No Shower, No Problem

April 19, 2005

When I lifted the handle in my shower this morning I got a bit of a surprise. Nothing happened.

We have very good water pressure in our hotel in Rome, but this time there was no more than a single drip, and an ominous groan from the pipes. I shut the handle off, then on again, with no result.

My phone rang with my wakeup call.

“Is there a reason why my shower isn't working?” I asked.

“Yes,” said the friendly voice. “They were working in the street and broke a pipe.”

She told me they were trying to fix the problem, but didn't know how long it would take. I thanked her and hung up.

I once spent 35 days without a shower in Iraq at the start of the war, which has helped prepare me for minor momentary hardships like these.

I used bottled water to brush my teeth, slapped on some deodorant, and packed my shaving cream and razor in a plastic bag so I could shave in the office, where I figured the faucets were flowing.

On the way in I saw one of our engineers, Tom Ewing, heading back to the hotel.

“The water's off,” I told him. “I know,” he laughed. “Everyone's pretty upset about it."

”You should tell everyone that they fixed it, and you just had a great shower,” he suggested.

I laughed and said I would. When I got to the office my buddy Carlos van Meek gave me the in, sarcastically asking with a smile, “How was that shower this morning?”

“Awesome!” I told him with a straight face. “They just fixed it.”

His smile faded, and it was my turn to laugh.

You could tell pretty quickly who was staying in our hotel and who wasn't. There were other unshaven beards, less-than-fresh faces, and more than a few bed-heads. Ahh, the hardships of working in Italy, waiting for a new pontiff...

The good news is, according to my sources, the water is working again.

E-mail Rick!

[Ed. note: Click the video tab in the upper right to watch Leventhal's reports.]

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Dear Rick,

My husband wants to know if you got any black, grey, or white smoke out of your shower head instead of water....ha ha ha!

— Robyn (Duncan, OK)

Dear Rick,

Your interviews with those American priests which you described jumping up and down, shouting for Pope Benedict, were superb. You managed speaking with each of them naturally, in their context, and so smoothly.

Thank you again, Rick, for your competence.
— Robert

The smoke was good and have to admit that we got excited at the great crowd. We liked the bells too. But you Mr. Leventhal, enthusiastically working the crowd with your sincerity and good humor, have made it worth watching. Enjoy your shower tonight and the evening of celebration- - ending a most interesting assignment we bet. You're the best, Leventhal, clean or dirty.

Your fans in the horse pasture,
Rockbridge Paths, VA


As a protestant I have to thank you for your wonderful coverage of the news out of Vatican City. You have made the 'inner-workings' of the whole process so much clearer for me, and your descriptions have truly made me feel like I was there. Because of the wonderful job you have done, it is now one of my life's dreams to visit Italy, and more specifically, Vatican City. Thank you, Rick, for opening my eyes to a world I would have never known.

Pam (Mason City, IA)


I've enjoyed both your reports on FNC and your "rambles" during your stay in Rome. Yes, there are thousands of coffee shops in Rome, all selling kick-you-in-the-pants coffee in little tiny cups.

If you are still in Rome or go back sometime, try to visit the Capuchin Crypt beneath the Capuchin Church of the Immaculate Conception. It's located on Via Veneto, near Barbarini Square and is amazing. I've never seen anything so strange or beautiful at the same time - it would be great if you could do a story on it.

Hope you enjoyed Rome a bit. Thanks again!
— Cat (Durham, NC)

Please thank everyone in charge at FOX News... I shall remember you all in my prayers so that you continue to do the marvelous reporting that you do each day. Thank you!

— Rosemary

Dear Mr. Leventhal,

Thank you so much for your outstanding work in Rome. As a college student, it has been difficult to be away from my parents and brothers during this time of grief, but I felt united with my family on account of your reporting and FOX's wonderful coverage. I would also like to take this opportunity to comment on your fantastic reporting in Iraq. Thank you for telling it like it is.

University of Notre Dame


Thanks for the well-written commentary. It was a great conclusion to a joyous week. You sure cover the globe.

— Tom

Excellent report on your trip. You actually made me feel like I was walking with you through your journey to see the Pope. Great writing. SCV


Thank you for sharing your experience with us. What a beautiful tribute.

— Maggie (Natchez,MS)

Thanks for the wonderful account of your visit to see the Holy Father. This past week has been rough for me, and for many, it seems. I'm not even Catholic, but my heart is filled with a great sadness at the loss of this shining example of what is good in our troubled world. Your story assures me that I am not alone.

— Michael (Farragut, TN)