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Rain Forest Living Room

Have you ever seen water dripping from your ceiling? I have. Twice. Let me start by recommending that you try to never experience this occasion first hand. It’s not one of those times in life where you stand around saying, “Oh look hon, how interesting. Who knew there was a way for the water to get into the light fixture?” Upon seeing that, my reaction is probably best described as full blown panic. Outside of athletics, it’s the fastest I’ve ever moved. Which is funny when you think about it. It’s not like I’m going to out run the water.

 The first time we enjoyed this sensation was when our large bathtub overflowed. A bath had been started, and then everyone promptly forgot a bath had been started. I remember hearing a strange sound while I was in our office, but didn’t think anything about it. After a while, I went to find the source of the sound. You’d think I would know the sound of water trickling through the ceiling and walls. But, it’s kind of like the smell of marijuana smoke (no, I’ve never smoked it; have you never been to a concert before?), you can’t really know it until it happens to you. Seeing the small lake in our bathroom was shocking enough. Seeing water coming from the ceiling downstairs is worse. And knowing the water made it’s way down to the finished basement made my toes go numb. Fortunately that time turned out pretty harmless. My wife and I poked some holes in the ceiling to let the water out and no real damage done. We even fixed the damage ourselves.

 The second time wasn’t such a cake walk. The funny thing (and by funny I mean really, incredibly frustrating) was I heard the same trickling sound again. And ignored it, again. This time a toilet had overflowed for twenty minutes. Once again: bathroom, small lake, shock. Adding to the fun, the lake had begun to form a river and snake its way into the hall and our daughter’s room. Thankfully, my wife did not panic. I cannot say the same for me. Once I had the toilet stopped and started throwing towels down (that’s like trying to stop a tidal wave by putting up a couple of traffic cones), she realized we need to yank up the carpet. I have never become so adept at something so quickly. Pulling up carpet is such a liberating feeling, until you remember there is nothing actually under the carpet. I made short work of it, however. Now that we had dealt with the upstairs, we had another problem arising, the ceiling below.

 Because water and gravity have a good working relationship, they decided we needed a rain forest in our living room. Let me set the stage for you. Our living room has a box beam ceiling. The beams are actually hollow inside. What a perfect place for the water to flow. And the beams have plenty of small cracks for the water to continue its work with gravity. So, we soon had a dozen different spots dripping. The kids brilliantly found pans to be receptacles. My ingenious idea was to Shop Vac the water out. So I stood there, pointing a vacuum at the drips, thinking I was actually making progress. The water thought otherwise:

Me: It’s seems to be working, hon. 
Water: Does he really think this is working? 
Me: It seems to be dripping less over here. 
Water: I’ll drip more on the other side and see what he does. 
Me: I’m going to move the vacuum to another spot. This one seems to be nearly done. 
Water: Wait for I’ll drip more back over here. 
Me: Son of a... 
Water: I love my life.
 After vacuuming our ceiling for more than 30 minutes (OK, that just sounds dumb, doesn’t it), I relented and called the experts. Needless to say, they did not vacuum the ceiling. It took them less than an hour to figure out the places the water had touched. They brought in a dozen industrial fans, three industrial dehumidifiers and some machine that sounded like it was going to take flight at any moment. Nothing says welcome home like the constant hum of industrial machinery. Which we heard for the next two days. All the time. As a bonus, we were able to turn the heat off because the equipment generated enough to make the house feel like Hawaii.

Next will come the process of remodeling. I’m sure that will generate plenty of writing material...I mean interesting stories. Although, I prefer the bare plywood floor look. For some reason, the rest of the family wants to put down new carpet. I really can’t understand why. The plywood goes with everything. 


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