04 December 2007

After The Deluge

Answer: Holy fucking shit. Question: What are three words that describe the
second rainiest day in Seattle history?


Here's a shocker: it rained in Seattle yesterday. That's not the big news. The big news is that it was the second rainiest day in Seattle history. A very angry, very soggy god sent a deluge which wiped out our evil and iniquitous storm drain system, turning manholes into geysers, city streets into raging rivers, and severely dampening my mother-in-law in her basement apartment. (I can't imagine what my mother-in-law Lucy, who is as sweet as sugar candy, could've done to offend the rain god. As she described it over a cup of coffee early this morning, "I was baptized by Seattle yesterday".)

So to recap - I got a call from Aaron yesterday morning telling me that Lucy woke him up to tell him that something was wrong with her refrigerator. He went downstairs to find water coming from underneath it. I told him to handle it with towels for the time being and I would be right home. By the time I got home, there was no mistaking this for what it was: a flood and not a simple refrigerator malfunction. There was standing water in the apartment and more coming from underneath the baseboard on the north wall. Lucy and Aaron were working like champs to keep it at bay. Wise and experienced homeowner that I am, I saw fit to call our contractor John and get some advice. I tried to keep the hysterical shriek in my voice to a minimum as I explained the situation to him. (Hysterical shriek: think triple-high C on the shriekiest stop of the famous Wanamaker Grand Court Organ.) He swung by post-haste and he, I and Aaron worked to move dirt and dig channels in the driveway to direct water away from my north wall. (You should see my driveway now. It's criss-crossed with a drainage network that would make the Dutch fight the Venicians for my honor. To quote Aaron, "It looks like war.") Speaking of which, Aaron and Lucy fought like Spartans against the water yesterday, Lucy mopping and wringing to beat the band and Aaron bailing with a strength and determination that might have saved the Titanic.

Our brilliant network of canals worked eventually, although the downpour overwhelmed it at the beginning. John and I surmised that there was nowhere to send the water except into my neighbor Shawn's yard which was already underwater. After inviting Shawn to take a look at the situation, he offered to bring over his rotohammer and blow a few holes through the low concrete wall that separates our properties and let the water drain over on his side. John took me aside and whispered, "Holy cow. Now that's neighborly!" I'm glad our drainage channels worked and that Shawn didn't drill holes in the wall because the water in his yard made it all the way to his front door sill. I don't know if it made it into his living room or not.

Speaking of neighborly, John L. Scott multi-award winning real estate agent Gloria Lee drove all over hell and gone to track down a submersible pump for us yesterday. She finally got one from Hertz. She has firmly established how much she rules, and everyone on earth should buy a house from her.
Aaron was all too glad to hand over the bailing work to the pump, as hucking bucketloads of water out of a basement doorwell for hours on end is a Sisyphean task at best. Elizabeth was a rescuing angel for us as well, and brought us the three essentials of flood survival: homemade Ethiopian food, my cell phone charger (t'was dead during during the storm - not good), and her carpet cleaner.

So today I will be continuing the cleanup work that was begun yesterday, wet-vacuuming the carpet in the downstairs apartment and generally douching the rest of the basement before mold sets in. I have COIT services coming over on Thursday to give the place the Hurricane Katrina cleanup treatment. Hopefully we won't be growing mold by then. Today I'll also have to throw myself upon the mercy of the Boeing Employees Credit Union and beg them subsidize new roofing, siding, and at least one French drain for this splendid-yet-soggy house that I have amassed precious little equity in so far. Wish me luck.

Cheers, -Thaddeus