Monday, August 17, 2015

The Independence Day Deluge

Swatantra Diwas Mubarak Ho!

That's Hindi for "Happy Independence Day" according to friend of mine. India celebrated this past Saturday.

We weren't really doing anything for Independence day. For me, it was also 'my family is having a family reunion today in America and I couldn't make it' day. I didn't really feel like doing anything.

We did, however, consider going out to pick up my glasses that I'd ordered the week before, but then it started raining and we thought, nah. I checked the weather and it said it would rain all day, so we were definitely staying home.

Which was really providential.

off our living room balcony, this is the front of our building and the road Saturday. Ryan took this picture just after this story.
We hire a guy who comes in once a week and does some cleaning and sweeps and mops all the floors. He had left about twenty minutes earlier when I suddenly turned and saw a river spilling out of my bedroom door and into the living room!

We've been in this apartment for a year and a half and that had never happened. I called out to Ryan and KC, our house guest, and ran to our bedroom balcony. A waterfall was pouring off the roof! It was hitting the balcony railing and half the water was bouncing onto the balcony. There is a tiny drain on our balcony but it was totally overwhelmed to deal with this amount of water.

I ran back inside. I was wearing jeans that were now plastered so I quickly shed them and put on my bathing suit bottom as we entrusted Dreamer to KC's care. I grabbed a foam floor mat and went outside to try to use it to divert the waterfall so it would all bounce off the mat and away from our balcony. Ryan grabbed a wiper (like a giant squeegee on a broomstick handle) and was trying to get rid of the water that was already inside.

The foam was woefully inadequate. I tried to call into the house, but I couldn't be heard over the roar of the waterfall. So I ran in and asked KC to ask Ryan to get me the umbrella. I was able to use the umbrella, propped up by the foam, to deflect the water. Then I set my task to trying to deal with the water that was already in the house.

I was laughing at this point. I ran inside and changed my top to my bathing suit top and was laughing that God had brought a water park attraction to our house!

I took a 'mug' (a small plastic pitcher) and was bailing the balcony. Ryan came out and saw me doing that and started using the wiper to push the water back on to the balcony. I used the force of his pushing to get more in my mug and threw it over the side, cupful after cupful. He then said let's trade and I started doing what he was doing and he started bailing... then I pushed the wiper really hard and instead of just sending a gentle wave of water towards the drain, I sent a huge burst- right over the side!

'That works better,' Ryan observed, meaning it was more efficient than the mug. 'I'll do that.'

'Okay,' I said, 'I'm going to the roof.'

'Oh, don't!' Ryan protested. 'It's badly waterlogged.'

'I'm going,' I said confidently. After all, it was supposed to rain all day. Sure, most of it was being deflected by the umbrella now, but that umbrella was taking quite a beating and still probably 5-10% of the waterfall was still making it to the balcony. If I could figure out a way to cut that down upstairs, why not?

So I went upstairs... giggling. I could tell it was totally a God given joy. Normal human emotion should have me stressed out and freaking out. My apartment was flooded! But all I could feel was 5joy. I prayed thanksgiving to God as I walked through the inches of standing water on the roof, looking for a way to fix it. I bee-lined over to the part of the roof that was right above our balcony, the only part of our roof that had a railing inside of a wall, thus making it the waterfall point.

There were some flowerpots near there, so I started lining them up against the railing to redirect the flow. I didn't try to block it, instead looking over the side and just narrowing the waterfall so it was all directed straight at the umbrella. Now the only water that would be falling onto the balcony would be from wind or ricochet.

Then I looked for the roof's drains. Shouldn't they be working? There were three.

The first one I looked at was partially blocked.. with cat poop. Ew. I knew a cat frequented our roof because I had seen it from time to time and this was evidence (and it used to scare my cats, but now avoids our stairwell.) I certainly wasn't going to touch that! I looked around for something and saw a broken clothespin. I held one end and stuck the other end into the vertical grating, pushing it up and down, freeing each grate. It cleared it, but the poop just swirled a few inches away. I'd have to come back with a better tool to keep it from re-clogging.

I then went and looked at the second drain. I used my clothes pin, but truthfully it wasn't really clogged. I wasn't sure why it wasn't working.

I then went to the third drain. Totally clogged! An old discarded Indian style broom had been sucked up against the grate and nothing was getting through. I pulled it free and set it on a nearby pipe. There was so much debris though that even with this large object pulled free it re-clogged in seconds. Loose broom straw, little bits of random broken plastic and a cord of some sort, an old newspaper. It was gross, but I saw no cat poop so I just used my hands to pull it all free.

I felt very satisfied by this and decided to look back at the second drain. It hit me suddenly while it wasn't clogged, there was a reason it wasn't being as effective as it should have been: there was a 2x4 and a random plastic thing (there was strange plastic debris everywhere that hadn't been there before that I think was thrown down there by workers on the water tanks.) They were working like the flower pots I']d put near the railing, deflected the bulk of the water away from the only drain that hadn't been clogged. I lifted them up and sat them on the wall.

Satisfied, I went and checked the railing again to see if the flow was lower... I was totally shocked to see that the water had stopped! All my drain clearing had taken maybe three minutes and I'd stopped the waterfall!

I went down laughing with glee and feeling like a hero. I chattered a mile a minute telling KC and Ryan about the drains. 'Well, don't go back up there,' said Ryan all direly.

'No, I have to,' I said cheerfully, 'I am taking a plastic bag and unclogging the one drain totally!' He acknowledged that and I went up and used the plastic bag to get the cat poop, then went to the third drain, which was already starting to clog again, and grabbed the debris there too.

I came back downstairs smiling in triumph. 'You know what?' I said to a bemused Ryan and KC. 'I am so thankful for this flood. I mean, if it had to happen, the timing was just a God send. Since our floors had 5just been swept, everything that could be ruined had been lifted up off the floor. So nothing was ruined! And as for solving the problem, it was fun! It really was like a water park ride, the water splashing on me!'

And I was too occupied and entertained by the sheer craziness of it all that I wasn't feeling sad about missing the family reunion for hours.

So I am thankful for that experience! Here are some more things I am thankful for:

107- for Your whispered warning
108- for Your refuge
109- for podcasts
110- for humbling moments
111- and my feet upon Your Rock

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