Come hell or high water

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

At 4 a.m. Monday I was awakened by a sound which I shouldn't have been hearing in the middle of the night. Loud. It took me a minute to realize it was water. Ran to the bathroom and determined it wasn't coming from there. Having sprung from a deep sleep, my next thought was "Somebody's in my apartment and has turned on my washing machine." (As if.) I was scared to death to walk through the kitchen to the washer-dryer room, where I then experienced the sensation of waterboarding, Mr. Cheney, as a blast of water hit me in the face. It seemed a fire hose had been turned on my kitchen. The spray was coming from behind the washer, and I could not see where to turn it off.

So, I walked over to the phone and dialed 911. My theory was "I have to get someone to turn this water off." A very nice policeman came and did so. He then raced around my living room unplugging surge protectors (electonics, computer, videomagnifier) as all, with their array of outlets, were standing in water two inches deep, and we, of course, did not want to be electrocuted. Since my computer was on "stand by," I didn't even want to think about the state it might be in.

The policeman, drenched from head to toe, was so sweet, kept saying, "It'll be OK; it'll be all right."

I called my friend Charlie to come over and help me assess what was soaked. Answer: everything (oak sideboard, all my clothes which I keep downstairs, all my shoes, file cabinet, the bottom of my loveseat, you get the picture). I then woke my landlady to see if she had a Shop-Vac. “Let me think about this for a few minutes and call you back,” she said in a sleepy voice. A few minutes later, she called to say she had her daughter's car pool and couldn't get here until 9 a.m. Very kindly, she said she wanted to help.

After sloshing through cold water in soggy houseshoes and sobbing, “This is a nightmare,” at each new horror, I settled down to wait. Since I couldn't possibly have been more stressed, I then spent the next four hours listening to "Don Quixote."

My buddy Chris showed up at 8 a.m. to help me "see" what I would have to deal with. “This is a perfect case of you can’t win for losing,” he pronounced. Since I had taught him the Coleridge lines, I said, “No, it’s water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink!”

The landlady Lisa arrived on schedule, along with her Wonder Woman maintenance gal Dodie. Basically, they told me to sit on the loveseat and stay out of the way, then proceeded, for the next three hours, to dry out and clean the whole downstairs. They then ran to WalMart for hoses and fixed my washer. (Yes, Dodie moved the washer out.) When they left, I gushed eternal gratitude as the whole episode was not the landlady's responsibility. I'm in good hands with Kennedy Group!

Chris and I spent the rest of the day washing and drying clothes, tons of clothes; cursing the person who left the ashes in my iron hibachi, now filled with water; and putting things back in their proper place after all the cleaning. Proper places are very important to the visually impaired.

Minor miracles: the bottom drawer of my videotape library index, containing some 1,000 cards and sitting on the floor, was unscathed, and there had been only cans, jars and juice bottles on my flooded pantry floor.

Major miracle: I wasn’t electrocuted.

All was not well that ended well until I determined if my computer was OK. Friend Jenny took me to Office Depot early Tuesday morning for four new surge protectors, and, to make this long story short, everything was soon up and running, thank goodness. (Same sensation experienced by Kevin Bacon in the frozen command module in "Apollo 13.")

I have six folks I owe an awful lot to today.

And, I have six soggy pairs of Reeboks and seven equally soggy pairs of houseshoes drying out across my living room floor. Once they are dry, I can wash a pair at a time with other clothes, so as not to beat my washer to death, although I should for what it did to me.


airth10 said...

That was awful BJ. Sorry it happened to you.

Frodo, handed a straight line, said...

To put a proper spin on the day, perhaps you might conside naming your washing machine. Frodo suggests "Katrina."

Good Southern Man said...

What a Nightmare. You have a great landlady. Give the washer a swift kick for me!

When I was little and we lived in Jackson, my mother would take baths at night and she flooded the house more than once by forgetting about it until we were standing in water.

Jerry Critter said...

What a mess! Glad you are safe. It reminds me that power strips should not be kept on the floor. Maybe that's the reason that wall plugs are part way up the wall rather than at floor level.

Leslie Parsley said...

When you said you were drying out in your email, I thought, "Hmmm." Bless your poor heart. At least you have a sense of humor about something that had to be a royal pain in the old gazebo - and a scary one at that. Am glad all is well now and that your computer is okay. Whew! Had been wondering if your were okay since I hadn't seen you around.

Funny, I was sitting on the toilet the other day and noticed all this water on my floor. Looked up at the ceiling and there was this big bubble with water coming out of a hole. Happily, it was over the tub.

Anonymous said...

And we thought 12 inches of snow is bad! Weren't you cold? I know you felt like Katrina had returned!

Sue said...

BJ what a disaster! I hate water problems, its such an ordeal. So glad you are ok and certainly that you didn't get electrocuted! We had many episodes like that with a flooded basement before we got new gutters installed. I'll never forget the look on my sons face as he stood in the water, along with me and the husband, and plugged in the pump. He was scared to death of getting electrocuted and the look on his face showed it! Poor thing, I felt his fear but we are all still here!

Fellowes said...

Very brave running around to unplug all the surge protectors, could of been scary!

Debra said...

Bless your Heart. You always make the best of everything. I am so glad your computer wasn't harmed-your connection to the world, friends and family. Most of all, that God was watching over you and kept you from being electrocuted.
Things can be replaced, people can't. Art Linkletter:"Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out". See I still have it-you sent it to me years ago.....I love you, Deb

katherine said...


It was distressing to read about your indoor flood. I send you best wishes for a speedy
return to normalcy in your home. I, too, thank God that you weren't electrocuted, that angels do, indeed, exist and that your videotapes and computer are okay.

In the spirit of you-are-not-alone in this surprising human experience, on Tuesday while you were listening to Don Quixote, miles away from you, I was outdoors snipping a handful of decorative greenery. I suddenly slipped in the snow and wound up in a supersonic leg split. In seconds, the Achillies tendon in my right leg stretched to its snapping point. It all happened so fast that I'm quite surprised--and extremely grateful--that the Achilles tendon wasn't torn in two.

The older I get, the more I realize that I've never known what's going to happen next. I just thought I did. I've realized that thinking and knowing are completely different.

Hoping that you're okay.


B.J. said...

Thanks everyone for reading and caring.

Welcome to first-time commenter Fellowes. Hope you’ll come back.

Always happy to throw Frodo a straight line.

Yep, Leslie, I try to use an attention-getter on the subject line of my blog promos. Since there had been a hint in a comment that I was having a problem, I thought that “DRYING OUT” would work, LOL.

Imagine if I’d had the Christmas tree up and lots of wrapped gifts underneath! Let’s hear it for procrastination!


Tiny said...

BJ, thank God you are unharmed physically. All's well that ends well and you have the spirit to make all things end well. I hope you are pretty well back to your normal daily life.

Events such as this can knock one off track for a long time. We learn a healthy respect for the elements when we have to deal with them during disasterous experiences.

Glad you didn't have your tree and gifts in the line of battle and hope you will get to enjoy them for their true purpose.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a 2010 filled with God's richest blessings.