Tag Archives: Finances

Courage at Twilight: Wet Feet


“Could you help me with something?” Mom whispered to me with concern wrinkling her face. For the first time in her adult life, after more than half a century, she could not reconcile her checkbook with her bank statement.  We spent the next hour studying each entry, each check, and each deposit, adding and subtracting each entry on the check register.  I just could not find the mistake—the math worked.  Where had the money gone?  I realized abruptly that one deposit had been entered twice, inflating the balance she had thought available.  Visiting from North Carolina, Steve suggested I add forensic accounting to my resume.  A simple login and transfer of funds on my smartphone set things right, to Mom’s tremendous relief.  “You saved my life!” she exclaimed.  Thankfully, Mom and Dad added me to their accounts just last week, so I was able to quickly and easily fix the problem from the comfort of the kitchen table.  To cover her account, Mom had thought we would need to drive to the bank to determine the true balance, then return home for a check from Dad to move from his account to Mom’s, then drive back to the bank to deposit the check.  The experience impressed Mom and instilled greater confidence in on-line banking, though Dad still will not allow me to deposit a check with my Wells Fargo app.  The night before, I arrived home at 10 p.m. after a 14-hour Wednesday (due to City Council meeting).  After greetings to Mom and Dad, I sat in my recliner (yes, I have one, too) to relax a moment before going to bed.  Steven poked his head around the door frame and ventured, “Um, there might be a little problem in the basement.”  Standing in his basement bedroom in stockinged feet, he began to notice an odd physical sensation, his brain slowly waking to the strange realities of wet socks and squishy carpet.  He found the window well inundated with six inches of water, which somehow was finding its way through the foundation.  We grabbed cups and buckets and began bailing gallon after gallon of muddy water, pouring at least 20 gallons carefully down the toilet, flushing between pours to keep the line clear.  Steve stomped on bath towels while I ran for Dad’s carpet cleaner.  The towels (a dozen) soaked up additional gallons, and the vacuum even more.  We pointed a box fan at the moist area and will let the air blow for a week.  We drew straws to see who would give Mom and Dad the bad news (Mom had spotted me trying to hide a five-gallon bucket as I slunk down the basement stairs at 11 p.m., still in my Sunday suit) and I lost.  But they took the news well and appreciated our quick thinking and response.  Several feet of snow, banked between our house and the neighbor’s, had melted too quickly on that one warm day, oversaturating the lawn with little lakes, and the water followed low spots in the landscaping to flood the window well.  Happily, the other window wells were dry.  The next day Steve texted me a photo of a baby cottontail rabbit which had fallen into another window well.  “What next?!” I texted back.  Donning long sleeves and gloves (just in case, though I have never been bitten by a rabbit), I opened the window and gently pressed a hand on the bunny, but he kicked at me and astonished us by jumping four feet straight up the window well wall, a foot short of the top.  On my second attempt, I pounced more forcefully and captured the little creature, but it screamed and screamed, and there was nothing little about that human-sounding scream.  I dredged from old memories a method of calming distressed animals by covering their eyes with a cupped hand, and succeeded in calming the bunny.  I rubbed its little head and loose ears and soft gray fur.  We introduced the bunny to Mom and Dad, stepped out the back door, knelt low to the ground, and released the rabbit.  It bounded across the lawn, then stopped to look back, doubtless contemplating the miracle of having survived the attack of a gigantic predator.  How grateful I felt that Steven had been here, at this time, to discover the flooded window well that would have gone undiscovered for weeks, that would have destroyed the basement bedroom, and here also to find the baby bunny that would have perished in another window well, and see to its rescue.