Chaos Attraction

Le Deluge

2004-08-17, 9:39 p.m.

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I should have known something was going to happen. Things had been normal and calm and happy-dappy-doo for far too long- or as Jess pointed out, I get about two weeks of normal before something else hits.

Things had been going well since a week or two after I got back from Montana, relatively speaking. No major personal disasters, nobody royally pissed off at me, no boy, friend, or family drama going on. But soon enough, signs of chaos started coming back into my life. Jasmine the Humping Cat, who had been pleasingly quiet in recent weeks, came up pregnant. The boys around me as a whole started acting strange and disturbing. As an example, I went to country line dance night at the local dance club and found myself getting "freaked" on the dance floor, something that frankly, people just don't DO to girls with glasses. Or for that matter, at country line dance night. "Yeah, that happens here, but not on country night," my roommate said. "Well, it happened to ME!"

So the winds of doom were in the air. Something had to occur. Things had just been too peaceful.

I had thought that I was already having a crappy night that Monday. I had my volunteer night and had screwed up several things, including what food I was supposed to bring and what areas I'd been cleaning. I'd had to duck inquiries as to whether or not I was single, and I wasn't in the mood to explain that one. And I really had to pee, and they'd locked up the bathroom by the time I got off shift late. In short, I was fairly crabby and ready to go home, pee, go online and bitch a little about my horrible night, and go to bed.

I got to my apartment at around 11 p.m., unlocked the door, and immediately walked into something dripping on my head big time. What the hell? The floor was flooded, and when I say flooded, there was at least an inch or two of water on the floor. Did the toilet overflow or something? (Nobody'd been home since the morning, though.) I waded into the bathroom, and noticed that the entire ceiling was dripping. The light fixtures were dripping. The vent above the toilet was dripping. I couldn't see all the way into the bedrooms, but there were long dark puddles at least around the doors. I waded into the living room and the kitchen was a giant puddle, but the living room seemed to be mostly dry, except for the loud dripping towards the back.

I suspect I screamed, or at least made some random noises of "Oh my GOD," at this point. My laptop was miraculously okay, as was my TV area, and both had somehow managed to avoid the Wet. Phew. I was suddenly glad I'd brought my cell to work instead of leaving it to charge on the floor. I fumbled for it and splashed out the door.

First call was to the apartment manager. (For future clarification, I will denote them as Manager #1 who doesn't live in the complex and Manager #2 who does.) I got Manager #2's wife, who I hadn't met before, and babbled something along the lines of "My apartment is completely fucking FLOODED!" at her. She said she'd check and call me back. Second call was to my roommate Heather, who was on her way back from work. She'd also already been having a crappy night and HAD been planning to stay at home and study for tomorrow's midterm using her computer. As I was freaking out in the hall, I heard a "Jennifer?" That was Manager #2's wife, descending from the apartment above us.

As we soon found out, the people above us had moved out, and cleaners had been hired to go over the place. They'd turned off the water to do some cleaning, but had apparently left a faucet or two on when the water had been turned on. Their floors were similarly bad, and the apartment next to ours below (the residents were out for the summer) had some floody mess, but mine had taken the major damage. The managers were glad that we came home, because if we'd been gone nobody would have known about the damage and after days of it there would have been mold issues, plus "the entire side of the complex that had to deal with termites would then have had to deal with the water." Suddenly I started feeling resentful of my manager at the CC for nitpicking so I got home even later than usual.

Heather arrived soon after that and we all went in. Her cats had been stranded in the drier parts of the apartment. Penny was mewling horribly from Heather's computer chair, and Jasmine had been similarly stranded on my bed. Both were extremely well-behaved when being put into cat carriers, so you knew they were pretty traumatized about the whole thing.

The living room, as previously mentioned, hadn't fared too badly. Heather's floor was mostly flooded, but the water hadn't gotten to her computer or bed. Her new entertainment system, on the other hand, had a nice leak dripping right on top of it. But my room had the most damage of all. (And suddenly I wanted to kick my previous roommate for talking me into taking her room next to the bathroom when she left.)

Not only was almost my entire floor flooded and my pile of new books to read outright drowned, not only were a good chunk of my clothes soaked, my bed was a total loss. A hole had opened up in the plaster right above my bed. Well, obviously I wasn't going to be sleeping there tonight.

My third phone call was to my friend Jess. "Uh, I wouldn't normally be calling at this hour, but..." She graciously agreed to come over and do some rescue. Heather wasn't as lucky, since her boyfriend and his dad were in Oregon until Tuesday, not to mention the whole midterm thing.

