Today was calamity day. It started at midnight, we think, but we didn’t know until the phonecall came in that the water main, where it enters our house, was squirting out enormous quantities of water into our basement. If the water came in at 50 gallons a minute (as someone said), a quick calculation puts our next water bill at 21000 gallons, as the break was after the water meter. Ouch!

The union between the outside line and the indoor plumbing was broken and there was no way of stopping the flow. We didn’t know where the shut off valve was (it had been moved when our water main was re-positioned some months ago). Now we know of course but a little too late.

At 5:15 we found ourselves wading in 4 inches of water in our basement, frantically trying to save whatever was positioned below the water line. It was a good thing we had been moving things upstairs as part of our moving back into our house but we hadn’t moved everything.
While Axel dealt with the firefighters (who also pump flooded basements) and the plumber (responsible for not tightening the connection enough, we assume) and then bringing all the wet stuff up to the yard, I took each of our pictures, removed them from their wet or mildewed frame and cleaned frames and glass. And so we found ourselves a little differently occupied than we would have liked.

All the while Joe, veteran calamity manager, was a beacon of calm, lightened things up with his sense of humor-in-calamity, and provided sustenance all through the day.

Later in the afternoon, when all the wet stuff had either dried or been thrown out, Tessa and Steve came over to prepare pesto sauce from the basil, harvest cabbage and beets and hang out – which was nice after the intense physical labor of the day.

For dinner we were invited to friends across town who are gourmet cooks and the perfect distraction for the remainder of the day, not in the last because of the morels in cream sauce over a juicy steak, cumin corn, a cheese platter (so sorely missed in Kabul) and burnt sugar ice cream.

Our basement, a cleanup project waiting to be tackled, is now very clean and empty.

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September 2011
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