Before we begin, let’s all join hands for a rousing chorus of November’s most traditional holiday song.
When I came to work yesterday it was raining in the elevator.
“That’s odd” I thought, “it doesn’t usually rain in this elevator.”
But it was raining in the elevator.
I toyed briefly with stepping off the raining elevator and hopping into one of the non-precipitating ones, of which there were three. But it was 4:30 in the morning, and those elevators were a good 6, 7 steps away. At 4:30 in the morning nothing, not even raining elevators, can justify extra physical exertion. Besides, I had never ridden in a raining elevator before. Who knows when I might get the chance to cross that off my Bucket List again?
So I stayed on the elevator. I scrunched to one side to avoid the heaviest flow, a pretty solid column of water about 3 inches wide pouring straight down the center of the car, and reached my hand out to punch the 9.
Here’s where I paused though, and almost jettisoned my decision to stay. See, the elevators where I work were all just recently upgraded. Not only are they shiny and new, they’re also ridiculously over-tech’ed for a building that’s only 12 stories tall. The floor selection panel, which previously featured a column of buttons and nothing else, is now a 13″ flat-panel touch screen with reams of information and options, none of which could possibly be accessed in the time it takes to get you to your floor. But it looks cool, befitting a building that overlooks midtown Manhattan and houses some seriously pretentious companies.
Of course, in order to power those worthless new touch screens and blinking lights and auxiliary panels, they had to run correspondingly more electrical lines. All which were now being shielded from the elevator’s new waterfall by a micron thick layer of whatever touch screens are made of.
So you know what was running through my mind as I reached my hand out, and why I paused:
But then I stabbed the screen with my finger anyway. I’ve had a pretty good run, and if I had to go, there were worse ways.
Thankfully, the only thing that happened was my finger got wet. No sudden sparks followed by the stench of burning flesh. The elevator doors closed and less than 20 seconds later they opened again. I walked out onto the 9th floor wet, but not absolutely soaked. I mean, I didn’t look in need of mouth-to-mouth. But I was dripping enough you definitely wouldn’t sit next to me on the bus even if that was the only open seat.
I shook myself off like a Michael J. fox coming out of the pool, and walked into our studios.
Once inside I heard various voices coming down the hall, most of which were saying things like “Did you see all that water pouring down inside Elevator #1? I sure hope nobody was stupid enough to….” As I walked by they all shut up and just stared. Not even a “good morning“.
One or two other guys arrived over the next half hour equally squishy, so at least I wasn’t the only one. A few of us wondered aloud whether someone should call security, or at least building maintenance (unanimous answer: “No.“), but that was it. We all, dry or damp, had to get on the air. All discussion of the unexpected showers in Elevator #1 died down quickly as we repaired to our respective studios.
Dedicated followers of this blog are intimately familiar by now with my strictly regimented bowel movement routine. For those of you who may be new: every morning at 5:41 a.m. I have a 20 minute break, and I use that time to sit on a porcelain throne on the 5th floor so I can play “Animal Crossing” on my Nintendo DSi undisturbed. Actual pooping is optional.
So at 5:41 this particular morning I put my headphones down, grabbed the game pad, and made for the elevator. The door to Elevator #3 opened, and I punched the 5th floor. Elevator #3 was dry.
However when I got out of Elevator #3 it was NOT dry. There was probably a half an inch of standing water in the 5th floor lobby, and it got deeper the closer I got to the mens room at the far end. As alarming as that was though, it was nothing compared to the shock of seeing a veritable waterfall shooting down the wall in front of, and immediately adjacent to, the mens room door.
“That’s odd” I thought. “There’s not usually a waterfall on the 5th floor.”
But there it was. A waterfall coming down the 5th floor mens room wall, like the one at the Ottowa Airport terminal.
Oh well. I ducked my head, reached through the cascading sheet, and pushed the door open. I was still dripping from the elevator ride. A little more wasn’t gonna hurt.
Inside the mens room the water was even deeper. With no shag carpeting to absorb the excess, like in the lobby, the floods just piled up. As soon as I stepped over the threshold my ankles got soaked. But, grimly determined to sit and sell turnips during my one and only break, I waded through to my usual stall. It takes a lot more than 3 inches of water to keep me from taking ol’ Tom Nook for every Bell he has.
There was a lot more than 3 inches of water inside the stall.
A lot. It was practically a bidet. If I dropped trou even minimally the crotch of my pants would be fully immersed once I squatted. Doing morning radio in New York City is tough enough. Add a pair of soggy balls to the mix and we’re talking Geneva Convention violations. I reluctantly exited the stall in search of a drier perch.
I decided to work my way up, figuring all this water was probably dropping from floor to floor. If I could get above the whatever break was causing this torrent I’d be home free.
6th floor: no dice. Even deeper than 5.
7th floor: Ark, animals 2-by-2.
8th floor: DRY!
Whew. That was cutting it close. One more floor and I’d be in the mens room on our studio floor. You don’t wanna know the kind of hygiene radio people have. If you ever had to use that bathroom you’d assume everyone on our floor was stricken with C-diff based on the smell. I’ll hold it in before I enter that River Styx of a bathroom, and I drink 9 cups of coffee, black, per shift.
But with the 8th floor bathroom dry, I didn’t have to make that choice. I sprinted to the far Handicapped stall (suck it, Stumpy) and fired up the Nintendo.
