It happens that way sometimes, and deadlines do not wait for bunny baths, as they say in the newsroom.
I was working with one editor trying to get a radio essay cut down to the allotted time limit when the second editor asked me to edit a news story.
No big deal. After more than a decade as a work-at-home mother, I can multi-task with my eyes closed. "Yes, I can!" is my motto. Also: "Can't You See That I Am Working?"
The 10-year-old and her 11-year-old accomplice, plus one very unhappy bunny, were upstairs in the master bathroom.
I was on the telephone with a reporter trying to get to the bottom of a situation in which law enforcement officials were being accused of helping to turn people in to immigration authorities in violation of a sanctuary ordinance - which is completely irrelevant except to demonstrate that I was not editing a simple story about giant vegetables or weather-related mishaps.
We were getting close to the end of the story when I heard a sound like -- the only way I can think to describe it is that it had the sound of rushing water. Like it would sound if you were standing next to a downspout in a torrential rain and the downspout, instead of being outside, was inside.
Kind of like that.
I listened for a few seconds in confusion. Yes, the girls were engaged in a water-based activity, and yes it sounded like water, but it was coming from the living room and the girls were still upstairs. This is the sort of keen, deductive reasoning that I provide for a fee as a freelance editor and journalist.
It was coming from the pool table.
"OH MY GOD," I screamed into the telephone to a young reporter who will be lucky to ever regain full hearing in that ear.
It was raining on the pool table. Hard. It was coming through the recessed light fixtures, splashing onto the felt and through to the floor below.
Upstairs, the unhappy bunny was still covered in soap, the girls were oblivious and the bathroom was suspiciously dry.
A full debriefing, however, later revealed that there had been a minute or two when the 10-year-old stepped out to change her clothes, the 11-year-old was distracted and a spray nozzle was left sitting on the ledge at full stream, very near - or possibly in - a weak spot in the wall that I had temporarily patched by shoving a plastic newspaper bag into it.
It was a harrowing failure of imagination on my part, particularly given the track record of these two girls, whose list of extravagantly executed bad ideas is too long to include here, except to say that they generally begin with a grand plan and a break in supervision and end with cleaning products.
In between are vaseline, paint, assorted bathroom products, a secret "bake sale," a makeover/runaway adventure, a bottle of glue and a variety of artistic undertakings in which the concept of "canvas" is enlarged to include walls, pool decks and home furnishings.
In fact, now that I think about it, flooding the pool table hardly seems worth mentioning.
Photo: An especially tricky shot.