I have one friend that refuses to use Facebook, so I sent him an email to update him on recent events. Edited and published here with added media. Language warning.
Its been a bit of an epic week so strap on in.
Went and met the head of analysts at the potential new employer. He was not difficult to woo, and I had barely gotten back to the office when confirmation that I was in came through.
Handed in my resignation that afternoon.
Beginning in the wee hours, woke up to realise the power was out. Rainy cold night, not much to be done about it. Set the alarm on my mobile and rolled over to go back to sleep.
Mobile alarm goes off 6am, with phone on 1% charge because there is still no power. No electricity might make getting ready for the first day of my notice period difficult. Semi-awake brain decides I’ll just pop down and reset the main switch in the circuit board and see if that does anything.
Heading down the stairs barefoot in my PJs, pitch black with no power, when at the bottom my foot hits wet tile and goes out from under me, sending me crashing and splashing to the ground.
Yes, splashing. As into at least a couple of inches of water…… inside my house. Suddenly much more awake.
Ankle hurts, sudden thought that I’ve stuffed myself, and my only means of outside communication was back upstairs with 1% charge – not enough to even make a call with. Yep – getting more and more awake.
Test weight on the ankle. Sore, but will carry my weight. 6am/slightly panicked brain remembers where I keep an emergency torch (inside the drivers door of my car) and I grab my keys by the door and limp out to grab it. Go back inside.
Now that Im a bit more awake, I can hear water, and not just from the gutters and rain. By torchlight, wading through my downstairs, I find water p!$$!ing out from under the sink in my downstairs bathroom.
There is no master tap in that room, so I wade back outside, turn off the water mains in the yard, turn off the electricity mains for good measure, and go the f**k back to bed because I am not breaking my neck in the dark dealing with that s#!+ at 6am on the shortest day of the year.
Before totally giving up, 6am brain has its greatest idea ever and grabs my laptop (which was fortunately next to my bed, not downstairs underwater), and plugs my mobile in to it to charge of the laptop battery, in the hope I will have charge enough to make some calls once the sun comes up.
Roll back out of bed. Not much rest in between. Mostly running worst case scenarios. House will be completely f**ked, have to move back in with my parents while insurance sorts it out. Where the f**k is my insurance? Oh yeah, I keep that stuff in the upstairs drawers in the spare room. Okay, now sleep. Brain: No! F**k you! Dwell on the s#!+ ahead of you for 90 minutes instead!
But I get up, throw on some daggy clothes. Get downstairs and find a pair of waterlogged shoes so Im not slipping barefoot everywhere. BTW, ankle has started to swell up a bit by now.
Find the emergency plumber number on the fridge magnet on the beer fridge. Call him, let him know situation. Since water mains are off, urgency is less (meaning he will get there when he damn well feels like it).
Call parents who are just stirring. Ask them to bring gumboots. Grab a bucket from the laundry and start my own recreation of Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
At the beginning, I could take a 12 litre bucket and whoosh it once across my lounge room floor, and it would come up half full. I unplugged everything electrical that was in a power point located near the floor, pulled a few things up out of the wet.
The heart-wrenching moment was going in to my carpeted study (squish squish squish) and picking up my sexy red custom gaming machine, and watching the water drain out of the case as I raised it off the floor and sat it on the chair.
I did bucket brigate for a couple of hours solo. Paused in between to call in and let work know I wasn’t coming in. Playfully accused the manager of cursing me for resigning.
My parents show up, with more buckets and mops. They brought gumboots for themselves, but I am doing all of this wading around is soggy old Doc Martens that go squish with every step, and tracky dacks rolled up like flood pants. Having been off most of the previous week with a chest cold, and of course no heating due to no power, maybe not the best approach – but there it was.
By the way, nothing like a good flooding to expose how uneven your floors actually are. My lounge room is officially “The Deep End”. My Kitchen – the Shallow End.
By this time, I had been bucketing for a good 2 hours plus with a couple of small breaks, since I was ferrying buckets of water from the lounge to the back door on what was clearly now a reasonably well sprained ankle. Swollen, but not 2x as big swollen. Still, the ankle had no problems giving me constant reminder that it was the real victim in all of this.
