As my man and I are innocently roaming Amsterdam, the water decides to take a break as well. It’s been so boring following the same old rut of pipes every day for months and years. Okay, only two years, because the house is new, but nevertheless, the water needs a vacation and a change of scenery.
It decides to pick the water pipe to the uppity French bidet on the top floor to make its escape.
The water flows happily along the shiny bathroom floor, into the guest bedroom, dampening the carpet. Nobody is around to notice, so it can do as it pleases.
But it’s a boring place, this bedroom, and getting more adventurous, the water decides to go spelunking below, shimmying down walls and seeping between ceilings and floors.
Full of enthusiasm it rushes down into the garage, the first floor bathroom and the hallway closet. This is so exciting! So much space to flood and slosh around in!
Drunk with happiness, the water runs and flows and shimmies and drips for days, soaking door frames, walls and parquet flooring.
It likes the parquet flooring a lot, so it sneaks into the living room and dining room as well. But hey, there’s more territory to discover! Down the stairs into the basement rooms! Mildew, mold, warps, here they come to join in the fun.
High on freedom, the water has the time of its life for days. Days! Then it escapes the garage to the great wild yonder of the outdoors. A new adventure! It rushes out with great joy and abandon. Sunshine! Sky! The Moldovan neighbor.
And that’s when the water’s brazenness costs him.
When it is clear that we, the expat renters of the house, are not at home, a frantic phone call is made to Canada, where the homeowner lives, a continent and ocean away from the crisis. The panicked (I assume) man calls the property manager in Moldova. The property manager rushes over to the house, watches in horror the river issuing forth from underneath the garage doors and stands there, helpless and keyless. The neighbor is also keyless.
He calls me, Miss Footloose, but I don’t answer because I am footloose in Amsterdam and my Moldovan phone is not set on roaming. I have a Dutch phone, which is of no use because they don’t have the number. He finally gets through on my man’s BlackBerry. To make a long story short, more phone calls are made across space and time and the key we had left at my husband’s office is located and delivered.
The property manager, so he tells me later, sloshes through the water down into the basement where the electrical as well as the water switches are located. He wades through ankle deep water to turn both of them off. Needless to say I am horrified when he tells me this later, thinking of him being electrocuted, thinking of his young wife and baby girl. Well, he says, it was the only way to get there to turn off the switches.
Water is pumped out. The ravages are enormous. Entire floors and ceilings need to be redone. Three (imported) doors and door frames need to be replaced, and they’re not the standard hollow Home Depot variety. Walls need to be cleaned, dried, and refinished.
Fortunately the home insurance will cover he repairs. Fortunately the electricity was back on the next day as I had a freezer full of meat and fish. Fortunately none of our personal stuff was damaged.
But we do need to move out for a few weeks while work is done. So I’m packing clothes and office stuff and food from the freezer and we’re moving into a furnished apartment nearby.
I need a vacation. Oh, I forgot: I just had one.
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What happened in your house when you were away?