Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Flooded, but alive

By now you've probably heard about the record-setting rainfalls and flooding here in the Atlanta area. Our house is on a hill, so like nearly all Atlantans our homeowners insurance didn't include flood insurance. This turns out to be a mistake, because as far as the insurance companies are concerned, any water that comes from the outside in is flooding, except if it comes in through a puncture to the house caused by the weather (such as a tree opening up the roof). When there's up to 20 inches of rain (I think we were in an area that only got 15) a house that's dug into a hill becomes a concrete boat. Concrete turns out to be porous under pressure, and unnoticed cracks become large leaks, as in leaks that spew a stream like a little boy peeing. It doesn't take very many of those to sink a concrete boat.

We bailed and vacuumed as hard and fast as we could until 5:30 AM Monday, when we just couldn't go on. I learned I can fill an 8-gallon shop-vac in 9 seconds, but it takes 25 seconds to dump it and resume. Multiply that by all those hours, that's how much water I personally moved. At 9:30 we were awakened by the crash of a huge tree falling outside our bedroom. A big oak had taken two trees down with it, and just barely grazed our house without damaging it. A large branch had broken against a sliding glass door without breaking the glass. We resumed work at that point.

I put an SOS on Facebook for any friends with shopvacs and pumps who were ready to work. Three folks did show up, one friend and a couple I hadn't met yet. They worked hard with us until midnight. I'm touched and forever grateful.

Tuesday was a day of shock and exhaustion. Our whole downstairs, where I do most of my living and working, and store most of our stuff, was up to ankle deep. The drywall and paneling are damaged, and the carpet and parquet floor are ruined.

Today begins the mind-numbing amount of work and financial burden. I will not be online very often in these future weeks except for a daily email check. It will take a lot of gigs and guitar lessons to pay for this, so I do hope you'll keep me in mind. Also please remember that now's the time to book Santa for your parties, home visits, office surprises, etc.