-By Jaime Willis
|Jaime and Jessica, the newest NC State Graduate!
After a wonderful weekend down in Raleigh, North Carolina watching my mentee graduate from college (woot!) and catching up with a friend, I drove home on Sunday morning. When I got into DC, the weather was gorgeous — 82 degrees and beautifully sunny.
Choose: Do you scrap your plans to work inside on your computer and go for a run?
I chose to go for a run. Got together my running gear, which hasn’t been used in a while, sadly, and headed out the door. I walked and ran another 10k, but when I finished, I was still a mile and a half from home.
Choose: Do you take the bus home or use the extra mileage to walk out your sore muscles?
I chose to walk home, even though the rain clouds were getting more and more ominous by the second.
Choose: Now you are back at the house and sweaty. Do you take a shower or do messy chores first?
I chose to take out the trash and change the kitty litter before cleaning up. And here is where the story gets adventurous. The sky opened up just as I was getting my recycling into the cans outside. I was quickly soaked, so I just continued to put out the trash. Then I notice that the water outside isn’t draining, but is instead fountaining down the basement steps into the well of the basement, and INTO MY APARTMENT.
Choose: Do you freak out and get angry that the basement is flooding or do you try to mitigate the damage?
|Rainwater pooling into basement well.
I ran back into the house and threw down towels to try to stem the tide of water. I grabbed my wet vac, plugged it in and was able to contain the water to the back hallway of my house, so nothing other than the floor got wet & waterlogged. The rain stopped just minutes after it had begun and I continued to vacuum up water until the vacuum stopped working.
Choose: Do you angrily pout or do you continue to try to solve the problem?
I am not going to lie, things got tense at this stage of the game. After trying a few quick fixes for the vacuum, I determined that either the filter needed to be replaced or the vacuum was dead & I needed a new one. I checked that home depot was still open and ran down there.
Choose: Do you buy just the filter or do you buy a new vacuum?
|Obviously, I need a little more skill on creating sandbag
barriers, as this didn’t work at all.
I chose to do both. I knew if the filter worked, I could return the vacuum, but if it didn’t work and I didn’t have another vacuum, I would be furious and home depot would be closed, so I wouldn’t be able to do anything else until the next morning. When I returned to the house, the filter replacement worked, and I was able to get all the excess water and clean up outside. I then bleach-mopped the floors where the water spilled in, returned everything to it’s rightful place and started washing the soaked towels.
Choose: Do you spend the rest of the evening angry that your evening was derailed by this emergency or are you grateful it wasn’t worse?
After a shower, I felt so LUCKY. On the weekends, I am frequently out of town, so I can only imagine what would have happened if I weren’t home when the flooding started. Even better, I was *outside* and saw the flooding before it even reached my back door, so I was able to mitigate & slightly control what got flooded in the apartment. I was grateful that Home Depot was still open in my neighborhood at 7pm on a Sunday evening, so I could get the replacement parts I needed to continue repairing the problem. I was grateful that this happened on Sunday, before a week of rainy weather predicted for DC, so I could call my landlords and have them snake the outdoor drains before more rain comes.
Yes, it was annoying that my apartment flooded, but so many things went RIGHT about the flooding, that it was the best possible way to have a bad situation like that happen. I went to bed last night satisfied, remembering that my weekend was almost all great stuff, and slept well. What would you have done — go to bed angry or go to bed happy?
Matt and I have said over and over again how important it is to CHOOSE your attitude, to ACT instead of REACT, and to limit your negativity about a situation. Think about the last emergency you had to deal with — could you have made different choices?