Three weeks ago the kids and I came home to a massive flood. An upstairs hot water knob ejected from its fixture. It’s amazing how much water, and at what intense pressure, can emit from a minute hole.
Four hours drenched a lot.
So we entered a Bacchanal of steam and weepy ceilings and pounding sounds — if a fountain was Pachelbel, this was Meat Beat Manifesto — and saturated carpet. Into the subfloor the water went, lifting tile and pine planks like psoriasis scales. Down the staircase, between risers, directly onto the bigass iMac: a commercial for a Cupertino-based risk management firm if I ever saw one.
We’re fine. Pets alive and crazy per usual. Laptop intact in its overpriced sexy casing. Books dry, save for my Paris Review collection, which Plimpton bestowed upon me and other NYU writing brats in 1989.
Every wall, floor, ceiling, sodden. Which required lancing, which yielded asbestos, necessitating hazmat-style debridement.
Right now my condo’s full of studs. I’m not talking smart dudes in Levis, flight suits, or Church’s English shoes. There’s an armature of plywood basically everywhere. All our possessions were inventoried, boxed, and sent to a fireproof, climate-controlled warehouse in Otay Mesa.
This means a complete remodel of all surfaces and a new bed for me (tabula rasa time, yippee) and a new computer and virgin eyeliner to replace my waterlogged cosmetics.
So it rained inside and the ceiling almost fell and it was an adventure.
One of the best teaching experiences ever, in a parenting context.
The kids saw that you can have a mess, a surprise disaster, and bop through it.
That these things are far from the end of the world.
That good friends show up, and are present, even get scalded. That they are there.
That we can’t thank Papa enough for being a hawk instead of a hippie like Grandma, and for his officer sojourn which led to our USAA membership.
That we embrace portability: photographs, laptop, Missoni bag in protective sack, bowls I painted when the twins were just hCG-spinning cellular dust devils, a messy Oxford Shakespeare.
That slogging across a swampy living room hoisting said Missoni bag, jeans wet with brown water, makes you glad the closet door was shut.
That water is better than fire, and first-rate insurance trumps both.