Managers #1 and 2 showed up with flashlights, trash bags, cameras, and helpful offers of assistance, not to mention a offer to reimburse Heather for a hotel room for the night. They also called some 24-hour emergency cleaning service to come in and suck out the water with large vacuums, and turned off the water and electricity. We attempted for several hours to pack up whatever could be packed up.

There's a book I read once, Scruples 2, where the characters are discussing opening a clothing catalog business. The lone guy character, to prove a point, asks his female cohorts to do a five minute fire drill exercise- if you had five minutes to pack your goods and run, what would you pack? The chicks in question mostly thought long and hard before selecting their items. The point he was trying to make was that people would pack their favorite items and the ones that were the most versatile/classic/went with anything. I always thought reading that that if I had an actual fire drill, I'd probably just grab as much stuff as I could in five minutes, period. Later on I told Dave on a day when there was a fire across the street from my apartment and I had to go to work, that if it spread over here to grab my laptop and the cats and run.

What would you pack in five minutes for an emergency?

Hell, I didn't know. I pretty much did grab clothes willy-nilly. "Okay, my razor's ruined, so gotta pack stuff with sleeves. Work clothes. Shirt, shirt, shirt. Did I grab any bottoms that went with those shirts? I can't even remember which shirts I grabbed now. Can't put them down to check or else they'll get wet too. Crap. I'm just going to grab stuff. Should I grab that? Arghhhhhhhh."

There were some happy moments, like finding out that all the food that was in bags/boxes on the floor was completely dry. Hey, I didn't waste the food this time! And finding that all of my novel notes were completely fine. Though some of my craft stuff at least is going to be a complete loss. Two out of three tarot decks are fine, but three out of four tarot books are completely wasted. I find myself being nostalgic for stuff like my now-drowned Kleenex box.

The emergency guys showed up with a large truck that they backed up to the complex. They went into my room and said, "Wow, this is a disaster." As Jess put it, "Wait a minute. These are the guys who come in to clean up stuff like this on a regular basis, and they thought YOUR room was a disaster?" I was all, "That's my life for you." I found out that I'd better grab everything I could in case my entire ceiling fell through.

One way or another they wanted me to clean out everything in the apartment, but that just wasn't going to happen in the wee hours of the morning. And another depressing thing: "Can we just throw out your bed right now?" I didn't think it was possible for MORE water to splash across my carpet, but when they tried to take the bed out... Oh, the irony that after all the times that Dave nagged me to get a new bed, I'll have to get one and he won't be around to use it.

It's quite the experience to suddenly have a bunch of people wandering around through every aspect of your house, not to mention knowing that they're going to empty it. At around five or six a.m., I started thinking things like, "Oh, crap, they're so going to find uh, certain personal girly items that were hidden under the bed, and I forgot about that." Not to mention having everyone find out just how many stuffed animals I actually own. Yes, I'm juvenile. Heather was all, "If I'd have known this was going to happen, I'd have cleaned!"

Current notice on the legal situation:

(a) Nope, we have no renters' insurance. Who's surprised to hear that? Oh well, if the worst I lost was the bed (which I originally got for free from previous ex), I'll be doing pretty well. At least none of my electronics got hurt.

(b) It seems likely that the apartment management may sue given the horrendous damage, but that will be up to the owner of the building (who was not called in the middle of the night because his mother is dying of cancer and lives with him).

(c) Current estimates are that it might take a few days to clean out and dry the apartment enough so we can get stuff out of it, but we'll have to live somewhere else for like a month while it gets repaired.

(d) Where might we live for that month? Why, the apartment above us that started all the trouble in the first place, since it's open and probably won't be nearly as shredded as our place. (This makes me kind of worried given the ceiling/floor damage, but we'll see.)

I have no idea where most of my stuff is, or what will happen to the stuff that I couldn't carry away in Jess's car at three in the morning. That's nervewracking. I fear all my books will just end up left out in the hallway or something. I have no idea when I'll ever be online consistently again (and god, suddenly I miss Kingdom of Loathing. Why am I thinking about Orcish frat boys at a time like this? Though hey, I'll have lots of adventures saved up!), or when this crap will be settled enough for me to go back to work. And to think I was happy that I wasn't going to have to move this year. Now I'll have to move twice, and I have no idea how I'm going to move stuff upstairs with no elevator to boot. Or how I'm going to get a new bed. At least Jess has plenty of boxes and doesn't mind me crashing here.

I still haven't called my mom yet as of this writing (cell is iffy here). Not looking forward to it.

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