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.