Posted by: roamingolivia | September 8, 2010

The great flood (I hope) of 2010

I very much hope this is the great flood of this decade. This two-year period. Or indeed my whole life. I don’t really like floods.

Tonight, I got home, and I thought it was lightninging there was lightning, but I didn’t pay much notice. I made myself delicious pasta, and got back to work on a big report I am doing. The storm moved in – I could no longer blame the flashes of light on anything else – and I got excited. I love storms. Love them. I am from Texas, where there are real storms, with all kinds of crazy things. Hail. Lots of rain. Flash floods. Whirling winds that carry people and cars away (tornados). Dangerous stuff. I like it, mostly because I don’t believe it will do anything to me. Plus, the only time I am in West Texas anymore is when I’m visiting my grandmother, and she has a basement (= immunity from tornados).

Anyway. I love storms, and my apartment building has a tile or metal or metal tile roof. So when it started hailing, I got excited. It was so loud. I could hear it over the water running for washing dishes. I had already started making chamomile tea, and the whole experience would be lovely and cozy.

The hail kept coming, so I picked up my laptop and headed into my room, where I was preparing to work in bed.

My room had water all over it. There is a big flurry of thoughts that happen when you step into a puddle in socks, particularly if that puddle is your bedroom. “Ew” is the first one (I hate wet socks). Then: “Sh*t I left the window open.” I glanced at the window. No. Then: “Where is the water coming from? I live in the attic.” Glancing up at all possible orifices of the room. There aren’t many – it’s in an attic. Nothing. Then: “Is it okay to turn on the light? Am I going to get electrocuted? Where is the water coming from? Are any cables in the water? Put down the laptop.” And again, “Ew. Take off your socks.”

At that point, I was degenerating into the “What do I do about this?” line of thought. Mostly, I wanted to shut the door to the room, block it up with towels, and wait until it dried. It’s amazing how ill-prepared my brain was for this task, although I had already taken a towel to block of the water’s escape into the living room. A pile of dirty laundry was doing the same for the bathroom.

Then I decided I should call my boss, who can call my landlord, who probably doesn’t speak English. I called my coworker and bounced ideas off him. “Do you have towels?” he asked. “Three,” I said. He laughed and noted I was going to have wring them out. I didn’t really want to do that. He remidned me that wood floors and 2 cm of water don’t go well together. I called my boss, and texted him when he didn’t answer, and took all my towels (except one – need to shower tomorrow) to start mopping. It was less water than I thought. And I found out that my floor is not that flat, so it was all collecting in the corner where the towels and dirty laundry were.

Dirt marks on the floor indicated the water was literally coming from the wall. The wall with the little square in this picture (when my room was much cleaner and less cluttered – i.e., when I moved in):

That little square opens up somehow to the outside world. I try to avoid looking in there because I often hear birds in there. I could hear water pouring in, though, and so I decided to take the risk (my sister later mused, via Gchat: “well there cant be both water and birds”, but I don’t know if that is true). It isn’t flooded anymore, but I guess I can see how it might have happened.

My boss called back, asking where the water is coming from. “The walls, I think”, I answered. He laughed. But it is true. We agreed I could borrow an Italian colleague to discuss this issue with my landlord tomorrow.

All the rest of my sheets are now forming the main barrier between me and the next great flood of 2010.



  1. I am sorry to hear of your flooding problems. It could be worse, think of Pakistan, India, Honduras, Guatemala, etc.

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