One would think that I would know better than to travel during a Mercury retrograde. But sometimes I like to stick a middle finger up to the heavens, throw caution to the wind, and tempt fate. In other words, I don’t always follow my own good astrological advice.
But this was different, I told myself. I was teaching a workshop in Los Angeles with my dear friend Danielle Cohen. Our last one was a success. What could go wrong?
I was about to find out.
I want to start by mentioning that this particular retrograde was in the sign of Pisces, which is a water sign. Now keep that in mind as I tell you my tale.
A bit of drama started to unfold before I even started my journey. A pipe in our basement began to leak, which meant a hasty call to a plumber on a frigid weekend and a couple of hundred bucks later. No biggie.
Pipes were also bursting on the opposite end of the country. Our original venue had a major leak, which led to a mold problem and an expensive fix. That issue wasn’t fully resolved before our event – which meant there was some last minute scrambling to find a new venue. It got handled just in time for my flight.
Our initial flight was fine, save for a WiFi issue but our connecting flight? Canceled. We were rebooked on a later flight which meant lots of time to sit around the Las Vegas airport watching people sitting like robots on the whirling slot machines. I may be one who likes to take Mercury retrograde risks but I’m not a gambling woman. Anyhow, I sat around people-watching the slot junkies and other interesting folks (including a guy sitting near me scrolling through a swinger’s site) until my connecting flight was ready to roll.
We arrived in Los Angeles with plenty of time to grab our car and head to our destination, a gorgeous VRBO rental in the heart of West Hollywood. The owner was friendly and took the time to show us around while making restaurant recommendations. Things were looking up!
A long night of deep sleep and I was up and at ‘em in the morning. After wrangling my inbox, I was looking forward to a nice, hot shower.
I stepped into the mint green stall and turned the faucet. Oddly, the faucet kept spinning round and round. Finally, it stopped and I began to soap up. The water soon turned from hot to a skin-melting inferno. Now if you know me, you know I like it scalding but this was burning my flesh to a crisp. I reached for the handle to adjust the temperature and the damn thing wouldn’t budge.
I yelled to my husband and he came in, stuck his hand in to try and turn it but it would not move an inch. It was obvious that this sucker was broken from the jump. My husband told me that he would need to get in the shower in order to get a better handle on it. Which meant: I needed to rinse off as fast as possible and he needed to get naked. I frantically washed off and took my red hot body out of there so he could slip in.
There he was, naked as a newborn trying to turn the handle but no matter what he did, this thing was broken. I should probably add that this building was older – and who knows how long it had been since the faucet was looked at? The fact that it initially spun loosely was a clue that something was up. We have an old house too and know that these things do wear out – and of course, it’s rarely convenient when they do.
Anyhow, we both started to freak the hell out. What were we going to do? It was 6:30 in the morning and we knew we couldn’t just leave it – we would have to contact the landlord. I told him to quickly rinse his body off because there may not be time for a shower since we had to hit the road. My husband hates hot showers so this was not a good development. He quickly splashed some water on his body and I said: “forget about your hair – it looks good enough.”
He tried one more time to turn the faucet and then it happened: the whole goddamn thing came off and water spurted out with such force it almost knocked him against the wall. He pushed the faucet back in place and I started to cry. This was NOT a good development! I started to dial the landlord but he said “Not yet – I’m naked! I can’t have her see me like this – I need to get dressed and you’re going to have to hold this faucet in place.”
As I took over and pressed my hand on that faucet, he looked at me and like some sort of Obi-Wan Kenobi said: “Use all of your force.” I pushed down but I was not as strong as the water. A few sprays in my face and I knew I was on the losing end of this thing. Where the hell was Jason Momoa in full Aquaman costume when I needed him? While I pondered this mystery, I tried to dial the landlord but my glasses were so fogged I couldn’t see what I was doing so I was trapped until my husband came back in, fully dressed, and ready to take over.
Mind you, we were only in town for a weekend so he was wearing the outfit designated for the day – which meant he had to awkwardly stand outside the stall and hold this faucet. It didn’t prevent his clothes from getting wet but it was better than picturing the landlord walking into a butt naked man holding on to a shower fixture for dear life!
Now I was free to frantically dial the landlord. No answer. SHIT. Next: text and wait. I looked at my husband ready to cry, imagining us having to stand here all morning holding that frigging shower together so it wouldn’t flood this joint. Finally, the phone rang and we explained the dire watery situation we were in. She said she would come up with a wrench and my husband yelled “No – you need to turn the water off!”
Apparently, this did not register because she arrived with her fluffy bathrobe and mussed-up morning hair holding a big wrench. She peered into the shower and her eyes bulged. That image of my husband holding on with all his might as water was gushing out like some sort of cartoon got her attention. As she shuffled out the door she mentioned that she didn’t know how to turn off the water. You can imagine what that news did to the general mood.
But thankfully, a few minutes later and the water was off. She figured it out and let us know that she would be contacting a plumber.
Meanwhile, we’re wet, frazzled, and now I have to hit the road to teach. The bathroom mirror was so fogged that I had to put on my makeup without the advantage of being able to see what I was doing. It was too late to blow out my hair so it was gonna have to suffice with a fast comb throw and air dry.
As we left the building, my biggest worry: I hope that lady doesn’t give us a one-star rating on VRBO. Yes, I kid you not. That was my primary concern.
Because we wasted our whole morning with this water sport, we didn’t have time for breakfast so we headed to the nearby Starbucks for a bite. As we sat there, still shaking, it suddenly dawned on us how ridiculous this whole thing was. We began to laugh our asses off and said it was just like something straight out of I Love Lucy.
Mercury retrograde was not without irony either – as we drove up to the venue, we were greeted by a giant fountain of Poseidon spurting out water. You can’t make this stuff up! The class went well and we had an amazing time working with tarot, shadows, and photography. It was a smaller class this year because you guessed it – some flights were canceled which meant last minute spots opened up. Mercury retrograde! Other folks couldn’t make it due to the event being too close to another one. It didn’t matter – sometimes smaller groups are mightier and this one certainly was!
A text from the landlady alerted us that the shower was fixed. Yay! Visions of getting a proper cleaning danced in my head as we arrived back at the location. All was well.
But the next morning, I was so scared to use the shower that I forced my husband to turn the faucet on and off for me. It worked fine but it was still a bit touchy. As I dried myself off, he motioned me excitedly to come out because he had something to show me. There on the wall right outside the shower was a framed picture of Lucy and Ricky. I kid you not. We burst into giggles.
The Universe certainly has a sense of humor.
Anyhow, the rest of our trip was flawless and full of lunches, laughs, good food, and an excellent party. And in case you were wondering, I got a 5-star review from the landlord. YAY!
We had some ‘splaining to do!
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What I’m Grateful For:
Meeting people that I have always wanted to meet
Parties in hip spaces
Soundtrack for 3/16/19:
Down by the Water by PJ Harvey
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2019
images from Terry Reed