Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Breaking Point

I consider myself a very cheerful, optimistic person in pretty much any situation. Even recently, despite the disaster that my life has been, I have chosen to remain positive and have been able to find the silver lining in these dark, dark gray clouds. Despite some very difficult days initially as well as some intermittent (and infrequent) sadness at really weird times, I have been doing a pretty good job of staying centered, balanced.

However, I reached my breaking point yesterday. And it wasn't pretty.

I'm about ready for this storm to be over.

It was a long day: I had a lengthy parent meeting after work, followed by a fast trip to the grocery store (to get ingredients for a soup I was making for a potluck today), an hour-long trip to my good friend's house for dinner in a torrential downpour, a 30-minute drive back across town for book club (still in the rain), and another 30-minute drive home. It was the second day in a row that I had been out of my house for 14+ hours.

I'm sure that utter exhaustion factored into what happened later in the evening.

So yesterday, I came home after book club (which was really fun), took off my wet boots, went down the hall to my bedroom to change into my jammies, and came back out into the living room. Huh, I thought. I could've sworn I took off my boots right when I walked into the apartment. Why is my floor wet?

I turned on the light:

I don't know if you can see this or not, but there is a lake covering half of my living room.

It wasn't just "a little" water. No, it was gallons of water.

And it didn't appear to be coming from the wall. There were random little puddles in the middle of the room. The water was coming up through the floorboards.

Keep in mind, it is after 10:00. My whole plan after book club was to hurriedly make the soup for today's potluck and then crash -- I was sooooo tired.

Well, that was not in the cards. First, I called our 24-hour emergency maintenance. The operator did not seem super excited about sending someone out, but I told him that it was a disaster and that I literally had no way of even starting to clean it up.

In the meantime, I did what any normal 32-year-old would do: I called my mom. I didn't even make it two minutes in the conversation before I started bawling my eyes out -- like, ugly-cry sobbing.

Seriously, what the heck?

There was NO reason that I needed to be upset about this. Sure, it was an inconvenience, but my stuff wasn't ruined, the cats were fine (albeit stressed), and I don't own the property and therefore have no responsibilities for it. This should've been something that I could just brush off.

But I didn't.

And I couldn't.

I think every ounce of stress -- and frustration and sadness and disappointment and anger -- came out at the exact same moment. Apparently it was all just pent up inside, and this was the trigger that released it all.

Lucky Mom who had to deal with it.

She is so wonderful at talking me off the ledge -- and so wise. She talked about how I have dealt with some major chaos (and a lot of crap) for the last couple of months and that I have been strong and collected throughout all of it, that it was time for me to let it all go, that everything would be fine.

It was a good thing my mom listened to my sob fest because otherwise Eric, my new best friend the on-call maintenance guy would've had to deal with it.

He came in and started tearing apart my floor before setting the wet-vac loose on it.

Eight gallons of water later, he called in reinforcements (my other new best friend, Mark from the floor restoration business). It took Eric a while to leave because I think he just felt so bad for me; I think he could also tell that I was extremely fragile and ready to start crying (again) any second. I thanked him profusely, but he just kept saying, "I didn't do anything! I'm so sorry! I feel like I just put a Bandaid on a gaping wound!"

And honestly, that's kind of what he did; but, that's all he could do. As soon as he left, the living room filled up with more water.

Mark finally arrived (around 12:45 a.m.) with some heavy-duty equipment. First, he brought his truck around the side of the building and ran a huge hose into my living room and woke up all the neighbors sucked out more water. Then he moved all of my brand-new furniture, tore up more of my flooring, set up a fan underneath the laminate as well as another fan across the room and the biggest dehumidifier I have ever seen (with a hose that connected it to my sink).

This equipment ran all night. (Mark left around 1:30.)

After no more than three hours of sleep, this is what I woke up to this morning: a mostly-dry floor, aside from a puddle around the de-humidifier.

Oh, and a stack of furniture.

While no tears escaped today, it was a close call on several occasions, most notably when I was sitting in the property manager's office, entirely stressed out about my living situation. Awesome.

The apartment is mostly cleaned up now, but there are still some random areas where a bit of water is seeping through the floorboards, there's still one bookshelf out of place since I have no idea what the heck to do with the dehumidifier, and pieces of my floor are still missing. I believe Mark will be back tomorrow to pick up his equipment and put the laminate back together, so hopefully I'll come home from work to an immaculately calm living space again.

Oh, and the normal, everyday maintenance dudes seem to think it's an issue with faulty drain pipes. Apparently there are holes in the one that's right outside my living room window, which means that the torrential downpour that happened yesterday basically just immediately entered my apartment. Hopefully that will be fixed, oh, like five hours ago.

So yeah.

But, I went to work. And I laughed (and commiserated) with the most wonderful colleagues/friends. And I smiled and goofed off with my students.

I told my kids about my horrible night, and I told them the very bare bones of my situation over the past few weeks, and I did so in hopes that they could see that struggles, hardships, and difficulties don't define a person, that positivity, cheerfulness, and a good, hopeful attitude are possible, even when things are pretty darn crappy.

And that is something that I need to continue to keep in mind for myself.

Things will get better.

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1 comment:

  1. Way to keep moving forward and allowing yourself have the grace to let it all come out. I've had three floods in my home (luckily clean water and not sewer) and have managed to lose it, come back together and see it as an opportunity to clear out the clutter, repaint, buy new furniture and be thankful that my insurance covered it. Your mom sounds awesome and you are right, things will and do get better. Hoping you had a better day!