Friday, October 18, 2013

Drip Drying

We are lucky. Most of our apartment is fine: we have water, power, heat, a roof, walls. Our living room and kitchen look pretty normal. All the mess is in the bedroom, where the emergency-services guys built a dust-containing, room-within-a-room using sheets of thick plastic, lots of tape, and expandable metal poles that that connect to our ceiling. Inside, along with the water-damaged area, there dwells a monster — a huge dehumidifier that is drying out the ceiling and wall. It roars like a jet engine, so it felt like we were trying to sleep on a plane last night. Every few minutes it pumps water into a hose that drains into our bathroom sink, and that sounds oddly like a motorbike. So if you imagine our bedroom as a jet cabin with a motorbike track, and you've captured it. As of today, there's also a large plastic chute that inflates and deflates loudly every now and then. It makes me jump since it sounds like a cat knocking over something heavy and valuable.

Possum says this chair belongs in the bedroom.

We were told that the dehumidifier would go away this morning, so we left it run all night to finish its job. But that was wishful thinking. It will be with us for at least a few more days, with guys coming to check it and do tests early each morning. We're turning it off tonight; we need to sleep.

We've been told that we shouldn't expect to be back to normal for about a month. (Knowing how these things go, I'm figuring it will be two months, so maybe in time for Christmas.) We need to wait until our building manager receives, renegotiates, and agrees to an insurance settlement, and gets the check. Then he will begin patching, plaster, and paint (the whole ceiling, because it's blue). We are going to try to keep the plastic room assembled for the plastering and sanding, but I'm not sure we'll be able to put up with climbing in and out of it whenever we need our closet. I also keep knocking over poles when I walk by.

The cats are curious, interested, and not entirely happy. Wendy thinks She Is Going to Die from the noise at any moment, all the time. She misses meals and only comes out when my husband is around. She hides under the bed, where we can reach in and pet her. She's cornered there but for some reason, she purrs when we stroke her. I actually get most of my petting time with her as she fears for her life.

Toffee hates the noisy dehumidifier, too. I found him hiding in a corner of the bathroom. He refused to eat, and when I pick him up and held him, he was trembling. I reasoned with him, and then Harris came in to visit. Harris is calm about noise and weirdness. He likes workmen; he sniffs their shoes, curls around their legs, and watches them work. He and Possum hide under the sofa during the noisy work, and they are afraid of sheets of plastic. But after they emerged to inspect the job, they have been going about their business, acting cool and brave.

After Harris visited him, Toffee settled down and joined them in the other room. I'm surprised he is so nervous. But I also think he's the one who tried to get into the plastic room late last night.

Possum follows me around, complaining. When the humidifier is at its noisiest, he meows loudly over the racket. He likes a tranquil environment as he keeps saying. I tell him I do, too. (We got a new writing assignment this week: scripts for recorded tour for a quilt show. He was skeptical that we'd have anything to say about quilts beyond how great they are for naps, but I persuaded him that there are visual and historic aspects worth considering. That will keep us busy in December, along with all the other things that keep us busy every December. And, no, we are not putting our payment towards a bicycle rickshaw. Probably not, anyway.)

The workman and I just took everything out of the long crawlspace below our bedroom ceiling, which is packed to the gills with stuff, to check for water damage. I'm not sure why we didn't do this on Tuesday — perhaps because it was too dreadful to contemplate. Today I was ready. Most of the boxes and bags contain Christmas ornaments, lights, wrapping paper, and bows, but we store bedding, luggage, and other stuff there, too. Miraculously, everything was dry. Water came down along both sides of the crawlspace but everything within was safe.

As I keep telling myself, we are so lucky. I think about what survivors of storms, tornados, floods, and fires go through, and I realize I have no problems at all.

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