28 July 2008

Go 'way – Noah don't live here no mo'

bweeep -- bweeep -- bweeep, thunk! Darn snarg alarm dadd burn flack shimpus (scratch scratch) umpf! argh! coffee. smell that coffee. need it!

pad-pad-pad-pad-pad-squish-splish … splash

Splash? Oooooo. Aaah! SPLASH!


“Huh? Wha? DAMN!!”


“Where’s it coming from?!?”

“Under the sink. I think it’s coming from under the sink. Yes. Yes. It’s spraying out of the water filter tank. There … I got the valve off.”

I got my first deep breath and let it out with a rattly whistle as my brain adjusted to my feet being submerged in an inch of water, in our kitchen; and, the image of my heroic Patricia on her hands and knees in the swirling flood. She’d found the valve under the sink and closed it. Emergency over. I figured this was as bad as it was going to get. All we needed to do was mop up a little. Splash-splash. Well, maybe a little more than a mop. Maybe a lot more than “a little.”

I collected myself and hot footed it into the garage to dig the antique Craftsman Wet ‘n Dry shop-vac out from its parking spot, all the way in the back of the garage, under several thrown down camping trip piles and just about anything else we could have thrown around and on top of it over the years. Not too much call for a shop-vac when you don’t do any shop stuff anymore.

In minutes I had it inside, plugged in and sucking water.

“Ohhhhhhh, noooooo, it’s on my new floor,” cried Pat as she surveyed the rivulets and joint discoloration already showing up between every board of the new bamboo floor. As soon as I had the water level down to something like a 1/16th of an inch in the kitchen, I moved onto the hardwood. What can you do? The water is underneath and between the boards. I guess just suck on them anyway.

“Ohhhhhh, noooooo, it’s all into the bathroom. The carpet is ruined!” Geez, this was turning out to be a little bigger splish-splash than I’d first thought. “And it’s running off of the entry-way tile and into the living room!”

I need a bigger shop-vac.

But “The Little Vac That Could” just kept howling along, pulling water from under the baseboards, from under the floor boards, from cracks in the tile, never quitting. I was amazed. Good ol’ Craftsman. I dumped it out twice and more kept coming up.

“Look at this,” called out my bride, from the kitchen. I put down the vac hose and looked around the corner into the kitchen. There was Pat, jabbing her toe into one of the floor tiles. Every time she jabbed, a little water spout squirted out from between the grout. Oh, great.

“Maybe we better call the insurance company,” she tendered.

I agreed, “Yeah, because I could suck on this floor with this thing for a week and it wouldn't all come up.”

On the phone, the insurance company was a well oiled machine of efficiency, getting all of the pertinent information, telling us how sorry they were for our “water incursion” and assuring us that everything would be all right. They asked if we would like them to put us in touch with a company that specialized in “water incursion remediation.”

“No,” I said, “I just want somebody who can suck up all this effin water.”

“Huh?” said the insurance hot line helper.

“He means, yes, he’d be happy for you to help us out and put us through to a flood damage contractor,” said Pat, giving me one of THOSE looks.

Hey, what’s wrong with a little levity in the midst of The Great Flood?

Several arrangement phone calls and about 2 hours was all it took for The A-Team to arrive at our door. Three guys and a girl and a big truck full of big machines. This looked like the reasonable way to take care of a flood, if you ask me. I was tired of ol’ Mr. Craftsman screaming in my ears.

As the Team fanned out through the house, probing floors, walls, and probably a dog or two with funny looking beeping instruments, “Col. Hannibal” the Team Leader started the paperwork with me. Pages and pages of that paper stuff. More places to initial than a Hertz rental form when you decline all the coverages. But I was pretty sure that these folks had done this before. Man, they had the Tools and the Machines, whoo whoo!

Yet, there was one kind of ominous note to all of the recitation of form clauses and legalese spewed by the Colonel – he said, “It will be kind of loud and uncomfortable for three days or so.”

Pah! Who does this kid think he is? He doesn't know from noise and discomfort. Why, when I was in Kuwait with the CIA, right when all the oil wells were going off …

The first “turbo fan” was cranked up by one of the Team minions. Wow, that little ol’ thing can move some air! And, DAMN that little ol’ thing can make some noise!!

Whoa! The Team was coming through the front door with many “turbo fans” and other machines that looked like sawed off refrigerators. I'd only figured they’d be showing me a really professional performance -- not setting up an Incursion Remediator’s Trade Show. Where do they think they’re going to come up with a nuclear power station to run all this stuff?

One by one, the mighty machines wound themselves up in rpm’s and gave their full voice to the ever increasing cacophony.

“What?” I asked without turning my head. Surely anyone talking that loudly must be trying to get my attention. Nope. With all of the machines running, each and every member of The Team switched to “I can’t hear you” mode and they shouted everything – mostly to each other. Imagine the noise level, in your house, so loud that people are shouting directly into each other’s faces, just to be heard and understood. Pretty loud.

But, didn’t the Colonel say something about “uncomfortable?” Whatever did that mean?

I knew the answer about 20 minutes after the industrial-sized dehumidifiers all cranked up (those “sawed off refrigerators.”) I suspect that these big dehumidifiers work the same as the little ones made for homes. The home units actually are “little refrigerators” that make metal coils very cold so that air moisture condenses onto them and then drips down into collection pans. Except these beasts that the Team was using weren’t little by anybody’s standard. Physics lesson: To make something cold, you have to remove heat from it. Once you remove the heat, it has to go somewhere. In the case at hand, the monster machines were spewing all of that heat out into the rooms. A little cool on one side … blazing hot on the other. Meh. Loud and hot. I hate loud and hot. Why did they have to make it loud and hot?

“Hannibal” told us that “sometimes insurance companies will pay to put you up in a hotel while all this is going on … I’m not saying yours will, I’m just saying that some do … but wait for your insurance adjuster to call you and you’ll have to work it out with him.” Yeah, right.

Hours later, I got a phone call at work, telling me that an adjuster had been assigned to our claim and that, “you should be hearing from him sometime within the next 24 hours … maybe even sooner.” Yeah, right. When pigs fly and when I start liking pea soup.

So, here I sit. The machines are still making NOISE (Huh? Whad ya say?), the air is dryer than a popcorn fart and the bamboo floor looks like good surfing waters do when viewed from about 5,000 feet up in the air. Waves, man. Lots of waves.

Maybe this calls for a little adult beverage. I’ll get back to you.

1 comment:

  1. The girls thought those turbo fans were the coolest thing in the world. They discovered if they held things in front of them and let go, those same objects would fly back with immense speed and smack the wall. Good times.

    You're always welcome here. Our flood is dried, just not fixed. But at least its cool and quiet (ok, the quiet part is a lie).