So now i’m standing in my open garage with my hands on either side of my head, a deer-in-the-headlights look on my face, uttering “fuckfuckfuck!”. It might not have helped, but uttering “Dagnabbit!” wouldn’t have helped either.
Nothing worse than that feeling of absolute uselessness while something catastrophic is happening right before your eyes. It was like fate took the form of a giant middle finger and was waving it right through the waterfall.
At this point, the neighbor has a crowbar and has found the main shut off by the street and is digging through 5 inches of near-frozen dirt a landscaper piled onto/through the valve cover. I asked her if I should call 911 and she said “yes!”
I called, the operator informed me they unfortunately had many calls that same day for this exact reason. .. I felt marginally better that i’d gotten something right. I knew where the numbers on the phone were.
I’m now chucking anything and everything from the garage onto the lawn and driveway in a feeble effort to save the pictures and paintings and linens and anything else I can lift. (I told my husband later, “They didnt get ruined from the water, but they might be shattered from saving them from the water.”)
The water is now across the garage and to the rear door on the other side. It’s begun to flow sideways and beyond my own effort of clearing a path.
I’m defeated. At this point i’ve reached my husband and he’s on his way home. But first he has to pick up our son because this is the timing of my life. It had to happen while-thankfully-my daughter was asleep, but right before I get her up to leave and go pick up my son… who goes to school waaaaay over in our old neighborhood and out of our current district 10 miles away.
I go in to check if my kid has woken up yet and hear nothing. Back outside to mayhem.
The neighbor’s dad has arrived, God bless ‘im, and takes out a gigantic wrench to crank the shutoff. Something I never would have been able to do had I even known where to find a wrench in my own garage.
The fire trucks pull up just as the water shuts off. There is a stream of water running down the driveway now.
They assesed the damage, talked me down from my ledge, let me know the proper way to do it if there’s a ‘next time’, and were altogether very friendly. I didnt even feel overly stupid for having to call them. They warned me to be extra careful as we cleaned up because all the water would freeze within an hour or so. “You dont want to end up out here on your back.”
There was a great opportunity for a joke there but at that point I was too brain damaged to capitalize.
The neighbor and her dad disappear, my husband pulls up with the kid, and now we get to clean up.
My husband informed me as we pick through all the damaged boxes there was certainly an easier way for me to get him to throw some of his crap out. I’m not so sure. About the 98th time I had to bend over and stand back up, I realized my back, along with my brain, was done for the night. I hobble up the steps and into the house and get under the nearest blanket. My husband and I were shell shocked and silent for the next thirty minutes. My mother, the savior, has managed to feed us all, and get the kids into bed. (thanks Mom!!)
I realize after i’ve thawed that all the aches and pains of getting old suck. My back was throbbing, my head hurt, and to top it all off, my vajay jay feels like it’s going to fall to the floor every time I stand up and walk around. Having never had a groin pull, my husband informs me this is a normal sensation. All I could imagine was being six months pregnant and feeling like my uterus was going to slide right down my leg. I couldn’t fathom at what point this may have happened, and then I remember my initial “jog” to the neighbor’s house involved me jumping across her runoff ditch in her front yard.
For some reason, my husband chuckled at this statement. He obviously does not fear for his life enough. I might just start sleeping with scissors beside my bed.
After hours of re-boxing, unboxing, and trashing stuff in 30 degree weather, the end result was frozen toes and legs, sore backs and groins and heads, a cleaner garage and an appreciation for the minimal damage incurred. Not to mention a slight pang for the freedom of renting.
p.s. Our appreciation for the timing of all of this was made much more so by tonight’s snow fall. EEk !