Personal Disaster

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by publiusr, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    I haven't had the easiest life.

    My eyesight isn't what it used to be. High blood pressure, skipping heartbeat...etc.

    But I always had my books.

    Nicholas Basbanes once called the love of books A Gentle Madness.

    In his book Patience and Fortitude he talks about books ruined by water IIRC.

    Thus my story begins. Water and I don't get along, you see. Water always seems to know where my favorite books are.

    A long time ago, my Dad once bought me a book on galaxies at a yard sale. I had it propped against the wall up by the bed. Just under a window with an air conditioner. It rained one night, the water found a way in--and soaked the book. I've never heard of a water leak forming directly over a trash can, have you?

    After my parents died, I moved to a townhome. Workmen put my simple refrigerator in place of one that had a water and ice maker. After finding a floor full of water, I moved my refridge, to notice that the water hose that went to the previous tenant's reefer was simply tied in a knot.

    The poor dear had an aneurysm.

    That was leak number two.

    Oh, the way---my refer' crapped out about a year ago. No replacement. But I endured.

    Leak number three came when a water hose from my washer also suffered a case of atherosclerosis, and dutifully spilled its contents. The following winter, I cut the water off above the replacement hose, so as to not have the problem again. The washer never did anything but buzz when everything was turned back on.

    But, I coped.

    The fourth leak was the worst...for a long time that is.

    The one day of the year I was a hundred miles from home, the water heater went.

    The trip was to my Aunt's house. (Sister to my late mother). The only part of the conversation I had with her that I remember, was of her asking me how things were going:

    "Annie, everything would be all right if things would just quit tearing up."

    Some Bastard up there heard me....of that I'm convinced. I had put some print outs on the kitchen floor, temporarily, before I went on the trip.


    My Aunt? Yeah--she's dead too, now.

    But the toilets are the worst. The bottom floor toilet gave me fits, and ass-crack plumber never could get it sealed.

    But what happened to me this past Monday was pure disaster.

    I worked all night Sunday. I took two sleeping pills and headed for bed around Nine Monday morning. Around 1:30 PM (same day) I awoke to the sound of water gushing.

    "Is that rain, I said to myself?"

    Of course not.

    The hose to the upstairs toilet went. The two upper bedrooms have carpeting soaked, and a slow motion collapse of the sheet rock ceiling of the first floor began, and water started ruining my many, precious books...panels landing on my little toy ships---crushing them.

    I'm in credit card hell, all but maxed out after health scares and a woman two doors down who left--but whose debt remains with me. I live in a swamp now, hot and humid. Water got into the central heat/AC that I didn't use much, due to freon leaks.

    Something similar happened to poor Henry Petroski, who came home to a house full of water.

    Ironically, he is an engineer specializing in failure analysis.

    I know that because a magazine called AMERICAN SCIENTIST (Sigma Xi of which he is a Member) had an article of his in it:

    At least that didn't get wet.

    It was in my car.
  2. Gary Mitchell

    Gary Mitchell Admiral Admiral

    May 16, 2001
    ¯\_(°·O)_/¯ Florida
    That's horrible. I'm sorry that happened. Do you have any homeowner's insurance?
  3. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    Yes, but a 2,700 buck deductible. I'm actually afraid to tell them. Down here insurance and home repair folks all have these side deals, where they get inspector buds to force people out to force their hand.

    Home repair rip-offs abound.

    My late father was a sucker for them, by the by.

    Once, some shyster told him "we had some asphault left over from a job site, and we were wondering if..."

    Oldest scam in the book. My Dad was thinking he'd pour some down in one of the holes, pay him 50 bucks, or something.
    He was a simple man.

    Next thing you know, the dude gets in several trucks--lays asphault on mud (no gravel--that having been shoved aside). A big mound blocks the drive--and bossman wants his $6,000. I came by and told him he'd get his money when the job was finished.

    And then there was the vinyl siding man who put his product on the eaves of my Dad's brick house and charged him for what a house fully clad in siding would have cost.

    Trust no one.

    If you ever leave home, have the water cut off to your house. No wait--that might kill the water heater.

    Check hoses. Never have upstairs plumbing of any kind. I never used my upstairs toilet. Maybe the lack of use weakened the hose, or some cleaning products that go in the tank could have eaten away at it.

    If only I had woke up sooner--or turned the little knob off to one side--that would have prevented everything.

