The Lockdown Diaries | File Under “Times Our House Has Randomly Flooded”
Given the narrative that’s developed on my blog – and, indeed, in my life – it seems almost redundant at this point to tell you that, on the very coldest day of the winter, and at the absolute height of the pandemic, we flooded our house.
It’s redundant to say it, because, I mean, OF COURSE WE DID. It’s… what we do, isn’t it? Like, flooding the house is literally one of the first things I mention on my blog’s ‘About’ page. There’s an ENTIRE CATEGORY dedicated to it, for God’s sake. It’s called ‘Times My House Has Flooded’, because, yes, that’s a thing that happens to me often enough for my blog to require an entire section just for that, and I think it’s probably time to just accept that this is it: this is who I am now. I’m That Woman Whose House Floods Every Couple of Years. Who will play me in the movie, I wonder?
(Seriously, though, I’m reminded here of a Douglas Coupland quote I can’t seem to find now (Did I just imagine it, I wonder?), but which is about how most people have only two or three genuinely interesting moments in their lives, and, if they’re lucky, they get to string them together to form some kind of narrative. Now, I’m not going to try to claim that flooding my house on the regular is in any way “interesting”, obviously, but I AM starting to think that it just might be the underlying narrative of my life: which, to be honest, is the kind of crushing blow I have always expected, but am nevertheless ill-equipped to deal with. I… guess I just thought I’d have a different story, you know? Maybe a slightly drier one? Is that really too much to ask?)
Anyway, it is, as I said, pretty much redundant to tell you that the house flooded again, because that’s just totally on brand for us, but, look, there’s really not a whole lot else to report right now (Because, PANDEMIC. And also: when was there EVER much for me to report about my life, let’s be honest?), so let the record show that, on Saturday night, we experienced yet another flood. Hashtag FFS, hashtag FML.
(Instead of illustrating this post with photos of the flooded house, I’m just going to illustrate it with photos of me and Max in last week’s snow instead, because that will look better on my homepage, and that’s the kind of person I am. On the plus side, though, I’ve just realised that I didn’t actually TAKE any photos during the flood, and I think I deserve a small pat on the back for that, because it means I’ve finally reached a point in my life where something can happen and my first instinct is no longer to reach for my phone to Instagram it. So I’m either growing up at last, or I’m just dead inside now, and I think we all know it’s not the first one, right?)
I was getting ready for bed when the flood was discovered by Terry, who’d gone to switch his (Brand new, expensive) X-Box on, only to discover that it was sitting in a pool of water.
“We’ve got a bit of a problem,” he said with admirable understatement as he passed me on the stairs, en route to the hall cupboard to bring forth the collection of old towels we keep for this exact situation.
“I bet it’s a flood,” I thought, as I turned and followed him back downstairs. “Because it almost always IS, isn’t it?
Sure enough, one corner of the living room was now swimming in water: water which had no apparent source, as the radiator closest to it seemed totally dry, but which had nevertheless managed to soak the rug, the X-Box and a large section of the floor. All of the towels had to be deployed, before the built-in cabinets were ripped out, as was the …. we call it the “wine shelf”, for reasons that I assume are self-explanatory, but it’s kind of a wooden box that fills in the aesthetically un-pleasing gap between the sofa and the wall … in a bid to locate the leak.
The leak could not be found: which meant that the boiler – which had been playing up for WEEKS at that point – had to be switched off, taking with it all of our heating and hot water.
Did I mention it was snowing outside at the time? And that this was something like the fourth, or maybe even the fifth, time we’ve been left without heating or hot water this year? GOD.
(When Max came downstairs the next morning and realised the living room rug was missing, he dramatically threw himself onto the floor and started crying that he missed the rug and wanted it back – which was pretty rich of him, really, considering that, when we got that rug, he did the same thing, only THAT time he was crying because he HATED that rug and wanted the OLD one back instead. This kind of dramatic, overly-invested-in-inanimate-objects behaviour is literally the only thing he has inherited from me…)
“Thank goodness I stopped having emotions back in July,” I thought as I stuffed the first load of soaked towels into the washing machine. “This would be really annoying if I still had the capacity to feel things!”
As I mentioned in my last Lockdown Diary post, however, one of the consequences of living through a pandemic for me has been that I used up my full quota of human emotions in the first few months of 2020, and, inconvenient though that is for someone who makes a living from writing, I can’t deny that it DID make the next 24 hours, in which we welcomed two emergency plumbers into our freezing, flooded house, slightly easier to deal with.
The plumbers both wore masks, and we kept the windows open during their visit, but, of course, while I believe we ARE allowed to let tradespeople in during this lockdown, it obviously wasn’t ideal. With that said, though, “it wasn’t ideal” has been something of a theme for the last 12 months or so – to the extent that I now really miss the days when a simple house flood was our biggest problem. Now, though, it’s just ONE of our problems, because, as well as thinking things like, “I wonder if we can afford to pay to have the floor replaced?” and “WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO US?” we also have to ask ourselves things like, “Will we die because we had to let people inside our house?” and “Is calling a plumber even ALLOWED any more?” Which is just a LITTE bit too dystopian for comfort, really, isn’t it?
Anyway. The good news is that the leak has now been located (It was the radiator all along…), we don’t THINK the floor will have to be replaced, and Terry’s X-Box somehow managed to survive its ordeal unscathed.
The not-so-good, but still very much expected, news, meanwhile, is that the living room has had to be ripped apart, the jury’s still out on whether or not the wine shelf will live to see another glass of Chenin Blanc, and the plumbers will have to return later in the week for another round of “let’s all wear face masks and open the windows in January.”
So far, then, 2021 is off to a very 2020 kind of start for us, I’d say, although obviously not nearly as bad a start as it’s been for the United States, which started the year with an ACTUAL ATTEMPT AT A COUP. I MEAN.
With that in mind, then, I’m going to file this one under, “It could have been worse.” And I would REALLY like to think this will be the very last time I have to write another blog post about flooding my house, but, I just don’t think that’s something I can promise, unfortunately.
How’s your week been?