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Drip. Drip. Drip.
A bleary glance out the window said it was raining. How could it rain so hard when it was so sunny? A second, much less bleary glance revealed that it actually was not raining; the water pouring down my window proved this. I heard the dripping noise again, this time accompanied by a splash of water.
After my dorm, Darley North, flooded on Oct. 2, not only were my textbooks soaked but I was beyond annoyed. Here are some things I have learned to deal with when it comes to a flood, whether or not you live in a dorm.
Step 1: Identify the problem
The horrible morning began with one look at my bookshelf — water was positively gushing down it. Though my textbooks, binders, books, jewelry and stuffed animals were already soaked, they were still getting wetter by the second. This was a flood, and it wasn’t going to deal with itself.
Step 2: Freak the hell out
A predictable reaction: Horrified silence followed by a mad dash to rescue every item.
Step 3: Damage control
My dash still resulted in drenched socks, which, of course, is the very thing we love at 8 o’clock in the morning. Our rug was rigorously soaking up water. Unfortunately for my roommate, who had already left for an 8 a.m. class, her $200 Biology book was retaining water like a sponge. I grabbed a towel to stem the flow from above, but if you find yourself in a similar situation, just use two trash bins to catch the water.
Step 4: Find assistance
Once I had managed to isolate the water, I was confused. Had a pipe burst? What should I do? Wait — that is what residential advisors are for: to fix problems like this. I ran into our usually MIA RA the second I opened our door. She was as confused as I was, but immediately called the Dorm Maintenance hotline. Then there was nothing to do but wait.
Step 5: Curse the world while waiting for assistance
Damn! My textbooks were all bloated with water. My sweet little stuffed animal turtle finally found real water to swim in. At least my laptop was on my desk and my backpack was spared. Waiting for assistance only worsened my feelings about the situation.
Step 6: Embarrass yourself in front of the assistance
“Maintenance!” followed by pounding on our door signaled the troops were here and understood the dire situation. Not thinking clearly, I rushed to the door in flip flops (which I stupidly replaced my socks with) that slid in the layer of water on the floor. I crashed loudly into the door and my bedpost. Turning the handle, I discovered six separate faces momentarily distracted from the water dilemma by the noise. A casual “hey” was all I could manage, but the clean-up was now out of my hands.
Step 7: Wait for the next bad thing
“We are here for the water,” a man declared as hectic action ensued. A sweet lady rolled up our champion rug as another brought in the most amazing water vacuum. We discovered just how much water that rug siphoned because, the second it was picked up, it folded and rained a deluge straight onto my previously dry backpack.
Step 8: Worship a water vacuum (they’re severely underappreciated)
After what seemed like ages that vacuum finally drank the floor dry and the maintenance left. The torrent had slowed to a casual drip.
Step 9: Calculate the final battle damage
Our room had the worst smell of sewer. Every school item I possessed was in some sort of disarray and also wreaked. My next bright idea was to blow-dry my textbooks. Despite what you see in movies, that does not work for thick paged books. There were many items that needed to be replaced.
Step 10: Find the source of all my troubles
The cause for my wet wake-up call? An air conditioner — supposedly. I swear that it was the sprinkler system. From maintenance I gathered that our room was bad, but six inches of water bogged down the rooms upstairs. How can one air conditioner make that much liquid?
Apparently it can, and does.
Other sources of flooding are natural occurrences like snow melt, rain, groundwater and flash flooding, as well as personal sewer leaks and highway gullies. For more information on flash flooding in Boulder, visit the City of Boulder website.
Step 11: Move on with life
My roommate and I have invested in a scent diffuser, and that awful sewer smell was finally replaced by cinnamon apples. Four hours on each text book with a blow-dryer dried my pages. They bear clear signs of their struggles though. A long tumble in the clothes dryer took care of my stuffed animals and towel. We now have a new (and nicer) rug. I finally trust my bookshelf enough to place things back on it. To look at us now you would not even know what had happened, but I can show you my destroyed algebra notes and homework for proof.
I guess if I’ve learned anything, it’s that you should not abuse air conditioners. And that its a good idea to always be on the lookout for natural flooding disasters.
Contact Staff Writer Andrea Harper at Andrea.firstname.lastname@example.org.