On Saturday, it rained in our living room.
The day began rather oddly, with a flash stomach bug hitting Charlotte in the morning. (Let me just say that a pukey toddler is so much easier to deal with when there are two parents!) So we spent the morning at home. Charlotte was feeling better by mid-day, and we took a walk to the grocery store, and made it home just as the rain began to fall. By late afternoon, it was raining some serious cats and dogs. During a brief reprise, Charlotte dragged J. out for some mad puddle jumping.
By dinnertime, the rain was only getting heavier and the three of us cuddled on the couch and read books while we listened to the rain pound against the window.
Then I heard it, a weird dripping noise. J. and I both looked up and saw beads of water on the living room ceiling, which quickly turned into a small stream. It took us a minute to realize that we’d sprung a leak, and a few more minutes to stop running around in a panic. We grabbed a bucket, only to discover another leak nearby. Shortly after, our living room was littered with baskets and boxes and pots and pans and virtually any kind of vessel that can hold water. The water continued to pour out at an ever increasing- and alarming- pace, from the ceiling, from the light fixtures, from cracks at the base of the walls. J. ran downstairs to look for more vessels, and discovered two inches of water on our basement floor.
The next couple of hours were a crazy blur of racing to dump out near-overflowing containers, mopping up pools of water with towels (our neighbours graciously lent us their towel stash, only to discover that their basement was leaking too!), getting valuables out of the way, and keeping calm a nervous two-year old who kept repeating- in Chinese!- “It’s raining inside.”
Our Property Manager came over, and told us that the problem was due to a clogged drain on our second-floor balcony. With nowhere else to go, the water was seeping in through the ceiling and walls. He told us that his maintenance guys would be over asap to unclog the drain, but being Beijing there were massive traffic jams, and it took them over two hours to get to us (I only hope their houses weren’t flooding!). They quickly unplugged the balcony drain, and soon after our indoor waterfall slowed down to a trickle and then a drip.
We woke up Sunday morning and surveyed the damage: a soaked couch, probably ruined hardwood floors, massive water bubbles in the ceiling (J. popped one and it’s been dripping for two days), and a moundful of dirty towels and a towering stack of dirty pots. Later in the day, when temperatures climbed to 30+ degrees (that’s 90+ degrees to my American readers), the stench arrived, and our house now smells like a sewer. I think our air conditioning unit must be a sewer, we’ve tried to turn it on but- despite the stifling heat- have turned it right back off.
It looks like it will be weeks before everything is fixed, we’ll probably have to relocate for awhile which sucks because our busy visitor season starts soon, with three guests arriving later this week.
But you know what? As much as this sucks, and as gross and frustrating as this situation is, I really have no right to complain, because most of Beijing had it much worse. Check out these photos:
And, according to news sources, 37 people died. 80,000 were evacuated. People had to abandon their cars in roads-cum-lakes. The subway system flooded.
Yes, my house is a wet, hot sewer. But at least my family is safe.
How was your weekend?