February 3, 2011 by

When Disaster Knocks on the Door–Or Bursts thru the Ceiling


Categories: what I did today

The first part of today was pretty normal. The second half was nothing short of surreal and traumatic.

While working on a writing assignment this afternoon at the coffee shop, I got a panicked call from The Director. He said that water was pouring through the apartment ceiling and flooding his bedroom–obviously a busted water pipe. I raced home to find he had exaggerated nothing. It was a deluge–a literal waterfall coming from the corner of the ceiling. His bed was soaked through, and his carpet was literally floating on the water that had reached the floor, nearly a foot deep, and already flowing into the rest of the apartment. He and The Wild One had been frantically trying to save whatever they could out of the room. After two (!) desperate phone calls to the apartment manager, they finally got the water turned off.
It turns out it was a broken pipe from the sprinkler system in the apartment, put in for fire safety. Talk about irony.
It was hard to figure out what to do next. We kept sloshing through the soaked carpet trying to figure out what to rescue, while trying to figure out what to pack up to take out of the apartment with us–since obviously we weren’t going to be staying there tonight. The problem was, not only did they cut the water–they cut the power, too, to protect from electrocution. So we’re having to dig through closets with no light trying to figure out what to pack. We got what we needed, and with all our stuff now piled up on the kind-of-dry side of the apartment, we left as the carpet rescue guys were just arriving, to try and find somewhere else to stay for the night.
It was really bad–but it could have been much worse. Some furniture was damaged, some paperwork got soaked. Obviously The Director took the worst hit–his bed is destroyed, his guitar amp was sitting right under the waterfall when it happened, and his desk may be ruined as well. The apartment management is footing the bill for a hotel room while they clear the water, fix the pipe and replace the carpeting, but whatever personal losses we incurred we will have to absorb.
If you are a renter, get renter’s insurance. I have learned this the hard way.
As I said, it could have been much worse. Although it was a very traumatic experience, there were evidences of God’s intervention all over the place. The Wild One was supposed to have gone to art class today, but stayed home due to the bitter cold because she didn’t want to travel home on icy roads. She kept saying, “I knew I was supposed to stay home today.” Had she gone as scheduled, The Director would have been alone when this happened. Our most vital stuff was saved from the water. And this might sound silly, but yesterday I just happened to pick up a pair of new waterproof boots for the weather–which I’d been planning to do, but kept putting off and did it yesterday at the spur of the moment. The Wild One and The Director didn’t have waterproof boots, but I was wearing mine when this all happened. They helped me get into places I needed to go, quickly and without worry. The timing was amazing; it was like we were all ready for it–although you can never feel “ready” for something like that. Lots of things were in place that normally wouldn’t have been in place, which kept it from being more damaging than it was. So while our lives have been turned upside down in the past 10 hours, it’s apparent Someone was protecting us. We lost a few things, but ultimately we could have lost everything. So…I am very grateful.
So I’m sitting in a warm, dry hotel room that I don’t have to pay for, in a comfortable bed, writing this post on the free wi-fi, waiting to get new carpet in our apartment. Not the way I would have planned it, but still.

Musician. Composer. Recovering perfectionist. Minister-in-transition. Lover of puns. Hijacker of rock song references. Questioner of the status quo. I'm not really a rebel. Just a sincere Christ-follower with a thirst for significance that gets me into trouble. My quest has taken me over the fence of institutional Christianity. Here are some of my random thoughts along the way. Read along, join in the conversation. Just be nice.

2 Responses to When Disaster Knocks on the Door–Or Bursts thru the Ceiling

  1. Karenkool

    So sorry Jeff. AGh! That is not a delightful experience. I hope everything settles back in smoothly and that any damages to your belongings will somehow be replaced.

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