Man, yesterday was an interesting day! This is a story that is only funny way after the fact…
On Tuesdays, Andrew and I work all day doing education/recreation activities downstairs. After the kids leave at 5:00, we usually get about an hour to relax and then head right back downstairs to do youth recreation time from 6:00 – 8:00. Yesterday was no different. We were are all downstairs with the kids having a good time playing random games. I believe sometime around 7:00, I came upstairs to use the bathroom. I was in and out quickly so I could get back downstairs, not really paying attention.
Around 7:45 or so, Felicia went upstairs to check her email and go to the bathroom. She noticed water in the hallway and thought it may be the washing machine, but then heard the toilet running. She ran downstairs to tell Andrew what had happened. At this point, I was standing outside collecting basketballs from the kids as they were getting ready to leave for the night while simultaneously talking to Jessica on the phones about our plans to go to San Jose today. One of the kids pointed up towards our bedroom. There was a stream of water flowing down. This was bad news. I stopped mid-sentence in my conversation with Jessica and said, “we’ve got a big problem here, I have to call you back!”
Now I had to get all these kids out of here… and they won’t hesitate to let you know that it’s only 7:50, not 8:00. As I am wrapping things up downstairs, Andrew comes running back down and tells me the apartment is flooded. It was hard to really imagine what he meant by “flooded” until I got up there myself. What a nightmare.
I walked inside and the water was flowing 2/3 the way down the hallway. As I made my way through the water in the hall, I quickly realized that two of the bedrooms, the bathrooms and the laundry area had over an inch of water throughout the entire space. Mack was slippin and slidin all over the place, curious as ever. We quickly put him in the first bedroom, the only one without any water in it yet. We made a wall of towels at the edge of the water down the hall so it wouldn’t go any further. Ronald, the guard, came to help along with Pabel, the maintenance guy. Pabel happened to be dropping off his car for the evening and Andrew asked him for some help. One of the teenage guys also came in to assist. Everyone was sweeping water to one area and Pabel was scooping it up in buckets to dump in the shower. I was grabbing things up off the floor as fast as I could. Water was everywhere. We had to move furniture all around the rooms and hallway to try and soak up all of it. We were flying through towels.
Meanwhile, the phone is ringing off the hook and I finally realized it’s probably Jessica calling back to make sure no one is headed to the hospital and nothing is on fire. I explained to her that there was water everywhere. She kind of laughed at first and then I said, “Jessica, you are not understanding me right now… I am standing in a lake of water inside the apartment. There is literally water in almost the entire apartment right now.” Needless to say, she let me off the phone real quick.
During the chaos, I said to Felicia multiple times “I just don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.” When in doubt, laugh. After such a long day with the kids and then this, if I had started to cry at any point, I wouldn’t have stopped. So we laughed. If you can imagine such a thing, all 6 of us were able to get the floors more or less free of water in about an hour. When we initially came upstairs to the mess, I thought it’d be an all night affair. After we finished getting everything cleaned up, Andrew and I were talking to Jaikel, the teenager who came to help us. We asked him how he would describe all of this and he answered “un desastre” (a disaster). Right, he was. We’re still not done washing all those towels!