Fifteen minutes and about 4 pounds later I was back in my studio bleating out vapid nonsense to the insensate masses. My calling. At 1 o’clock I filed my last newscast, closed out my 17 PornHub tabs, and shut the light in my studio. Time to go home.
Down in the lobby they had Elevator #1 roped off. I could see a maintenance guy inside had half the panels torn out as he methodically checked all the switches and relays for…I have no idea. I’m a radio announcer not an elevator repairman, remember? For all I know he was looking for the cheeseburger he dropped.
I asked the useless desk guard what was up.
“A valve blew in one of the urinals in the 7th floor mens room” he said. “It was pumping out water for hours overnight. Everything down to the second floor was soaked by the time someone reported it.” He nodded towards the maintenance guy. “There was so much water it shot right down the elevator shaft. It was raining inside #1 there, if you can believe it.”
“I believe it” I said. “So…it was the urinal?”
“Yeah” he said. “Disgusting, right? I’m glad I got here after they got the thing capped.” He practically guffawed at his good fortune.
Outside the building I immediately whipped out my stupid Pez dispenser sized flip phone and called home. It was the first time I’d even turned the thing on in 2 months.
NewWifey(tm) answered. “Honey? Is that you? What’s wrong? You never make calls! Were you in a car accident? Did you kill someone??”
“No, worse” I said. “How much bleach do we have in the house?”
I explained what happened.
She listened til I was done, then said “So a urinal emptied itself on your head, did it? Well at least it was #1, not poop.”
“What difference would that make?” I said. “They’re both hideous!”
“Poop smells worse” she said. “I wouldn’t let you inside if you smelled like poop.”
“That whole ‘for better or worse‘ thing was just lip service then, huh?”
“Just come home. I’ll scrub you down with bleach and emery paper. Can’t have my husband coming down with cholera. You might miss work.”
Ah, my little lovey dovey goddess of a wife. Sorry guys, she’s all mine.
Once home I hopped in the shower almost before I got the last of my clothes off. I stood under the hottest water I could stand until the hot water heater ran out, and wore down an entire bar of soap. NewWifey(tm) laughed when I got out. “You look like a fat boiled lobster with a hairy back.”
“Yeah, but at least I’m not a fat hairy lobster that smells like poop any more.”
“Well…no more than usual, let’s say. Well done!”
“For godsake, don’t you have any sympathy for me at all?” I said. “I just spent an entire day coated in a dilute solution of some other guy’s bodily fluids and had to act like nothing was wrong!”
She snorted. “Welcome to life as a woman” she said. Then she stood up and gave me a hug. “Aw honey, you know you’ll always be my #1. Even if you’re covered in #2.”
“That was disgusting” I said.
“Yeah” she said. “So’s this: I wanna eat lobster.”
“You’re kidding. Even knowing what this lobster has been swimming in all day?”
“It’s my -”
I held up my hand. “If you say, ‘it’s my #1 priority’, the deal’s off.”
She rolled her eyes. “Do you want a blow job or not?”
“Are you kidding? That was #2 on my list of things to do today!”
Good thing us lobsters have quick reflexes. I ducked just in time. Urine trouble if NewWifey(tm) lands a punch.
Speaking of unfathomably disgusting things raining down on me, we still haven’t been able to staunch to flow from our leaky roof. The sopping wet shingles, beams, insulation, wallboard ceiling, and closet shelves, have all started growing a rather alarming – and odoriferous – layer of green/black mold. I’ve had to move all my clothes out of that room, but unfortunately that room also houses our one and only computer. So to write this entry I’ve had to dash into the room with my breath held, bang out as many sentences as I could before my eyes exploded, then rush back out into atmosphere that can actually support life. I actually started this entry two weeks ago. So sorry for the delay, but breathing takes precedence.
The good news is, NewWifey(tm) has now identified the problem spot in the roof – it’s all of it. The bad news is, roofers will not roof in cold weather. Something about roof glue not sticking below 40 degrees. Unless we want a house-sized open skylight, we’re gonna have to hold on til spring. She says she may try to climb up on the roof and nail down a tarp over the worst of the holes, but it’s been so windy I don’t know if she should chance it. Either way, I’ll try to get as many entries up as I can in the interim, but my lungs will still be at the mercy of those noxious spores until then, so I can’t promise anything. I wonder if anyone sells a portable Fabreze inhaler….
Hey tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, and for the first time in years, I have both T-Day AND Black Friday off from work! In celebration of this rare celestial occurance I’ve drawn as much as I safely could from my meager funds and purchased all manner of rare and wonderful foodstuffs. They’ll be worked into dishes both savory and intricate for the 5 guests who’ve been lucky enough to recive an invitation to join us. Oh, and wine. Lots of wine. Lots.
Stay tuned for the post-prandial recap!
It’s Thanksgiving morning, 8:45am.
All 5 of the guests we invited have cancelled.
Two came down with the flu, one’s mother fell and fractured an old lady hip (both were invited), and the other got called in to work at the last second.
And get this: Just minutes ago NewWifey(tm) woke up sick. She’s out for the count. All day. Wrap her in a blankie and make her tea. That’s the routine.
I’ve been up since 4am. I’ve already made 2 pie crusts, one pie, stock, cream of roast chestnut soup, stuffed acorn squash, a loaf of bread, baked cipollini in a sweet/sour balsamic glaze, homemade ice cream, and have prep ready for Parker House Rolls, mashed rye potatoes, stuffing/dressing (what do you say?), and too many other things to list. My kitchen has sunk 2 inches into the foundation there’s so much food.
And I’m all alone.