I slept through two nights of roaring winds that bent aged, 30-foot tall trees in our neighborhood outside of Boston. Then, my husband woke me this morning saying that we had no heat.
Our basement—the basement of our house atop a steep hill—had flooded. How? Water can’t flow upwards, can it? Everyone’s theory, which seems to make sense, is that when seven inches of rain fell in the past two days, the water, having no place else to go, settled into our yard, which became saturated. So the runoff drained into our waiting basement.
We are leaving for DC in a few days, and I have a list of stuff to do, including preparing our taxes for our tax preparer. (That sounds stupid, but the only alternative to doing that is to take him a garbage bag full of papers and wish him well.)
So I donned clothes I’d never, in my most dreadful dreams, expected to wear all at the same time: silk long johns, under blue-striped cotton long johns, under flannel-lined khakis. Two pairs of socks, colors unmatched, and I’m not taking off my slippers, lined with fake fur, to check. Sweaters over sweatshirts, followed by a big fleece shirt. A fleece hat. A cup of hot water to grasp whenever my hands got too cold to type.
The landlord came three times. The plumber, twice. My husband borrowed a pump from his sister who lives two towns over, until she needed it back: her basement is flooded again, because it keeps on raining. Our new downstairs neighbor’s freaked out; she had tons of unpacked boxes of treasures on her side of the basement—those irreplaceable mementos of important events in a family’s life, mostly weddings, I think she said. The stuff of sentiment that we hope she’ll be able to rescue, but it doesn’t look promising.
I’ve spent the day at my computer, except for making cornbread, which was my excuse for using the oven to warm the kitchen.
I’ve gotten a lot of items on my list done and crossed off. I just couldn’t work on any creative projects. The day has felt slanted, utterly off-kilter somehow. And I’m too disoriented and distracted wondering whether or not we’ll have heat tomorrow.
I always thought I’d—hands down—prefer having heat to electricity. But I don’t. Maybe I’d feel differently if the temperature outside was 15 degrees, instead of 35. I see now that thirty-five degrees is bearable, even with the winds seeping in through the seams of our double-glazed windows.