Monday, December 29, 2008

water water everywhere

Last Monday, the night I discovered the rain shower in my home, I was on my originally on my way to meet up with my friend Teresa for dinner and to exchange presents. Obviously, my plans changed.

That same night after the Serve Pro guys and my fabulous, "clean up crew" friends left. Teresa looked at me and said, "I still have your presents in the car." Why not? At that point there wasn't much to be done except wait for things to dry out.

I opened one package to find a beautiful piece of blue art glass. Teresa had picked up over the summer at an art fair. My first reaction was, "It's beautiful. It looks like a little splash." Then I began to giggle. "It's so appropriate that you gave it to me tonight!"

We both spent the next several minutes having a good laugh over the gift.

My issues with water didn't stop last Monday night. Tuesday, I walked into the kitchen to find the dishwasher leaking out onto the floor. Then over the weekend, while working in the shop in Yellow Springs, the roof began to leak.
Neither compares to Monday's ordeal, but I just found it funny. I'm going to visit a friend over New Year's. We'll see if my water woes follow me there.

It comes in 3's

My previous post was about a bit of bad luck bestowed upon me a week ago today. Actually, it feels like it all happened just last night. Nevertheless, when my circle of friends found out what happened, they all replied "That's it. You're the third."

Our group has a history of having bad/weird things happening to us in groups of three. For example a few years ago, we had what we called "the worst week ever." One of our close friends lost her battle with cancer. (That also happened on a Monday as I recall.) At the same time, another friend, Paula, was admitted to the hospital with a collapsed lung with later revealed itself to be associated an undiagnosed case of rare form of leukemia. (She's doing well health-wise, in case you are wondering.) Meanwhile our buddy, John had a skiing accident that left him with cracked ribs. Admittedly his was the least traumatic, but still not good regardless.

This year John was not so fortunate. After eleven years of service, his employer laid him off just five days before Christmas. That same day the strangest event happened to my friend Paula. She came home from work Friday night to situation straight out of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. She entered her apartment to find to a homeless woman sleeping in her bed! Evidently, a wonky door lock failed and the woman just wandered in and made herself to home. She sat in Paula's rocker, slept in her bed, and even helped herself to some oatmeal with chocolate chips and washed it all down with a Corona. The woman was disoriented and wearing a paper bracelet, like the ones you get in a hospital. She didn't take anything aside from the food. It appeared that all she wanted was a place to eat and sleep.

So my little black rain cloud (aka burst water pipes) was the third. Teresa, the fourth friend in our circle is safe. We've all had a good laugh over our coincidental misfortune. John's is scary, Paula's was scary and weird, and mine was messy.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Craziness

I’ve been a bad, BAD blogger these days. That’s simply because the holidays have made life very busy. In recent years I have found myself dreading Christmas. I’m beginning to feel more and more like Charlie Brown, and actually being depressed by Christmas, not really knowing why. This year I cringed at the site of the Christmas tree display at Home Depot. Granted it was the middle of October, which seems way too early, but that’s another issue altogether. At first I was surprised at my own reaction toward the holiday season then it occurred to me that perhaps I dread Christmas so much because historically, bad things happen to me right before the holidays.

When I was about ten or eleven, my pony became very ill and nearly died. I spent the week before Christmas thinking we’d have to have her put down. Many years later when I was home from college, I went up to the local mall to do some last minute Christmas shopping. On my way home, I was in a car accident. While sitting in stopped traffic, I noticed the car behind me traveling way too fast. I knew I was about to be rear-ended and there was nothing I could do about it. I was driving my mother’s car at the time, and although it was from the rear, I was hit with enough force that I was pushed into the car in front of me, rendering my car un-drivable.

After moving to Kentucky travel often became the issue. Several times I was caught in Christmas Eve gridlock in Cincinnati. A few years ago, a strong winter storm almost canceled my travel plans entirely. Last year, my car broke down two days before Christmas, and there was no way to have it repaired in time. I chose to drive my second vehicle, a 1973 VW Super beetle, which at the time had no heat. All I can say is that it was a long, cold drive back home.

None of these events are earth shattering; nevertheless it seems that there is always some last minute emergency change of plans that causes additional stress to an already busy time of year. This year was no exception.

Monday evening I came home from work to the sound of running water. Unfortunately the running water was coming from the ceiling in my office. My first thought was that my toilet had overflowed, but I soon discovered that in fact I had a frozen pipe burst in my second floor bathroom. Water was raining in my office on the first floor, and my basement had flooded with four to six inches of water.

My neighbor helped me shut off the water from the street, and after a few panicked phone calls, my friends along with my plumber and a restoration service all arrived offering to help. Apparently, my verbal skills had diminished to “Flood, Help, and Shopvac.”
My kitchen became triage area for books, papers, photos and artwork. God love my friends. They know my priorities. Immediately, they grabbed my soaking photographs, strung up clotheslines, and hung each print up to dry. It was like walking into an old darkroom. Books were sorted by “wetness” and dried appropriately. Artwork was removed from the framing in order to dry out, while soggy paper and cardboard backing was discarded. Meanwhile, the carpet in the office was pulled up, and the water soaked insulation was removed from the attic, and pumps began removing the water from the basement.

Things were not as bad as they first seemed. The pipe burst in an attic space and caused no other damage to the upstairs. Many of the items in my office were salvageable. The water did not reach my computers, or photographic equipment. I tackled the basement the next day. Many of the things down there were protected by being up on shelves or in plastic tubs. The ceiling wills most likely need replaced but I’m not too worried about it, since that space is mainly used as an art studio. Everything is drying out right now and the insurance adjuster will be come on Wednesday.

All and all I’m quite thankful. Thankful to everyone that came to my rescue. Thankful that there wasn’t any more damage. Thankful that it was only water and not anything worse. Thankful that it happened when it did. Two days later I would have been away visiting family in Ohio for several days. It could’ve been so much worse.

So my Christmas plans were thrown into chaos again, as the clean-up and dry-out process began. I spent the next 36 hours trying to get things cleaned up enough that I could leave the house for a few days, and once again I found myself scrambling at the last minute to gather everything I needed to visit my family. Those last minute gifts I needed to pick up, simply didn’t happen, and luckily everyone understood. It all turned out okay in the end. I made it home to my parents and had a lovely holiday, but I think next year I’m locking myself in my home around the 23rd of December, just in case.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Holiday Classic

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" airs on MONDAY, DECEMBER 8 and TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.