Monday, September 12, 2011

The year of the flood

The new school year started out great-the preschool classrooms I provide speech therapy are challenging-but manageable.  I knew all the students-had plans in my head for the 10 non-communicators.  I went in on a day off to my speech room and scrubbed my floor, organized my desk and got things ready.  That first day, as he kids arrived and were obviously happy to be back.

All was good. 

For 10 minutes.

That's when a pipe burst.  There was a woosh-and a jet engine sound...which was water spewing out of the wall in the bathroom at an incredible rate.  Within one minute, water was pouring down the hall into the rooms-including mine.

The next few minutes are a blur.  I was running at full speed around the room, unplugging/picking up electrical cords, anything not plastic was (literally) tossed onto any shelf, ledge, table, desk....I was dragging my (now full) tables onto the tile, trying to get the very large area rug up.   I have a very large speech room by most standards-full of stuff collected by my predesessor over the 30 years prior to her retirement (plus the 7 boxes of my stuff I brought with me-2 of which I don't have room to unpack).  It's wonderful to have all that stuff--except when water is gushing in and suddenly in all four corners.

In the end, only one classroom was spared--the teacher had enough time (she's at the end of the hall) and ingenuity to shut her door and pile up diapers as a dam (it also helped she is apparently the "highest room" in the hallway after years of the foundation settling).  Everything else-2 inches of water covered it before they found the water shut off (we lease the basement of a church-who (unfortunately on this day) has a new custodian-and of all places-the water shut off is in the ceiling hidden somewhere-somewhere no one could find.)

That wasn't the worst of it.  My room dried (after lots of shop vac use, moving every shelf and cabinet to the center of the room and running fans for 2 days.  I had gotten the carpet up in time.
It was the classroom causing the problem.  The carpet-older then the hills and when it was wet and drying-it smelled. A horrid gagging odor.  It didn't dry out.

We held class in that odor.  Barricading my door and the spared classroom against the worst of it.  We used my room as a classroom some days, combined kids on others. It was awful.  A humid mess.

That's when we were told we were moving.  We would have to pack up one day, move and unpack the next-and somehow see the kids. I am not even joking.  The reluctance to cancel class was amazing.

Until my supervisor came a week later.  She got one whiff of the smell (that, btw, we had been telling her about for one full week) and cancelled class for 3 days.  She had us go sit in another school-doing paperwork/busy work/whatever. She gave our employer 3 days to figure out what to do. Move us-or tear up the carpet.  They thankfully chose plan B (we don't want to move.)

The kids came back today-to rooms that smell better-but to rooms still disorganized from the chaos.  I am still searching for things I use often-that were thrown out of reach of the water or the little hands that touched every square inch of my room during the time their class was held in my room :)

The last 2 weeks have made my Noah's Ark curtains hanging in my speech room:

ps-I have pictures, including the "diaper dam",  I took with my phone-but I have an ancient phone and when I send them to my email they are the body of the email-not an attachment.

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