At any rate, the water level was noticeably lower, and it was about at the point where simply whoosing the bucket was no longer collecting enough water in each go to be the best approach. My parents grabbed the available mops, so I switched to using two towels that I would soak up water with, pop in a plastic tray and take outside to squeeze the excess water out of.
By now, my Dad had checked everything. I have never been more thankful for having a tradie father. Plenty of young-uns today wouldn’t even know how to turn off a water mains or think of turning off the power mains, etc. He had turned the power back on for lights. The water main was still off but luckily there was enough water in the kettle for a cuppa.
Plumber arrives. He looked at the break point and quickly declared whoever built my place someone with a mental disability (I’m paraphrasing). He recommended adding an undersink tap so that if something like this were to ever happen again, I could just turn off the water feed to the sink instead of having to turn it off at the main. Agreed. He had to go get some parts, and disappeared.
By this stage, my back was beginning to inform me that my ankle was a little pussy and it was his turn for attention.
Somewhere in here, I dug up my home and contents info and called them. We worked out that my policy would cover me for any water damage, excluding the plumbing itself, subject to an excess.
He took a report of the incident and we determined that I would figure out if there was actually enough damage to claim vs the excess before registering as a claim, since apparently even cancelling a claim once raised counts against your claim history.
Furniture, okay. The couch is on wooden blocks that raised it just enough to avoid soaking the undersides of the fabric. Electronics, raised off the floor save for a couple of power boards that were apparently what tripped the power off in the first place.
PC, despite the water draining from the case, the internal electronics were actually a little raised and it successfully booted up. Only the pretty basic speakers that were on the carpet in the study were lost.
So, it looks like the only real damage is the carpet in the study. And one room of carpet replacement isn’t going to be enough to cover my excess. YAY FOR INSURANCE!
Plumber has teturned and replaced the pipe and put in the undersink taps. Despite my house only being about 5 years old, the pipe itself was from a brand that ceased to exist years ago and must have been from the builder’s personal store of archaic leftovers (possibly from the Cold War). Plumber’s bill (again, not covered under insurance) was only $175, which makes it the cheapest dealing with a plumber I have had, ever. Most plumbers seem to charge $150 to get out of bed.
All of the tiled area was now down to damp patches, and both I and my parents were rapidly approaching the point of exhaustion. I am pretty soaked (towel method of water extraction is splashy) and realise that every pair of shoes that I own save for some thongs were currently squelching. Then remembered an ancient pair of Docs in the garage that are used as lawn mowing shoes. Changed clothes and brushed the cobwebs out of mowing-shoes.
My folks and I popped out to Bunnings where I picked up a couple of new power boards (so I could properly retest the rest of my Electronics) and some unrelated bits for Dad, grab some lunch at a food court, and pop in to Target to pick up new shoes for work the next day assuming that the squelch factor would not quickly be resolved on my other pairs (or that mowing shoes were work appropriate).
Back home. None of us have the energy left to address the carpeted room at all. Just stepping on the carpet causes water to soak up through the carpet by half an inch. My ankle, back, and now legs are reminding me why I have a bloody desk job.
My parents decide to head home, but plan to return Wednesday arvo to further clean up and stay for dinner, while I plan to go to work. After all, I did just resign. Immediately ignoring notice period, while our project is less than 10 days to go live, and the other person on my project is in poor health, is pretty poor form.
I slowly wander up to bed around 6pm, moving like a 90 year old man. Put on a DVD but end up going to sleep, exhausted, about 8:30.
Reminding you that my train line currently has the closest two stations under works as they are moving the lines underground, therefore all the car parks have been dug up and I am forced to walk to work every day.
Now imagine the prospect of walking to work with a sprained ankle, muscle ache the likes of which I haven’t experienced since I was a young lad, and of course, its bloody raining.
Get to the office, the other person on my project is sick as a dog and is being sent home (at time of writing, yet to resurface), and on a day I was hoping to stay off my ankle as much as possible, instead I spend the entire time limping from crisis to crisis. By the end of the day, we had finally decided to push our launch date back by a month.
NB: Which would mean that I would be gone before the go-live instead of having a nice clean finish before moving to the new job.
At lunch break, I meet with a rep from the consultancy and sign contracts (confirmed $750 per day gross rate). They had popped down to the office to meet for this.
