Friday I left work early to have the gray removed from my hair. I didn’t realize I was really working on having my hair blend in with water-damage (rust), but there you have it – an instant of Mitter planning ahead.
Speaking of “ahead”, I am getting ahead of the story here, aren’t I? So, Friday – I leave work early, get the gray removed, and then meet Dr. Whiney and one of his business associates for happy hour drinks. After Happy Hour we went back to his place where I badgered him into taking photos of me (which still have not appeared in my “in-box” a*hem!) .. while we sat outside and watched the lightening strike ALL AROUND US ON THE LAKE.
Finally, he must have sensed my discomfort (perhaps it was the twitch after every strike), because he allowed us to move the party-of-three indoors. It was about that time the rain arrived. We watched the rain, watched the TV, talked, and then he took a nap (for a half an hour). When he awoke from his respite at 9:00 pm, the rain had quit, and I headed home and to bed myself (because I lead that type of exciting go-go-go lifestyle).
On my way to bed I walked into a minor lake in my guest bedroom. What? You don’t have one of those in YOUR guest room? Well, neither did I, until then. I wasn’t sure where the water came from – and frankly, I was tired enough, I didn’t really care. That is not entirely true. I cared enough to sop it up with bath towels and peak in the attic. No wet spots up there – so I went to bed.
Saturday morning arrived and I planned get busy on my housework - as I had 8 guests arriving today (Sunday) ... and didn't want to put EVERYTHING off to the last minute. Plus, I was going out to Ferrington Village to listen to Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish, Ray in Reverse, and The Watermelon King, talk about his latest book, "Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician”. It was a great hour with an author and encouraged me greatly. (I'm sure there's a post on this event just waiting for me to sit down and write it.)
After leaving (it was 30 miles away) I headed back to Raleigh - and stopped to buy some milk and cheese. I found the struggle to ONLY buy what was on my list a funny/interesting dialogue - and I sat down to write a friend about it, which turned into another blog entry – and took far longer than I anticipated. (so what’s new?)
That's about the time the thunder and lightening and rain started. I was slightly irritated - because I knew I really needed to be getting on the housework and it is difficult to clean without sunlight (I think). Now I'd managed to procrastinate long enough that I was tired AND the weather wasn’t cooperating with my intentions. But trying to be ever optimistic, I thought to myself, “Now maybe I can figure out where the water is coming from that was on the floor last night." I walked into the guest bedroom to find copious amounts of water seeping out of the ceiling. I lowered the ladder to the attic back down and scrambled into the hot, sweltering space - and discovered the HOLE up under the eves.
The HOLE that I could see DAYLIGHT through.
The HOLE that was allowing the cloudburst of rain to gush through my BRAND NEW 4 MONTH OLD ROOF and down into my PLASTER CEILING... oh yeah, and run over the ELECTRICAL WIRING for the bedroom light and ceiling fan TOO!
I was so happy about this discovery I had a pity party for one as I drug my igloo six-pack ice chest under the eves to catch the water.
Then I scurried down to the guest room - and placed towels on the floor to mop up the water - THEN I went to the kitchen and got 3 STOCK PANS to catch the STILL DRIPPING water easing out of the crack in my ceiling. (Next I might have started to sob piteously and post a few "poor me" comments on an internet community I participate in). Then I went to get plastic bags and headed back into the attic to see why the water was still dripping OUT OF THE CEILING when I was catching it all with the ice-chest in the attic. Hmmm - seems the water was falling faster than I realized - and the ice-chest was almost full. So while I continued my "WOE-IS-ME" internal song, I hauled the small ice-chest down the LADDER and placed the FULL SIZE camping for a week ice-chest up under the eves. Some helpful people from that web site suggested I might want to go OUTSIDE IN THE LIGHTENING AND RAIN AND LOOK AT THE HOLE UP ON THE ROOF. I respectfully declined - because HELL-OH?!? there is LIGHTING OUT THERE - and a ladder? on a roof? in the rain? (Please cue the big sobbing gulps that were now the sound-track to my distress).
Instead, I headed down into the space that isn't a crawl space if you are 5'3" but is a hunch-back space if you are 5'8" - where the fuse box is - because it seemed to me electricity and water may not be the best of combinations. An even worse combination than me, lightening, a roof, and a ladder. Of course - you do realize the hunch-back space is also where the "Armed Armadillo, Pistol Toting Possum, Wire-Chewing Weasels" and the "Brown Bear Recluse Black-Moose-Widow Making Spiders" live (confirmed by the pest control people to be merely "mice and spiders" *assholes*). Armed with my red and white Wilson golfing umbrella, my policeman's nightstick flashlight, and a my 1982 Calloway #3 Fairway wood - I headed under the house to turn off the circuit breaker. After poking the intrepid #3 wood into the space to clear the WEBS OF STEEL AND DEATH, I opened up the breaker box. I guess maybe God though He didn't want to lay it on too thick, because the circuits were labeled, and I was able to turn off the right one the first time. Having successfully lessoned the chances of electrocution in my own home, I open another Peroni Beer - and filled in my online readership. I was doing very well - and not succumbing to the siren call of the All-Night Non-Stop-Pity Party until my friend CWEsq sent me a caring message.
Then it is possible I lost it. But he was very helpful - and immediately made up for his indiscretion by sending helpful hints (learned during Katrina) about rice and salt to soak up the moisture from the hardwood floors. He also mentioned how Armed Armidillo, Pistol-toting Possums, and Wire-Chewing Weasels might be attracted to said mixture - and how KITTY LITTER was also an option. (Maybe if it weren't 9:00 pm at night and I OWNED A CAT, in which case I think the Armed Armidillo, Pistol-toting Possums and Wire-Chewing Weasels would not be living under my house.)
So I went to the kitchen and got out Kosher Salt and Arborio rice (because it is less expensive than the Basmati and Jasmin rice I keep on hand) and spread it across the guest bedroom floor. Then I went to bed and listened to the calming, tranquil drip, drip, drip sound of water into metal pans which should be holding boiling pasta and not my plaster ceiling seasoned with insulation. Today I woke up and went to church. I must have looked slightly shell-shocked, because this very nice couple, who don't know me that well at all, asked, "Are you ok?" I'm not sure if it was the mute shake of my head, the lack of smile, tear-filling eyes, or quavering lip that gave it away ..... but SOMEHOW they guessed I WAS NOT OK. Now here's the cool God part. I already knew who I was going to approach at church to help me. It is this perfectly lovely contractor who has done some work for me in the past. But as we all know MY PLANS and GODS PLANS are continents apart. Instead, he brought this couple - WHO LIVED IN MY HOUSE BACK IN THE 70's to me. Without prompting they suggested they drive over after Big People's Church (TM) and check out the situation. So they did - (and said lots of nice things about the NON-LEAKING WATER-DAMAGED parts of the house) - and decided he could "easily" put a patch on that spot until Monday when I could get the roofing people here. AND SO HE DID!
Quick as a bunny rabbit they went home, changed clothes, returned with a "real" ladder (one that can actually REACH the top of my roof) - gently lifted the damaged section of shingles, inserted a piece of flashing - and then OFFERED TO REMOVE ALL THE TREE BRANCHES AND LEAVES from the other side of the house!! where my flat front porch roof collects debris at an astounding rate. I totally love them (and God) and will be cooking a scrumptious feast for them in the near future.