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Jewish Journal

At Least Noah Had Fair Warning

by Mihal Levy

September 1, 2010 | 11:30 am

Imagine waking up in a wading pool that is ankle-deep in your own bedroom.  Then, finding out that the water you are stepping in is sewage.  This is what I had to deal with almost two weeks ago, and the ordeal is still far from over.

I didn’t even have fair warning to grab two of everything and pack up my ark.  (Doesn’t everyone have an emergency ark for times like these?)  Honestly, I did have some warning at my husband’s expense, since he was the first one to get up out of our bed and step into the wading pool that used to be our carpeted bedroom floor.  As he hobbled across our room to find dry land (or carpet, rather) and figure out what possibly could have happened (not knowing at the time he was stepping in sewage), I was planning my escape off the bed and out the bedroom door to check on my son in the next room.  Thankfully, the wading pool had stopped at the entrance to his bedroom.  He was safe, dry and sound asleep.

My husband and I laid towels over our carpet to step on, like cobblestones across a pond.  Not a great idea.  The towels were instantly drenched.  Apparently, a sewage pipe had burst into our master bathroom, covering our entire bedroom and closet and making its way down the hallway toward the rest of the house.  This all happened while we were sleeping, which wasn’t very long.  I specifically remember going to bed in the wee hours of the morning trying to get things ready for my brother, who notified us the day before that he would be coming out with his family for a few days from back east.  I had set the alarm early to pick him up from the airport, so the ordeal happened in less than three hours. 

I left my son and husband at home to deal with the flood (not knowing at the time that it was sewage, or the extent of damage) and went to pick up my brother at LAX.

Needless to say, later that day the smell came through and my brother bought a return flight home (a sewage flood was probably not on his itinerary for a sunny Cali vacation).  We shuffled all day between a local hotel and our drenched, foul-smelling home, dealing with the damage.

In less than twenty-four hours a flood came and went, as did my brother.  Our belongings were packed and raised off the floor; a sanitation team came out, as well as a carpet cleaner and plumber.  Our home felt like Grand Central Station, but looked and smelled more like a crack house.

The next day it was decided that all the carpeting was to be redone and could not be saved from the flood o’ feces.  (Well, duh.)  I was relieved, until I found out just how much work lay ahead of us.  We had just a few hours to pack up all of our belongings and remove all the furniture from our home.  We (with help) dragged all our furniture outside (yes, outside) as new carpet was installed.  Later that night, after all of the new carpet had been laid, our furniture and belongings were brought in and stacked all over the place. 

It has since taken me all this time to “unpack” (funny, because I am still in the same place) and recover.  All has been put back into place except for our bedroom, which looks like a giant storage unit.  Since most of our furniture was covered in, well…feces, we threw it out.  So now we are sleeping on our mattress on the floor with books and clothes piled up around us.  A trip to Ikea is due, but who has the energy after this endless ordeal.

The flood was a reminder that everything is temporary and can be gone without warning.  Why do we spend so much time complaining or wishing instead of appreciating what we have?

Ironically, a few days before the feces flood, I wished for something.  I told my husband that I wished we were able to get new carpet, since ours looked awful.  (Okay, awful may have been a little harsh.)  I learned my lesson…be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it…in a way that you least expected, and with much hassle.  Had I known, I would have settled for our old carpet. 

And just when I thought it was all over, an inspection today revealed the need to redo the dry wall in our master bathroom and closet due to water damage (a.k.a. sewage damage), which will take place this Friday right before Shabbat and a long, supposedly relaxing, Labor Day weekend.  Wish me luck – I hope this is the end.  (On second thought - no more “wishing.”)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Mihal Levy used to collect degrees as a hobby.  After receiving her B.S. and M.S. degrees, she worked as a psychotherapist and research scientist before continuing her hobby of...

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