Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Home is where the swamp is

Boy, oh boy, do I have a story for you.

I guess the best way to tell this story is chronologically, just so you can experience it in exactly the same way I did.

I am supposed to be on my way to Orlando, Fla., right now for three days, attending the National Association of Home Builders' International Builders Show. I'll be honest - I wasn't really excited about this trip in the first place, but trust me, even if the events of the last two days were something I could have controlled, I would never have engineered something like this as a way of getting out of the IBS. (Yes, that's what they call the show - IBS. Apparently, no one realized how unfortunate this abbreviation was.

So I left work early yesterday afternoon so I could make my way to Silver Spring, Md., which is where my dog Edison goes for boarding when I'm out of town. (It's a little far away, but the difference is $16 a day vs. the $55 a day it would cost to board him in the city.) I gave myself plenty of time - more than two hours for what's normally a 30- to 45-minute drive. As I was walking home, it occurred to me that the weather could cause me some delays. I realized that when, walking down 18th Street, I slipped and went crashing to the ground. It was raining, but apparently it wasn't just rain. I was experiencing my first freezing rain. It was just starting, so most of the sidewalk was fine, but there were random, unexpected ice spots everywhere.

So I got home, grabbed Edison, hopped in the car and headed on my way. And landed directly in terrible traffic. Fast-forward two hours, about 6:30 p.m., when I called the boarding place to let them know that I wasn't going to be there by 7 (when they closed). No sympathy. No accommodation. Sorry, we leave at 7, and that's that. I finished the trip to Silver Spring anyway, and got there to find the place closed and no one there to help me. So I used the Google text on my phone to locate every pet sitter in D.C. I called all of them, and none of them could take Edison in a last-minute situation. Got home, tried all the pet sitters on Craigslist - no luck. I figured I should let my boss know what I was dealing with and see if she had any ideas, and she said she could watch Edison for me. So I brought him to her house, thanked her and apologized over and over again, and made my way home. By this time, it was about 9:30, and I still had to pack and get everything together for my 8:30 a.m. flight. After packing, I set the alarm for 5:30 a.m., went to bed, and slept in fits for about five hours.

And when I woke up this morning, that's when it really got ugly.

I sit here, posting this blog, in my flooded living room, waiting for word from my landlord about when a plumber can get here. You may remember from previous posts that I have had a little bit of trouble with sewage backing up in this apartment. But that was three months ago, and it's all been fine and dandy since then. Well, apparently the problem is back. I stepped out of my bedroom into a puddle, and down the hall toward more puddles, ending in my living room which was covered by about a half-inch of water. I checked the bathroom, and yes, sewage was backed up into my bathtub, just like last time.

I tried to discover where the water in the living room was coming from. It didn't seem to be leaking from the bathtub, toilet, washer, dishwasher, etc. It didn't really seem to be coming through the walls, either. It almost seems like it's coming up through the floor. I don't know much about plumbing, but that seems like a bad sign. Anyway, I checked outside and found that the entry-hallway that leads from the outside to my apartment's front door was a mess of wet carpet. I opened both the front and back doors and found the recessed entry areas filled with water. Each of those entry areas has a storm drain, and apparently they are no longer performing their function. It looks to me like there must be a blockage somewhere in the line out to the main line, and that resulted in nowhere for the overnight rainwater to go.

So needless to say, I missed my flight this morning. I called both of my bosses - my immediate boss and her boss, with whom I was supposed to be attending this conference. They were both very understanding and sympathetic, and they encouraged me to focus on my problems at home first and only make my way to Florida if it worked out. I called our corporate Expedia account representative, and she looked into other flights over the next couple of days and found none.

So I will not be enjoying sunny Florida this week. I will not be learning all about the homebuilding industry. Instead, I will be at home with a plumber and lots of soaking wet rags.

But I do like to be optimistic: Barack Obama KILLED in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. last night! :)


amelia said...

DOUG. What an awful day!! I can't believe this poor apartment you're in - it's like one problem after the other (hey, sounds like my house!). I hope things get better. Was all your stuff ruined? Well at least you got out of IBS. hahahahahaha

Heidi said...

Dearest Doug, I am so very sorry! That is awful! Flooding is the worst. Once my upstairs neighboor's apt flooded and the ceiling burst a mix of plaster & water all over me and Emily Clawson's head. Maybe if you picture that ridiculous scene, you will feel better. Love you! Miss you!

Joe said...

Thanks for the IBS link. I'm sure I'll have many happy hours reading up on Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is fairly common and makes up 20–50% of visits to gastroenterologists, according to the article.

Sorry that the weather is making you deal with everyone else's IBS.

On another note, you're not the
only one who had a little slip and fall from the freezing rain.

Leigh said...

dougums, that's horrible! I'm sad you're not in sunny Florida. You and Amelia should write a book together about pipe problems.

Jacelle said...

Oh need a nestle, dont you....