June 9, 2010

Not a Day of Rest

Posted in Cleaning, Family, Home, Weather tagged , , , , , , at 7:07 am by Liliana

The power of water

The power of water

Despite all our hard work in the garden, no one got much sleep Saturday night.

It rained. It poured. Thunder. Lightening. Enormous amounts of water. Wind. Tornado sirens. I am not sure any of us even fell asleep.

Blurry eyed, I descended to the kitchen early Sunday morning. The rain had stopped. I was happy to discover that we still had power as I pressed the on button on the coffee maker. I reviewed the damage in the front of the house as I retrieved our Sunday paper. Branches were strewn across the lawn, mulch had been washed away, but all in all, it was not too bad.

People started coming down as the smell of fresh coffee wafted to the second floor. Everyone was sore. My father’s back hurt, Nana’s knees were in bad shape, Joe’s arms were battered, Branka’s shoulders were crushed from carrying heavy bags, and I could hardly get up from the soft couch. Karen felt lightheaded and had a fever. Nicky and Sam had nasty colds. We all agreed that this was going to be a day of rest.

As we lingered over hot tea, coffee and toasted bagels, discussing the news and commenting on the oil spill, Kaya whined begging for a walk (or at least some coffee and bagels!) My father and I volunteered to take her and I slowly headed to the basement to get my warm pants from the laundry room. It had gotten quite a bit cooler overnight.

At the top of the stairs, I stopped. Our basement was flooded. Several inches of water covered our finished, carpeted and furnished basement. We had placed boxes of Joe and Branka’s books (many signed and rare copies) and belongings all over the place, and have not had the time to unpack them or to lift them up higher. Everything was humid, and wet.

The water had nowhere to go. The sump pump, overwhelmed by the amount of water pouring in, was simply inundated and the motor burnt out.

I tried not to take this personally, but feeling sorry for oneself comes instinctively to us all. I called up and was joined by the rest of my family. Disbelief. Anger.

And then we got to work.

Books were our biggest worry. While Branka and Jeff dealt with the sump pump, Joe and I unpacked and shelved the books, allowing them to start drying or at least be out of the water. We unpacked boxes, carried load after load upstairs and threw things away. Blankets, linens, clothes were all drenched. We started a load of laundry. A bag containing my mother’s old lace was seeping yellow water.

It was not a fun day. Jeff called the insurance company and catastrophe cleaning, but no one had time for us. Our whole area was in bad shape, some places (where the tornado had landed) much worse off than we. I wanted to cry.

We got through the day, I am  not sure how. We cleaned, carried heavy buckets of water, and our ankles got numb from standing in cold rainwater for hours. Jeff bought a new pump at the hardware store, then worked on replacing the old one. The water finally started receding.

Sunday was not a day of rest. It was a day of backbreaking labor. But as I got ready for work on Monday morning, much more tired and sore than I had been the previous Friday, the sun was finally shining. Forecast for the rest of the week – rain!

May 12, 2010

A Rainy Day in May

Posted in Weather, Work tagged , , , at 7:49 am by Liliana

A Rainy Day in May

A Rainy Day in May

I woke up this morning to a cold, windy and rainy day. After a hot shower, I make a cup of coffee and prepare my favorite breakfast: a bowl of yogurt with strawberries and blackberries. Neither Sam, nor Nicole, has to go to school early, so we didn’t have our usual morning rush. It is nice to linger over the National Geographic magazine for a few minutes.

Mike (my oldest son) and his girlfriend Karen are leaving for a trip to the East Coast today, so I give them hugs and wish them a good trip. Mike has to decide where he wants to study law in the fall, so they are going to visit, meet people, make decisions and hopefully find an apartment. In August, Jeff and I will be helping them with the move.

I drive to work through torrents of rain. Along the way, I stop at a supermarket and buy a coffee cake and fresh fruit for our weekly departmental meeting. By the time I get back into the car, my hair is soaking wet.

I am usually at work before 8 am, and being a morning person, this is my favorite time of day. I am one of the earlier employees to arrive, and after refilling my coffee cup, I sit at my computer and do the most exacting tasks of the day. I can get more done at that quiet, early hour, than later, when things get busy and disrupted by many meetings.

At our department meeting, we go over the accomplishments of the past week, the goals for the next week, and discuss solutions for a list of projects.

At noon, I go to lunch with my friend Josh. Things have been very busy at RepairClinic lately, so we haven’t had a chance to catch up on happenings in our lives for a long time. We run to the car, and are again surprised by the coldness of the rain and fierceness of the wind. It seems like a good day for something hot and comforting. We go to a Middle Eastern restaurant and I order a cup of lentil soup, a hummus sandwich and a cup of tea. Josh orders a thin crust vegetarian pizza. And we talk. Josh tells me about his little girl, Esme; her love of reading, piano playing, her friendships and adventures. I tell him about my kids and their summer plans.

The afternoon is long, but I surprise myself by finishing a difficult and elaborate project. The rain doesn’t stop (or even slow down) so I cannot take my customary walk around our building. I love that walk at 2 pm. It rejuvenates my mind and refreshes my body for the rest of the day. But not today.  I pour another cup of tea and do the best I can.

When I leave my office building at 4:30 pm, the rain is coming down in torrents. It seems like time has not advanced at all since this morning, like the day has collapsed upon itself.  It has been a shivery, blustery, bleak, stormy day from beginning to end.

I very much hope for better weather tomorrow.