help if the water was coming from someplace else, like the dishwasher, the ice maker, or inside the wall. What should he do first? Michael spun around. “I’m going to shut off the main feed. We can sort things out later.” He splashed past his shocked wife, not taking time to console her. That would have to wait. His first task was to shut off the water. Then he could do damage control. Fortunately he knew exactly where the shutoff valve was. He strained to turn it but it wouldn’t budge. He tried again, unable to figure out what was wrong. This was taking too long. Every wasted second dumped more water into their smartly refinished home. Then it hit him. Try the other way. It worked. He turned the valve as far as it would go and then snugged it up tight. He muttered to himself as he returned to the kitchen. “Okay, buddy. Think! What should you do next?” When he arrived Susan was a whirl of action. She had already placed smaller things on the counter and was moving their table out of the water. “Great thinking,” Michael said as he grabbed the other end of the table. “It’s what she told me to do.” “Who?” “Marsha at the answering service.” Michael gave her a puzzled look. “When the Parkers had a pipe burst last year they called Professional Restoration Service. So I called them, too. I got their answering service. Marsha said to turn off the water main first and then start moving things out of the way. She also dispatched a crew. They should be here in ten minutes.” “Wow, how long was I gone?” “It didn’t take much time. I only needed to make one phone call.” Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan. Contact us to learn how a telephone answering service can handle your emergency calls 24/7.