Wednesday, October 16, 2013


(I stopped watching tonight's terrible game. I blame Farrell for not taking Peavy out in the 2nd. Call me crazy, but I stand firm. He killed our chance and needed to go.)

I woke up to a strange sound yesterday morning. I thought it was one of the cats Toffee eating something noisy and probably deadly. Then I realized it was water dripping, and then I realized it was in our clothes closet. I knew what to do: this happened to us a few times several years ago, when there was a rather large, somewhat dim, Italian tenant in the top-floor apartment who liked taking deep baths in his shallow tub. He'd stuff a sock into the overflow drain, fill the tub to the brim, and climb in. Then water would overflow across the floor, leak into the third-floor apartment below, soak that, and then pour into our bedroom closet. We had big plastering, painting, and dry-cleaning bills that year. (He did it three times before he was evicted. His girlfriend was even worse, but that's another story.)

So, as I said, I knew what to do: I jumped out of bed screaming. Then I collected myself and carefully rescued my husband's collection of silk ties. They're all one one hanger, and I managed to maneuver it neatly between the streams of water. Then I saw that water was also coming out of the bedroom ceiling, inconveniently in front of a very large oil painting. We managed to remove that safely, and then I put on my robe, grabbed keys, and went up to my neighbor's place. She is seldom home, so I got towels to soak up the water on her floor, which was coming into our place, and ran downstairs for trash bags, which I spread around to stop the flow of water to our place.

Then I ran up to the top floor. The neighbor up there had taken a quick shower and had no idea there was a leak. Then I ran downstairs, where my husband had piled all of our clothing from the closet onto the bed. I called our building manager and walked into the kitchen, where I found water all over the cooktop and counter.

The building manager was at another building, dealing with a water leak.

Toffee lives his Princess and the Pea fantasy on top of our clothing.

He eventually sent his plumbing team, who found and fixed the problem: a clogged main drain. He also sent a flood-damage squad but we didn't need them; they mainly deal with wall-to-wall carpeting and none of us has any. There actually wasn't that much water (just a shower's worth, not a tubful). It's just that when there's any water coming out of your ceiling, it looks like way-the-hell-too-much water.

Every time I ran out the door or opened it to a repairman, Harris ran into the hall, so one or more of us had to corner him and deposit him inside. I'm getting better at it, but he's also getting faster.

After things started to calm down, I remembered that, the first time the Italian guy flooded our place, it was also the day after we'd returned from a trip to Maine. That time, there was so much filthy water in the closet that we had to haul every bit of clothing to the cleaners and some of it was ruined. (The cleaners were sympathetic and gave us a bulk discount; the bill came to $520, I recall.)We spent the next several days wearing shorts and vacation clothes that were in the washing machine after we'd unpacked.

Like that time, we were lucky we'd come home just in time for the disaster: if we'd been away on Tuesday morning, we would have returned to a much more serious mess.

I figured we were much better off this time. We had lots of clean clothing. Nothing had been damaged except part of the bedroom ceiling, and I hoped it would dry without any marks. End of story.


Today the building manager came by with a Moisture Professional (MP). I don't know what else to call him. Insurance companies insist that homeowners follow certain procedures to prevent mold after water damage, to prevent future claims for mold. The MP had a nifty handheld device that detects and measures tiny amounts of water. He found water across our ceiling, so now our ceiling has to come down, and blowers and fans will come in and blast at the opening for days. I have experienced this before; we had mold in an outer wall once, when the building needed repointing in a bad way. So I know that a huge mess will be made, and that the repairs and cleaning will drag on forever. And our ceiling happens to be painted blue, so the whole thing will probably need repainting and that will be a pain. Because it was the last time we had it painted, we learned that it likes to crumble upon contact with rollers.

I predict that we will seldom see Wendy for the next month or so, although the boys will enjoy it. Possum, Harris, and Toffee love repairmen and are always underfoot.

The MP is coming back at 9 tomorrow with his demo crew to rip out our ancient plaster and horsehair ceiling. I will keep you up to date on our squalid living conditions over the next few days. Or weeks. Or months.


  1. Ugh, PB, sorry to hear about the mess - maybe this is a good time to househunt?

  2. Oh how awful does that all sound!! I would be a wreck! I sympathize with Wendy, and with you. Yuck. I hope all goes well and very quickly for you all/


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