Get home, parents over for dinner. They pulled up too sore to do much of anything on day 2, so very little progress on the house. They stay for dinner. As they go, I find a cache of water that was missed and spend the next half hour wrangling a mop and bucket lever system with a sprained ankle. Then utterly spent, limped off to bed again (early once more).
Still limping, marginal improvement noted in the ankle, but starting to worry that I might have to find time to visit a doctor to get it looked over. Get through the day to find the arctic weather front from last night arrive just as I get on the train home. As public transport does every time the weather changes by more than 5 degrees, the train line s#!+s itself and I get stuck for half an hour at an earlier station before the driver asks everyone to get off, as his train would be reversing back to Melbourne and “hopefully, another one would come along, and the signal failure would eventually get fixed and things would start moving again.”
That was too many maybes for me where at the end I would still face the privilege of the 1km walk home from the station in the rain, so I walked out of the station, lucked into the only taxi on standby, and waved him forth.
You know what getting over the tracks near my place is like at the best of times, but with the previous crossing being the point of failure in the system, and these two crossings being at the stations that are under development, it was especially brutal. I finally got home about 90 minutes later than I should have, threw a pineapple ($50) at the cabbie, and got inside.
I had enough energy today to begin addressing the carpeted room. Began moving furniture, dvds and books out of the room. Got about two thirds through the job when my back advised that if I bent down again, it was making no promises about my ability to straighten back up. Also, the carpet is now beginning to smell.
And as an added bonus, the wet has now warped the downstairs bathroom door, which no longer closes.
Not my room, just a general cluttered spare room pic to represent.
And then there is today (Friday). Work finally sent around the official news about me leaving. My last day is set for 15th July, which I am advised will be followed by drinks of epic proportions. There are rumours of costumes and surprise guest appearances. Planning to get home tonight and finish cleaning out the study. Need to make some calls to see if I can get someone in to deal with the carpet from there on the weekend or, if next week, make arrangements for sister or parents to be there to supervise.
An epic story. There were laughs and tears. Maybe an academy nomination in the making. Hope there’s no damn sequel.
... The Epilogue
I get up early with a plan to pick up some tools and paint to deal with the swollen door frames. Go to Bunnings, get wood file, sandpaper, paint and brush. Look at me being an adult and adulting all over the place!3
As I fix two frames enough for the toilet and carpeted room doors to close again, I notice that the frame wood has soaked up lots of water.
Specialist water damage blokes come to look at the carpet. They have this Predator style infa red camera except it picks up water instead of heat. Shortly thereafter, it is determined that all the skirting and every wooden door frame on the lower level of my house has absorbed water and has begun warping. It all needs to be ripped out, dried out to prevent mould, and replaced.
“Do you have anywhere you can stay for a few days?” they ask me.
I fork out about $9k on the credit card so they can get started. Get the insurance guys on the phone as the excess is easily going to be passed, they are arranging an assessor to come by some time this week. Staying back in my old room at Mum & Dad’s in the interim – /sigh. Wont even have access to watch the Game of Thrones finale tonight. No internet worth speaking of – all blogging suspended until further notice. Unfamiliar bed and shower. The local train station is so overcrowded that you can’t get a park there unless you arrive at 6am, so I’m also getting dropped off and picked up from the station on a daily basis.
Should get the money on the credit card back once the assessor has been through and I receive and submit to the insurance mob the report from the tradies doing the drying and rotted timber removal.
Of course, it wont be until after the assessor comes through that they will start to book tradies to come in and replace everything that has been ripped out and removed. Unknown whether I will be able to live out of the house while that goes on.
Current projections are that the dryers will be done by Wednesday.
Oh, and all the swelling has gone down on my ankle. But there are still tender bits going on that I’m not happy are improving, so going to have to find time in amongst everything else to see a doc and figure out if I’ve done some proper damage there as well.
Again, not my house. Juts an example of the types of dryers used.
Sunday, the following week
Got back into the house on Wednesday, though the dyers and heaters had the house sitting at about 26C. Middle of winter and I slept under a single sheet because of how well my house holds the heat.
Assessor has been, tradies started to be booked in. House still in a bit of disorder. No point putting it all back in place when there is more repair work to go on that will just disrupt it again. But so good to be back sleeping in my own bed again.
Computer back up and connected to the internet, albeit in a room that currently has no carpet or skirting boards.