Thursday, July 24, 2008

When it rains

The basement floods.

Math problem: if your rowhouse is 20 feet wide by 40 feet deep, and your basement floods to an average of about 2 inches deep, how much water did you vacuum, sweep, bucket, sponge, towel, and mop off the floor last night?

I don't know, my husband the math whiz could figure this out but converting inches deep to volume is not on my to-do list this morning. How many time did we empty the 12 gallon wet vac last night? 10? Probably more. 15? 20?

Last night was an extreme rain event - a lot in a short time. But the basement has been minor-ly flooding all summer during big storms. We know, we can see that there's something wrong with the gutter/drain system behind our house, and it's going to take a professional to figure it out.

Talk about stiff and sore - I'm loosening up but I definitely got a workout last night.

Math problem #2: if, simultaneously, the ceiling of the kitchen is also leaking, which account should I transfer money from to cover? Associated logic problem: Can the same person cover both problems, or do we need a plumber and a ---- what? Carpenter?

The past few drought years are looking better and better in retrospect.

Math problem #3: If you go to Lord & Taylor to pay off the remaining charges on your bill, finito, to zero, and it's beastly hot outside, so you wander, even though they have no maternity clothes and find a size 16 petite swing jacket that is very cute, priced 73.99, 50% off, plus 20% off coupon, how much use will you get out of it during and post pregnancy if you started pregnancy a size 12?

$30 for a quite nice, stylish jacket. If I get a job, it would be perfect for fall (and winter and spring). If I don't get a job, I could still get some wear out of it. If I lose baby weight quickly, it'll be no use in post-maternity. If, as likely, the baby weight comes off slowly, it'll be perfect for nursing and pumping and still looking professional and stylish. Hmmmm. I may have to go back, and if there's a 14 or possibly a 12 that fits it might be worth it. Oh, have I mentioned I've used up my "allowance" (my budget line item for myself) for July? Extra credit: Does that matter?

Math problem #4: Your new Harris Teeter is offering TRIPLE coupons, Shout is on sale buy one get one free at 3.29, and you have a $.75 off coupon. How excited should you be?

I've lived in this city for 15 years and I have never, never seen triple coupons. I am absurdly excited. I spent yesterday afternoon going through coupons and plotting my shopping list. I even went to Harris Teeter yesterday and scoped out what else might be on sale that wasn't in the flyer. (In my defense, we were out of milk and HT even had organic milk on sale!) My entire Friday is planned around triple coupon day.

I need a job.

Time for social studies: You exit your basement after midnight to find a giant firetruck in front of your house, shining spotlights on your house. What the hell? Firemen exit neighbor's house, you send husband down to talk to them, but fireman comes to door, explains we should be ok, given the construction of these rowhouses, but neighbor has lost part of her roof and her house in inundated with water. Great, husband exclaims, we just finished vacuuming out our basement, let's do the attic now. Fireman looks at us like we are lunatics, which by this point we are.

As we're closing up for the night, husband suddenly says, we should offer them our wet vac. He peers in front door and back, but they seem to have given up for the night, too. He notices they seem to have the same ceiling leak in kitchen that we have.

You live in gentrifying neighborhood. You are gentrifiers. Your neighbors are
pre-gentrification. Your other side neighbors are also gentrifiers, told you last year that they noticed in city's tax rolls that no-roof neighbors owe $12,000 in back taxes. No-roof neighbor neighbor maintains beautiful garden. Told you a few weeks ago, over the fence as you were both doing yard work, about how she grew up in the house, grew up there with her parents and seen all sorts of things in the neighborhood. How her parents and the former owners of your house jointly put in the porch awnings (which is probably what is causing the kitchen leaks, the way they're joined to the wall, so now maybe we should try to fix this problem jointly with them?).

How grateful should you be, as you go to sleep and wake up with aches and pains, that despite it all - no job, worries about money, old, historic house badly in need of repairs, how do we keep the nanny, should I buy sale designer jacket, are we going to do private school for child - you know you're still firmly entrenched on the have side of American society?


Mimi said...

Oh, get the jacket WB!! If anyone asks you why you 'had' to do it tell them I twisted your arm! I'll take the heat for that! That is a great bargain, and it's not going to come this way again, is it?! If it does then you know you got it the first time and don't need it this next time!

We also shop/vacced last month and it wasn't up to your level but ours hit the city sewer before it hit our basement. We only emptied out the vaccum twice because for the most part we had to cut, roll and push many dripping, stinking wet carpet pieces right out our back door. Two weeks for the bleach to finally overpower the stench.

Not sure which one I'd rather, that or the 2 inches. Never mind! Let's move to a tropical island and be neighbors there!

Vanessa said...

You also seem to have mastered English. The essay makes the grade. Hang tough.