Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Great Flood

animated image of overflowing toilet


When it rains, it pours.  Only this wasn’t rain; a toilet mechanism malfunctioned causing flooding in my work office, the offices on either side of mine, and the two offices below.  Normally when I get to work I find a dark office, doors locked, and not a soul stirring.  Tuesday was different and something was very wrong.


When I arrived at my usual time, around 7:45 a.m. – I like to arrive early for a cup of coffee and some winding up time – I found all the lights on and the door opened.  Inside the office, and visible from the hallway, were large blue turbo dryers and huge dehumidifiers attached to commercial sized garbage cans by what can only be described as clear plastic catheters. 


Leary of entering the office and not knowing what I might find, I continued, quietly tiptoeing over electrical cords and around drying equipment.  From around the corner came the doctor for whom I work, with a harried look on his face and hair a mess.  He read the worried look in my eyes and simply said, “Flood.”  He had gotten a call at midnight that night from the property management folks who informed him his office was “under water,” and “the computers [were] shot.”


When I arrived I found damp carpets, dry linoleum flooring, and a slightly humid smell in the air; nothing horrific.  The water line on the paper shredder came up to about one inch from the floor.  Knowing computers to some degree, I was aware that the “brains” are kept higher up in the housing.  Armed with this knowledge and a determination to satisfy my curiosity and my doctor’s worry, I marched back to the server room and reconnected cables and wires.  Knowing I could be electrocuted and thrown backward into the wall behind me, I braced myself and turned on the power.  I was still positioned in front of the server at this point; no direct flight into drywall this time.  After a few seconds I heard the familiar hum of the computer singing to me.  A few more seconds and a welcome display prompted on the screen.  Things were looking up.  From there I headed out to the main office where two more computers were completely unplugged and unhooked.  I reassembled one, then the other and fired them both up.  Miraculously, they both started up without a hitch. 


We made a decision that day to be happy for the situation.  It certainly could have been a lot worse.  The only thing we lost from this disaster was a little sleep, a few hundred feet of vinyl baseboard, and a week’s worthof peace and quiet while we wait for the fans and dehumidifiers to finish their work.  I’m sure in time we’ll all look back on this in amusement.  But not today.

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