The Great Deluge of 2011

31 Oct

**fair warning, this post contains large amounts of all caps. There’s a lot of yelling. Sorry in advance.

Y’all, somewhere I have done something terribly wrong. My karma has got to be so far out of whack, I must have really been a jerk somewhere at some point. Here I am, on the verge of a nervous breakdown about thesis stuff and the possibility of me not being done in December *gasp!* and I’m burnt out, stressed out, strung out (not literally) and then: THE GREAT DELUGE OF 2011.

You see, it’s been raining here in Miami every day for about 3 weeks now. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And in the midst of this rain, there are several problems. #1: We have an upstairs patio that doesn’t drain properly. I don’t know why, but water just seems to sit on our patio. There’s a drain and there is nothing blocking it. I’ve even gouged a wire hanger down in there to make sure there was nothing blocking it. The wire hanger goes all the way down, no problem. But the water on the other hand does not. There are signs all over the parking garage saying “CHECK YOUR DRAINS ON YOUR BALCONIES AND PATIOS, IT’S RAINY SEASON, BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH” but I mean, hello, I’m a 26 year old renter. I can make sure the drain looks clear, I can run a hanger down there, and that’s about the limit of my outdoor plumbing prowess. I don’t have freaking 40-ft long snake tools for cleaning giant 4 story tall drain pipes. MY MISTAKE.

patio door

The patio door in question. The source of much woe and suffering, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Problem #2: Our patio door is janked up and doesn’t close properly. It’s like it’s not sitting right on its hinges or something and it drags really badly at the bottom when you open it, and when you close it, it closes all the way at the top, but not at the bottom corner. No amount of pulling, cursing and cajoling will get that bottom part to close properly. Believe me, I’ve tried.

However, this has never been a problem for us, and I mean, we get a lot of rain here. But yesterday was particularly bad and there were flash flood warnings everywhere in South Florida as it dumped buckets of water on us ALL DAY LONG. Around 12:30 a.m. as I was still up working late, I heard some water dripping. I noticed the vent in the ceiling in the kitchen (downstairs) was dripping water. I shrieked, put a pot under it, and stood there pondering said drip. And then it occurred to me in that slow motion way things happen in the movies, where the lead character starts to say NOOOOOOOOOOO and it comes out all slow and drawn out and then there’s a giant explosion, THIS WATER HAD TO BE COMING FROM UPSTAIRS SOMEWHERE.

I dashed up the stairs and as soon as my foot hit the top landing, I was standing in about two inches of water. EVERYWHERE. It had spilled all through Shannon’s bedroom, out to the landing, up to the doorway of my bedroom and into the bathroom. Like, not just a little water. GALLONS UPON GALLONS of water. When I put my foot down, water pooled up around it and over the top of my foot. INCHES OF WATER, PEOPLE. And it’s almost 1 in the morning. I have no idea what to do, who to call, where to begin, oh and we have a grand total of two bath towels in our entire house. Not that they would have done any good, with the amount of water there was. I dropped them over by the door to try and stop the flow and they were instantly completely saturated.

So yeah, I froze for a few minutes, hopped from one wet foot to the other trying to figure out what the hell to do, and then began snatching up anything and everything that was on the floor of Shannon’s room. Thank god I did because girlfriend had a whole basket full of hard drives WITH EVERYTHING SHE’S EVER FILMED sitting on the floor right by the patio door. (They survived unscathed, fortunately.) In the meantime I was frantically dialing trying to get ahold of the maintenance man, with no success. I called the building manager, no success. Did I mention our landlady lives in Peru? Yeah, well I tried calling our landlady IN PERU, fat chance of that working. So I finally found an emergency number for the building, called it and got the building manager on the phone. And guess what? Like most people here in Miami, she was completely NOT HELPFUL IN ANY WAY. Awesome.

Wet Vac

My friend the Wet Vac

She informed me that it was the landlady’s problem, that our landlady is responsible for this unit, so there was nothing she could do to help me. She told me there might be a wet vac in one of the maintenance closets if they are unlocked, and that I could try that, that I should really find something to plug the gap with, and did I have any caulk? (Really? Yeah, I keep it right beside my nightstand) and then basically she told me to take a hike. AWESOME.

door crack

My ghetto sealing job. Thanks, year old tube of spackling goo!

So I go trolling around the building, find this ancient Wet Vac with no attachments and a hose that is taped on, and I lug the stupid thing upstairs.  I also managed to find buried at the bottom of a toolbox a tube of this weird spackling substance that we had used in our old apartment to cover up some unsightly holes in the wall. I stuffed the Wet Vac tube down in the crack, sucked the water out of the crack while I simultaneously slopped as much of that spackling goo down there as I could. The result is a rather unsightly but effective seal. We can’t ever open the patio door now, but you know. WHO NEEDS THE OUTDOORS ANYWAYS? Nature has betrayed me now, I’m done with nature.

Industrial fan

The jumbo fan thing that may or may not being doing any good drying the carpet

I then spent the next 2 hours crawling around the soaking wet floor on my hands and knees, sucking up as much water as I could with the Wet Vac tube. No attachments meant I could only work in 3-inch circles, so that was FUN. Crying, vacuuming, crying, vacuuming. I managed to suction up two 16-gallon buckets of water, but there was still just a ton of it. Eventually around 3am I decided there was nothing more I could do, so I emailed my landlady and went to bed.

This morning I had an email from our landlady asking if I could get some estimates from water removal companies and let her know. So I called around and everyone was swamped because of all the flash flooding. I got the first person out here that I could, a delightfully cheerful fellow named Eric who spoke Hebrew. Eric suctioned up a lot of water, sprayed some chemicals to prevent molding (I probably have cancer now) and left a giant fan blowing that will be my constant companion for the next 3 days. It seems like there’s still an awful lot of water in the floor, and I’m not sure how quickly, if at all, it’s drying, but I’m trying to remain optimistic.

In the meantime, I’d be thrilled if you’d send your warm, drying wishes. I’m at my wits end. And the rain keeps coming down.



5 Responses to “The Great Deluge of 2011”

  1. GG October 31, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    Oh MeMe!!! I can’t believe that! OMG!!!! Miami is the worst! Sounds like you kicked its butt but what a long night! Your article was wonderfully written if that is any consolation. Love you!

  2. Dad November 1, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    Bless your heart girl. What an adventure you have had while living in Miami. Good job handling it and it won’t be long until you are back in good ole Arkansas. Love ya

  3. Helen November 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Aw. That’s awful! The same thing happened to my little sister’s apartment when we had the Great Flood ’11 here in Fayetteville. They had four inches of standing water in every room of their one-story apartment. The apartment people got that taken care of (sort of) complete with nasty cancer sprays and all, but it was still raining, so it flooded again. It was so bad that her and her roommates couldn’t live in their apartment for a month (a month over finals week! So she moved in with us.)

    So, that sucks that basically the same thing is happening to you. I’m so sorry! I hope it dries up (and stops raining!) soon. Good luck with everything.

    • admin November 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

      Thanks Helen! Yeah, things are only getting worse, but I’m hoping something good will happen soon. I wish I had a sister like you to move in with! 🙂

      • Helen November 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

        I just read the next post. That’s awful. 😦 And you COULD move in with us, but I hardly think that would be a doable commute, haha.

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