All I want to do is drink beer and train like an animal.
- Rod Dixon

I'm feeling rough. I'm feeling raw. I'm in the prime of my life.

Thursday - 07/27/06 - In Which My House is Flooded

An email I sent to my friends that pretty much summerises my day.


My Dear Friends,

As you know yesterday Madison received 6 inches of rain in about 90 min. While I was away taking a math exam about 3 feet of water collected outside the door to my sublet which is about 4 feet below ground level. The weight of this water eventually tore the door off of it's frame and flooded my entire house with 3 feet of water.

That's my house:

You'll notice the fridge is in the living room.

It floated there.

On 3 feet of water.

The fridge is obscuring the view of my doors, which are further back in my living room. I have more pictures I took but no computer to load them onto (more on that later) so it'll be a while before those are up.

When I came home from my test after all the water had receded I came around the corned and just stopped. I didn't think it was possible to actually be stunned like in cartoons. I must have stood there in my parking lot for 2 full minutes before I snapped out of it and peaked inside.

The water and the mud it carried with it swept most of my furniture around the house (even into different rooms) and left it a muddy disaster. All the wiring in my apartment is fried and the carpet needs to be torn out and replaced. All the appliances were also removed and need to be replaced. The city declared my apartment untenable (effectively evicting me) until the wiring and the cleaning are completed.

JSM has taken good care of me and has put me up in a new apartment down the block and has said they will allow me to stay there till my lease expires the on the 14th.

My computer was completely submerged (thought the flat screen monitor is ok) and we will have to see if I can recover any of my files. My amp is also fried (though the keyboard is ok). My bike was completely submerged and a couple of furniture items ended up on top of it. I still have to check out the fork (carbon) but the bike overall needs a healthy helping of TLC at best. 6 semesters of text books I had been saving were soaked and when/if they dry I'll decide if they're even worth keeping anymore. My entire sheet music library except for my pop music and my personal compositions were destroyed. I haven't even thought about the little bit of furniture I own an all that. An incalculable number of little things (adapters, pens and pencils, cables, shoes and odds and ends) are lost or destroyed.

At this point I should mention that like everyone else in this part of the country I do not have flood insurance.

I will probably be dealing with this in some way or another for several months to come, little inconveniences mostly but a few big ones too.

However, my thoughts on this are that I am alive. I have a nice place to stay and most of my stuff (especially my clothes) escaped unharmed. Nothing caught fire when the wiring blew. The things that I lost are just "things" and "things" can be replaced. More than anything I have been inconvenienced and my day to day life has been disrupted. But this is the summer and I have a bit of time and patience at my disposal. Emotionally, I am unperturbed.

(This transition in the story here is awkward, forgive me)

Of course, when I first get home my cell phone battery is nearly flat. Once I managed to find a working power outlet on the side of my neighbors house I began calling people, lots of people, practically everyone I know.

First family, then insurance agents, then close friends, then friends with cars, friends who can lift heavy objects, friends who are level-headed and knowledgeable in times of crisis, friends with detergent, people I'm pretty sure don't even like me that much, friends just to talk to me as I stood in the middle of a state farm commercial rambling incoherently about mother nature's impressive renovations to my property.

Within a few hours Jessica Hsia and Lisa were helping me move and Caitlin (who lives in the building I moved into) was helping me with laundry and lending me the most random things I ended up losing.

The way I describe it is that I have half of everything I need to do anything. Shower? I've got soap but no shower curtain. I didn't even realize shower curtains were necessary for showering. Eat? Food but no pots. Eat a granola bar - there's no garbage can for the wrapper. It's only by the narrowest margins that Jessica reminded me to bring toilet paper.

But friends keep stepping up and helping me out.

Here's quarters for 3 loads of wash. (I only asked for one)

Here's my car key. Give it back when you're done. (I just wanted a hand moving some things)
Do you need helping moving out? (I hadn't even asked for anything)

And people keep calling, emailing and texting me. People I hardly know, from summer school classes, people I haven't heard from all summer, people I just met a few weeks ago. I'm trying to send this to everyone that's offered to help me out and as I keep writing I keep adding more and more people.

Everyone says the same thing "Anything, if you need anything." Maybe they don't mean it, but they keep offering. And it just keeps coming, people on the street, neighbors. I was pretty overwhelmed, I didn't even think I was that bad off. My guy Owen had 5 feet of water in his place and he lost EVERYTHING. I feel bad I haven't even checked up on him yet. ( you doing?)

So...thanks. Yeah, thanks. Thanks for the soap and the rides and the armloads of my heavy crap you carried, and checking in on me and not laughing at me too much but laughing with me just enough. Thanks for taking me to the fun bar that night - with the live band where we could all dance and thanks for all the beer.

I'm ok. When you lose so much it puts things in perspective. God, family, friends, life, the things you do to fill the day. You realize you have lost very little indeed. So thanks again - I'm really ok.

And my beltbuckle collection escaped unharmed.

Oh and Jess - your plants at my place are watered.

I have no idea why this email has gone on for so long.

I'm done now,
Alex C. Viana

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