Yesterday started out well…
Got up early-ish, ate breakfast with Steve, started a load of bath towels washing, read and marked up Chapter Six of Carousel Sun, ate an early lunch because our first interview was scheduled at 2.
I was going to be interviewing Andy Caploe, who has narrated the Agent of Change Sequence — five books; the most Liaden books read by any one narrator. I called Studio C at 2, as arranged, and reached Neal (Neil?), who said that he had a text from Andy, who was running late due to traffic. Could I call back in five minutes?
I did that, again reaching Neal (whose spelling we will arbitrarily peg at Neal), who said that Andy had arrived and was getting a cup of coffee. I held on a couple minutes; Andy arrived on the other end of the line; apologizing for being late, but offering, by way explanation, that Neal had told him that Mercury was in retrograde.
Studio C then dropped the line and I had to call back. When I reached Andy again I remarked that Mercury didn’t seem to be in retrograde so much as it had crashed into the moon.
*cue laugh track*
So, the interview, which was, I think, proceeding well. We were, in fact, nearing the close of the hour when I heard Steve yell. I excused myself, ran down the hall, saw that the bathroom, where I thought the sound had come from was empty, so Steve clearly hadn’t fallen — no, wait. The bathroom floor, I saw then, was three inches deep in water.
Back to the phone, hurried explanation to my friends in Studio C, back to the bathroom, where I snatched open the dryer and threw all of my clean! dry! towels onto the floor in an attempt to soak up what I could. At this point, I thought that the washer was the culprit — not unreasonable; it’s an old washer — but that turned out not to be the case.
Water was gushing out from under the sink. I waded in, and tried to twist the cut-off, but it was frozen. Steve, who all this while was down in the basement, which, as it turns out, is the real scene of carnage, at this juncture shut off the electricity.
This was because the water, not content with flooding the bathroom, had seeped under the vinyl floor, found a beam and followed in to the basement ceiling, where it proceeded to execute a cloudburst. Water was pouring out of the ceiling, taking down fiberglass tiles, and spraying from the ceiling lights.
I grabbed my cellphone, went outside, where I could just about muster one bar o’power, and called the plumber.
I’ll stop for a moment to remind those reading this that the adventure under description has happened on a Friday afternoon. In Maine. Some Maine businesses don’t even operate on Fridays during the summer. Many close at noon, a leftover, I guess, from the old days, when folks moved outside of the city, to “camp,” for July and August.
I fully expected that I would get an answering machine at the plumber’s number, inviting me to call back on Monday.
Happily, Amanda answered the phone. I explained the problem as best I could with the cellphone fading in and out. Amanda dispatched Mike, who arrived in about 20 minutes, armed with the Biggest Wrench in the Universe(tm). He deployed this weapon against the cut-off under the sink, which never stood a chance.
While Mike was on his way, I called the insurance company. This was considerably more fraught. First I got Deb, who started to take my information, then the phone failed.
When I called back, the connection was even worse, and. . .
The young lady at the insurance company couldn’t find our account.
That was good for a few minutes of comedy.
Mike having arrived in the midst of this, and wielded the BWU to our advantage, came out onto the deck and asked us if we wanted someone to come out to deal with the flood and the insurance company and “all.”
We agreed that this, in fact, was exactly what we wanted.
And so in due time arrived Jason the Remediation Guy.
Now, what the basement cloudburst chiefly rained all over was the remains of the SRM Publisher business, including computers, phones, shredders, paper records, the remaining stock of chapbooks, etc., and once more for good measure, etc.
But, directly under that beam that the water followed to the basement? Sitting up on pallets, because in the spring, sometimes the floor in the basement gets damp? Were all of our authors’ copies.
I need to catalog the losses for the arrival of the insurance adjustor on “probably Monday,” but the basement is still too muddy to attempt that yet. I can’t even think about how many books we’ve lost.
I think that the books on the other side of the basement, in the bookshelves — our books, as opposed to our books that we wrote — I think those are dry. It’s hard to get over to that side of the basement, because that’s where Jason and I piled all the stuff that seemed salvageable yesterday, to get him the floor space he needed to set up his drying equipment.
The bathroom…most of the stuff that had been in the vanity under the sink was a loss. Soap — wonderful, handmade soaps that I sort of hoard against the bad times — all gone. Powders, and — well…Minor stuff, really, in the balance.
The vinyl floor in the bathroom is a dead loss. Jason’s removing it as I type. The vanity, the wallpaper, the walls — still question marks. Though there have been super-dryers working the room since yesterday afternoon, so we might have gotten to it before the water had a chance to really soak into the walls.
The towels are hanging over the deck rail — they’re still soaked, even after dripping all night.
The floor of the cat room in the basement, is damp. The cat boxes are up on pallets, so the guys can use the facilities. They’re really being very good about the whole situation, though they clearly don’t approve of floods as entertainment.
Mozart right now is sleeping in the co-pilot’s chair next to me. Scrabble is on top of the file cabinet. Socks is supervising Jason.
Steve has gone into town to take on groceries, pick up prescriptions and other usual Saturday chores.
. . .and that’s the weekend so far.
It can only go up from here, right?