Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mini flood. Also, when it rains, it pours. Prayers for Family.

I just had my first week of the new semester. My new composition class seems fun. They’re less feisty that the group I had less semester, but more diverse. They range in age from 18 to 25, and are of several majors, races and nationalities. That’s fun, because it adds different perspectives to their papers and class discussions.

This year, my workshops is different. They created a hybrid nonfiction-poetry workshop. Yes, my two specialties in one place! I’m taking a course on the craft of fiction. Except for models for my middle schoolers, I haven’t written fiction since 2002! I find fiction kind of intimidating, because it’s challenging to create a new world that manages to ring true.

My third class was supposed to be Post-Colonial Literature, but that class got cancelled (why do my classes always get cancelled?), so at the last minute I switched to “Imagining the Civil War.” When I got there, I discovered that it’s actually a history department course that counts for English credit. Noooooo! I will have to write a 20-page research paper on some aspect of the Civil War, with Teravian-style notation. I hate learning new forms of notation! For English, it’s MLA. For Education it was APA. Now this? Sigh.

When I was unpacking last week, I noticed that my skirt was wet, but couldn’t figure out why or how. Well, it had been snowing in Detroit…but the suitcase didn’t feel wet inside, only outside. I was puzzled. A few days later, I was walking across the carpet, and my sock felt damp. Had I spilled water? I couldn’t find a spill on the carpet.

Wednesday, my sock was WET. It was raining out, and there was an empty water bottle on the floor. Had the bottle leaked? Was the apartment flooding? I didn’t know. I got a towel and tried to dry the carpet…then a second towel…and a third. After the sixth towel, I called the emergency pager for our maintenance crew.

I realized that the closer I got to my bookshelves and the wall to the laundry closet, the wetter the carpet was. Rakel and Todd helped me carry all my books, my bookshelves and desk into the living room. (The living room looks like Strand!) Verdant mold was climbing more than an inch up the sides of the bookshelves. The leak had apparently been going for a while.

The maintenance guys showed up with a shop vac and drying fan. Over the next few days, they ripped up the carpet and sucked up the worst of the liquid, fixed the leak, opened the wall, and set up the fan to dry it all out. For days, I lived in a wind tunnel (resulting in model hair, Gilda hair, or a resemblance to Cousin It, depending on who you ask). Then, unbeknownst to me, they put up the same square of plaster. I think it was moldy! The guys assure me the plaster is fine, because it dried out, but Virginia is humid! I would prefer not to have deadly black mold growing in my walls. I’m crazy like that.

Oh, and to top it all off, Grandpa Kiley, Grandpa Staker and Aunt Helen are all in the hospital. Grandpa Kiley had to have a heart bypass, which Mom said went well. Grandpa Staker had congestive heart failure, I think? I was kind of in shock when Mom told me. Helen needed fluids. I'm having trouble with everyone being so sick. Funny how I sometimes write least about the things that are most important. Well, if I'm honest, it's harder to write about painful things. I hate being so far away. If I was there, at least I could give people hugs. They are in my prayers.

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