    The whole idea of upstairs plumbing is insane. If it leaks--where is that water going to go? In heating cooling vents, of course.

    If I ever come into a lot of money, I'm going to have my own house built.

    The house will be on a hill. Walls two feet of steel. Shelves everywhere on the first floor.

    In a separate building, down a hill and slightly below, will be kitchen, bathroom, Central air--all in a way that allows workmen to fix things without actually going into the house proper, where they can make snide comments about your starship models.

    The bathroom will have a drain, so if plumbing fails, the water can't pool, and goes outside, down the blanking hill instead. Vents ABOVE the bathroom--in the bloody ceiling where it should go.
  4. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Jul 1, 2004
    Hotel California
    I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. What a terrible hassle.

    As for the books, choose the ones that mean the most to you for special treatment, and discard the rest. Even if they eventually dry out, their presence will only promote mold growth among your other books.

    The best way to dry out the books would obviously be to pay money for some professional to do it. But most of us can't afford that. Here's how to do it yourself. Rinse them thoroughly in clean water to rid them of any contaminants from the flood waters, then separate the pages in blocks, maybe 10-30 pages at a time, separating the blocks with paper towels. Dry the books standing upright, not lying down. Put them in front of fans if possible. Try to keep temperature and humidity down (obviously difficult in your case). Change out wet paper towels with dry ones every so often. As the pages start to dry, separate out smaller chunks, again with paper towels between, until eventually you have each page on its own. Let the pages dry completely before moving on, which may take days. Once dry, remove the paper towels and lay the book flat. Except, it won't lay flat now. Place heavy things on it. Leave it in this state for days, if not weeks. Your book will never be the same as it was. There will be warping. It will probably never lie totally flat again. But it will be saved, it will be readable, and it hopefully won't experience mold growth.

    If you don't have enough room to treat all of your prized books at once, place some in a freezer. This will "pause" the mold and mildew growth process, buying you some time.
  5. MANT!

    MANT! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 14, 2005
    in Atomo-vision
  6. Doom Shepherd

    Doom Shepherd Commodore Commodore

    Mar 8, 2011
    Proxy Sever 804
    Man, I'm so sorry. You are living one of my worst nightmares. I guess I'm pretty fortunate that my house is laid out in such a way that only a roof leak could damage my books... of course, I've HAD a leaky roof, but at the time it only leaked onto an interior floor and an external wall. But it was a very persistent leak, took several tries to seal, and to this day I watch the area every time it rains, afraid that it will come back. And I have nightmares where it does.

    Fucking water.
  7. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Just Another Product of Today Moderator

    Jan 10, 2003
    Standing on the Edge, Face Up
    I'm really sorry you've had to go through this, publiusr. It sounds like a nightmare.
  8. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 6, 2011
    I haven't had the easiest life, either. We all have sad stories. I dropped out and took night classes after beginning tops in private, Catholic school. I was beaten regularly as a child. I am pansexual and didn't embrace it until 23. I inherited my father's genetics concerning psychotic symptoms. My father was gone from 1994-1998, with the exception of about six months, and I hated him for it. He died in 2006 at the age of 55.

    The seminal event in my life was becoming homeless in 2008. I was suicidal at the time and struggled from moment to moment between death and life.

    It opened my heart to those struggling without a home. It softened me to others' struggles. It hardened my resolve and built a fire that has yet to meet a snuffer that would make any difference.

    I won't go into what I have done for others, but I have done for them, sacrificed for them. Tried to give them a leg up into prosperity and security with mixed results.

    The water the boils the egg, softens the potato. I can't replace your books, your loved ones, your home, but know this idiot who has lost a few things in this world is with you tonight. Praying for you. Thinking of you. Wants you to know you are not alone.

    If you want a book recommendation or two, I'll sit awhile and chat about them. I offer my hope, and desires for you to find happiness and peace.

    Take care. Message me here if you want to chat.
  9. The Lensman

    The Lensman Commodore Commodore

    Apr 27, 2001
    The Lensman
    Man, I’m so sorry to hear that, publiusr! Hopefully you can salvage some of them at least.
    BillJ likes this.
  10. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 4, 2003
    I'm sorry you're having to deal with all that.
  11. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    Many of them were cheap discards, and in piles so really the top most had effects. I was really trying to outpace the falling chunks of dry wall that had that awful, stippled paint that looks like rug dandruff now. If nothing else, by keeping all--I know what can be replaced down the road....if ever. ISBN and all. So a sigh of relief.

