14 February 2012

snowed in (home, sweet home)

We've had an interesting week!

Nine days ago, our upstairs neighbor's water pipe froze and burst, flooding our flat literally like waterfalls through our recessed ceiling lights and tripping electricity. The fire department shut off the water to the entire building, and we were out of running water for more than 24 hours.

No electricity in our flat meant the boiler was off, which meant no hot water, which meant no heat. We were having -10℃ weather and could not not have heat, so we had to move out. We ended up moving to a friend's flat nearby, then to a hotel room in the 6eme, and then to another friend's flat in Presqu'île.

Five days after the flood, we finally managed to get an electrician to come and inspect our electric system, and were able to turn the electricity back on to get heat back in the flat. The musty odor was still awful two days later, but we decided to move back in. We are currently camping out on the living room floor as the smell in the bedroom area is still very strong. We want to have an expert evaluate the damage and make sure we don't have a mold issue before settling ourselves back into our bedrooms. But we're home. Warm and comfortable.

Home, sweet home.

During this past week, the thought that kept running in my mind was just how lucky, how seriously lucky, we have been. We were getting ready to go out when the water burst our ceiling and started coming down, but we were still home and caught much of it in buckets and pots (we deployed everything we had). Had we already left -- we would have been gone for 3 hours -- the damage in the flat would have been much more extensive, because the water was coming down so fast I was emptying the buckets every 2 minutes.

We were also lucky in that we didn't have any direct water damange on any of our furniture. I shudder when I imagine what would have happened if the flooding occured above our beds or, heaven forbid, our piano.

While we were playing nomads, one of our friends took our dirty clothes to her house to wash them for us. Two moms at my son's school packed his lunch because I couldn't. The friends who accommodated us couldn't have been more generous. Yes, this was all very inconvenient but it was no hardship. Some people don't even have a warm place to sleep in, and we have so much more.

Now back in our own flat, my son is loving sleeping on an air mattress on the living room floor because "it's fun, it's like camping, Mom!" School is closed due to snow today, so he gets to play video games even though it's Tuesday (normally video games are allowed only on Wednesdays and weekends). He's happy.

I've gathered all the books I have on Paris, and I'm putting sticky notes to mark the shops and cafes I want to visit when we're there next week. I think hot chocolate is calling me from the pantry.

These are the things we do when we're snowed in. At home.

Life is good.

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