Monday, October 25, 2010

The Great Flood of 2010

Sunday was supposed to be a day of efficiency, when I would do 4 loads of laundry, organize medical receipts from income taxes, and in general get stuff done.

Sunday was not efficient.

Sunday was a disaster.

In a fitting metaphor, my life is a beach, and the waves of misfortune crash on me ceaselessly.

Thank you for indulging my soppily sentimental side. Pun intended.

I put a load of clothes in the washing machine - after filing some receipts - and walked out the door to go get lunch. I was washing things I would need for Monday, when I was slated to have a minor surgical procedure, because it is inadvisable to show up to places without pants as a general rule.

When I arrived back at the apartment, my neighbor on the first floor was hauling a soaked rug out of her apartment, which was flooded. I asked her if she needed help.

"There is water coming from my ceiling, from the floors, from everywhere. You live above me?" she asked.

Well, crap. Yes, I do. Directly above her on the third floor. I dashed up the stairs, opened the door, and confronted a 1/2" of water standing in my living room. In my kitchen, my washing machine was spewing water from its top and from behind it.

I turned off the machine and surveyed the wreckage. I called the property company. The emergency repair dispatch lady informed me that, yes, Jaime (his real name) was on his way to help out, because the lady in the apartment on the first floor had called about her apartment being flooded.

I hauled my dining table into my bedroom - which only had a little bit of the carpet wet, fortunately - and proceeded to heft a drenched sisal rug over my shoulder, carrying it out to the narrow strip of concrete landing outside my apartment door. I rolled up my pants legs, abandoned my shoes in the bedroom, and called my parents.

I cried. They said they'd leave immediately.

I went downstairs to tell my downstairs neighbor that my washing machine had malfunctioned while I was out, to take ownership of the difficulty. Mea culpa. She glared at me, her arms crossed.

"I never run my washer or dryer when I'm not home. Never. I cannot go in my house now, I will be electrocuted!" she said. I was about to launch into tears - nevermind telling her that she's not going to be electrocuted - and she seemed to sense this, because she said, "Is an accident. Is no one's fault. But I never leave anything turned on when I'm not home. Never. You should not leave it on when you're not there. Never. I never leave nothing on." Her mouth said, "It's not your fault," but her body language disagreed completely, as did the expression on her face. And her claims that she's the Mother Teresa of home appliances.

I could hear my phone ringing upstairs, and I had my own apartment to look after, so I excused myself hastily and ran up the three floors of stairs, answered my phone, and started thinking.

I moved my dining chairs into my bedroom, tucked the skirt of my sofa - my beautiful brand new sofa - up under the cushions, and prayed that my loveseat was ruined beyond all hope.

I was looking for a silver lining, okay? And in this case, that silver lining would be money with which to buy two chairs.

I put a towel across the door to my bedroom to try to prevent any more water from seeping into the carpet, and dragged my load of clothes out of the washing machine, depositing them in the bathtub (they were heavy with water, and it took me three trips).

My parents called me and told me to call my insurance company, to find out what to do with The Rug.

When I had my "cancer wish" granted through The Make A Wish foundation, I wished for an oriental rug. Ladies and gentlemen, I got it: an 8'8 x 10'6 Karastan Kirman rug.

For future reference, Karastans make excellent sponges when you need to soak up 30 minutes worth of washing machine gusher.

The insurance dispatcher told me to go ahead and call a company to come get the rug, since it would ruin the parquet in my living room (yup: income restricted apartment with parquet flooring), and I called a company. They sent a guy out, who claimed over the phone to be able to lift an 8'x10' rug, but retracted that statement when confronted with the Multicolor Panel Kirman behemoth.

My parents arrived while I was talking to the claims rep at my insurance company, and my mom was harangued by the lady on the first floor, about how she never leaves her washer on when she's not home. Mom excused herself to come help me.

We toweled up as much water as we could, moved my end tables out of the room, along with the floor lamp, and thanked heavens that my apartment building sags in the center of my living room so the water pooled there instead of infiltrating my bedroom and ruining my sofa.

The other rug from my dining area - a relatively (compared to the Karastan) inexpensive jute rug - was a goner, so when the rug guy arrived to assess the damage and haul it away, I didn't bother to show it to him.

According to my claims handler, to whom I spoke on Monday, I have to keep it to show it to the rug people so they can write on the invoice that the 5x7 Pier One Imports special is not salvageable so the insurance company can pay me money to replace it. I have to let it dry, and then keep it until they return my Karastan and give me their verdict in writing.

I lost a full day of productivity, which I badly needed, and most likely made an enemy of the lady downstairs - particularly since, as I was leaving to go to my parents house in preparation for the medical procedure Monday, she started in with "Like I said earlier, I never -"

I kind of lost it, and said, a bit too forcefully, "I know," and walked off. She apologized faintly, according to my mom, but I didn't hear her because I was halfway to the courtyard exit by that point. Definitely not one of my better moments. I think I'm going to send her flowers and a note of apology.

Mea culpa.

On the upside, there is -kind of- a silver lining: the Karastan needed to be cleaned, anyway.

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