Why Oh Why?

It all started in the week before I was scheduled to start on my winter vacation. This was a planned vacation, tickets booked a while back. Still, you know how it is… you plan all the things you need to do before you go, and you have every intention of sticking to those plans… then somehow things happen differently and you are left scrambling at the last minute. What I cannot understand is how this is the case every year, every vacation. But I digress…

So it was the week before my travel. Came back from work Wednesday evening. Entering the apartment, I can already see the flashing lights reflected on the window panes.

Looking out the window (being on the second floor, I do have a good view of the street), I can see two cop cars parked among the small hillocks of snow on the sides of the street. Suddenly I realise… the snow hills on the near side are no longer there. Instead there is a muddy stream meandering towards the rainwater drain at the end of the street. Oh no! Water main break… No wonder, considering the below freezing temperatures we have been consistently having. And it was apparent that the problem was with the main pipe that supplied water to our building.

So the smart aleck that I am, I ran to the kitchen. Put a cooking pot under the tap and started filling it with water. Already the flow of water was slowing down. As I watched, the tap spluttered a few times and the water stopped. I was not worried. Enough drinking water in the house, and of course water will be back the next day.

Next day, went to work as usual. Around 4 pm, as I’m getting ready to leave for home, my phone rings. It is Mr J, our condo president. ‘Ria, where are you? Can you get home right away? The water was turned back on a while back, after the repairs, and there is flooding in your apartment.’

The kitchen tap… I had forgotten to close it last evening! All the way home, all I could think of was, all the things I will have to throw away because of water damage. The bottom rows of my book shelves were sure to go… Gosh, all the heavy classics are on the bottom shelves…

By the time I reached home – Manhattan traffic is so unmindful of your personal emergencies! – three of my friends were waiting to help me with damage control. We rushed up. No water coming out under the door. I gingerly opened the door… expecting to step into squelching water. Nothing. Looked into the bed rooms… no problem there. Moved on to the living room… the floor is dry as a bone. Then to the kitchen… yes, the floor has patches of water puddled here and there. But beyond that, no sign of flooding at all.

What had happened was that the water had seeped under the dish washer and the floor cabinets in the kitchen and gotten to the outside corridor under the wall. And to prevent it getting to the apartment across the corridor, Mr J had the water turned off. What a relief it was, to see all the horror scenarios in my mind come to nought!

Wiping up the remaining water was a matter of minutes. And my friends insisted on celebrating my transition from panic to relief in a short hour by treating me to takeout pizza. 🙂

To be continued…


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