Tuesday, May 21, 2013

our world was a flood

I don't expect most of you to know that is a modified line from a Jars of Clay song. But now you do. See? You learn something new everyday!

Back to the flood.

On Monday, I was at First Place, our church's administrative building. We have our offices on the second floor. The first floor is The Vine, where the Jr. and Sr. High meet. There is a game room (where the youth choir practices), a kitchen, a cafe room and restrooms.

The third floor is made up of a couple Sunday school/meeting rooms, JfON (Justice for Our Neighbors), part of Lutheran Social Services Ministry (LSSM) offices, and another non-profit whose name is escaping me at the moment.

The fourth floor is exclusively rented out by LSSM.

This will be important in a few minutes.

As I said, on Monday, I was working. We had a staff lunch. Then, the Coordinating team had their regular meeting. It was getting close to three o'clock and the sky was getting dark. I had finished up my work and had stopped to chat with Sharon, our treasurer. A few minutes into our chat and the skies opened up.

At one point, it looked like a hurricane. The rain was coming down so hard and the wind was blowing so hard, that you couldn't see the cars in the parking lot from her window (which you can usually see our parking lot, the neighboring parking lot as well as the park a few streets away). She had to go pick up her granddaughter at the bus stop and couldn't wait any longer.

I decided to give it a few minutes and went to make a pit stop before heading out.

I walked into the women's restroom to see water streaming out from under the janitor's closet, which is accessible through the women's restroom. I walked back into the office and said to no one (they were all in a meeting upstairs on the third floor) there's water in the bathroom.

Fortunately, there was a receptionist and Liz (who works for JfON) was making copies. Liz followed me back into the restroom at which point the water was flowing out from under the restroom door. No need to open it, it was clear we had an issue.

Liz asked, where's Emil (our facilities manager)? He's upstairs, I'll go get him, I said. I ran up, busted into the room where the entire office staff were meeting and said, we have water. Everyone looked at Emil. He stood up and asked where? I told him in the women's bathroom. He followed me out of the room and checked the restrooms on that floor.

I said, no it's downstairs.

By the time we got down there the water had reached halfway across the office and was an inch deep. Emil gave me the keys to his car and told me to go get the water barrier things in his trunk.

I ran outside. I took two steps before I realized my sandals were pointless. I pulled them off and grabbed the water things out of his car. I took them back inside, but couldn't find Emil.

After a few minutes of running around, I finally found him. By this point, everyone from the meeting was back in the office and they were picking up everything from the floor and unplugging everything. Somebody asked what needed to be done and Emil said go down to The Vine.

I went down there and, I think, Tish and Laure were the ones who had asked what to do so they followed me.

Water was pouring in from the ceiling. Sami was down there, unplugging and moving all the electronics. The game room, with the most electronics, was getting the worst of it.

Eventually we got everything unplugged and moved. We went back upstairs. By then Emil had shut off the main water. Water was everywhere. The decision was made to evacuate the building, because the lights were still on.

We spread the word, and I decided it was time to go home because I still had to pee. I picked up my shoes and grabbed my bags.

Apparently a pipe burst. I'm not saying I saved the building, but if it hadn't been for me, the water wouldn't have been discovered until it reached the copy room where Liz was.

It was the First Place flood of epic proportions.

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