Monday, June 26, 2006

Rearranging the deck chairs in the living room

Pop quiz!

What are ideal conditions for growing organisms like these?

If you answered "wet conditions," give yourself a gold star.

That's what we've had here for the past several days, and last night we even had them in our living room, temporarily. Last Thursday a crazy storm came through. There were about three hours of lightning and torrential downpours. That was followed by a wet Friday and a waterlogged weekend, including cataracts of rain last night--up to two inches an hour.

Second quiz question: what's this?

At some point, all of that water became too much for the drains on the terrace above our condo to handle. The water sheeted off of our upstairs neighbor's terrace and into her living room and kitchen. While most of it spread quickly across her floor, gravity still works, and there are apparently openings in and under her floor, which allowed some of the water to cascade down onto the top of our ceiling.

Third quiz question: what's this?
There was a small, but rapid, drip in the living room, and a few drizzles on the other side of the wall, which is right above 3B's crib. The drizzles we contained quickly, but in the living room, the ceiling was starting to sag down toward the top of the bookshelf.

Fourth and final quiz question: what's this?
That sagging prompted me to do what it appears some previous residents did when this happened before--open up the ceiling to let the water out to prevent the ceiling from collapsing. We got two or three gallons out of the ceiling in a few minutes, at which point the flow stopped, thanks in large part to our upstairs neighbor, who mopped up what came in through the scuppers as fast as she could.

Others with terraces weren't so lucky. The woman above us has area rugs that she just rolled back while she mopped, but most on her floor have wall-to-wall carpets. Those carpets became soaked with water, which was rapidly wicking up into their furniture. While Mama held down the fort, I went up and helped out as best I could. Without a shop vac, however, there was little we could do.

Fortunately, our management company was able to get a crew out in the middle of the night to start work on drying out the upstairs units. Unfortunately, it's still raining here, and forecast to keep raining for some time. I believe, however, that unless we again get the kind of downpour that we did last night, we'll be fine. Besides, it's been terribly dry here for the last two years, so we need the rain--although we really need it outside more than we do in our living room.

Oh, and this morning, as soon as I got to work, we had to evacuate because there was a small fire.

Answer key:

  1. Holes that I drilled in the ceiling to let the water out, which I eventually joined together, forming this slot.
  2. View of the slot from the bucket on the floor. Note the Christo treatment of the bookcases to protect 3B's collection of Curious George and Winnie the Pooh tales.
  3. View of the bucket from the slot. Note Papa Bradstein's belly protruding into the frame. Niiice, PB. Want another donut?
Turn in your correct answers to your homeroom teacher to get your gold stars.


  1. Anonymous2:17 PM

    I share your pain, my friend. Our bedroom ceiling leaked due to torrential downpours last Spring. We've been embroiled in a massive dispute with the building's contractor over getting it fixed. Meanwhile, every night, I have to look up at the holes in my ceiling and pray that a spider doesn't fall in my mouth while I'm asleep (which would scare the living crap out of me.)

    Hope the deluge ends soon.

  2. Wow, I had no idea so much $hit was going down on your end! My place was fine (THANK GOD)... I love the rain, but when it causes problems like metro delays (which caused me to use an hour of leave - grrrr) and car accidents and floods? Not so much.

  3. Anonymous7:27 PM

    That sounds like the same stuff going on here at our apartment complex. Lots of leaky windows = lots of pissed off residents. I never thought of drilling holes in the ceiling--good one. Glad you were able to protect 3B's precious book collection.

    Hope it gets dry (inside) in a hurry.

  4. Anonymous4:39 PM

    Good luck!!! Glad you were able to keep things under control well somewhat...