    I do try to maintain a sense of humor about things--but I had yet another setback today.

    The leaks continue..

    This time, the car.

    I shit you not.

    For proof, you may contact the Clay Public Library (I'm at Pinson now)
    --ask about the guy who opened the hood of his car and got hit in the face with a needle thin stream of gas'

    Heat being what it was, I wanted to spend time in a place with nice A/C if nothing else. I like to think I can write reasonably well, and showed the nice ladies at the Clay library a print out of what happened. I left the car running, because that is what you do when you check transmission fluid levels. All cars leak. Oh--never let a grease monkey drain your transmission. It is never right after they do that. Just keep adding. They may want to keep you out of the bay. So's they can add metal shavings.

    The insult to injury (or vice versa) was when I was going to check the transmission fluid, and a thiiner than squirt-gun line of gas hit me.

    With a bit of scotch tape over the needle thin hole, I managed to limp into my favorite auto repair shop:

    They only charged 20 bucks, which was about all the cash I had on me. (I got the parts myself. What was left over, I donated to the shop)

    They are one of the few folks I have learned to trust. (my largest purchases on cards was always car repair--but not there)
    I still owe card debt for car repairs of cars I don't even have anymore.


    I think this second setback was punishment for yesterday (Thur.)

    I got one of my meager paycard deposits, and most of that went to a couple of my many bills. This at the Center Point post office--right down the road from the Pinson Libary here. I always do Money orders, not checks. Of course, I've been burned on those too--like a thief from STAR TECH in Dunlap TN in the 1990s, but that is another tale.

    I had forgotten something, and was annoyed with myself--and I no doubt re-entered the lobby with a scowl on my face.

    Then, I heard some kind of shriek, as from a young child, whose voices are always set for "spine lock"
    And it found my last nerve.

    A feedback loop formed, vulture eye style. The louder the cry, the more annoyed I became, wondering just where this screaming was coming from--and what was causing it.

    It was then that I saw, in the corner, a young girl. She was being ignored by her busy Mom and hiding behind her slightly older, expressionless sister--who looked a bit like the female antagonist from the movie Us.

    The least girl was evidently petrified--to my great shame. I had frightened her.

    She probably had nightmares later that evening of a demon (a Tulpa if you will), wearing my face.

    And so, as penance, I open the car hood today--get a good blinding spritz of refreshing 89 octane--and the opera buffa continues....

    So, forget about me, and pray that my guardian angel will finally overcome her substantial drinking problem.
  12. Gary Mitchell

    Gary Mitchell Admiral Admiral

    May 16, 2001
    ¯\_(°·O)_/¯ Florida
    I hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
    publiusr and Avro Arrow like this.
  13. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 26, 2002
    Houston, we have a problem...
    Don't feel too lonely. I've had two years of off and on "fun".

    Harvey (the glorious hurricane that decided NOT to hurry) flooded the house and both cars. I tear my left rotator cuff during the last bit of post repair clean-up. Then, my mother starts showing clear signs of Alzheimer's (and dementia) and finally, I loose "The Bandit" two weeks back...?!?

    Still, wow dude...?
  14. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2001
    Covington, Ky. USA
    Sell the town home and move into something smaller and more manageable?
  15. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    I don't know what I'm going to do, what with card debt. We are all suffering. All the best to you--and thank you for listening.
  16. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 26, 2002
    Houston, we have a problem...
    Do some checking on the actual value of the townhouse and then see what a realtor would recommend.

    (Obviously, be careful about just taking their advise at face value - could be a little bit skewed...)
  17. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 6, 2011
    Debt Consolidation or debt settlement may help you, if in America.
  18. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 1, 2011
    milky way, outer spiral arm, Sol 3
    that sucks royally! I've had a flood in my apartment a few years ago but fortunately my landlord's insurance payed for everything.
    It's most important now to get everything dry so as to avoid mould.
    Could you give us a list of books that got damaged beyond rescue? Mamy of us have been thinking of reducing the number of our books and maybe you've lost one someone else would like to give away.
    Gary Mitchell likes this.
  19. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    Some of the workman trod on some of my minis the dry wall ceiling didn't break--as well as breaking a closet door...
    I can't win.