Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Birthday

Several days ago (prior to my birthday) I was kicked in the head by a nasty virus. Once it got me down it decided to bash me into the curb until every muscle in my body ached.

Then it was my birthday. :) I can tell you that it was quiet and relaxing during the times when I wasn't trying to choke up a lung.

Things progressed as you might expect. The nasty thing migrated from one sinus cavity to another, then to the throat where it used its heavy artillery and now it sits heavily in my chest where every cough threatens exit through the top of my skull.

Yesterday was an auspicious day (depending on your definition of luck). The morning was about to begin. I woke and made the call to work, letting them know I wouldn’t be there. It was then that my daughter came upstairs informing me that there was a flood in the basement.

Naturally, I went down there to assess the situation and since the lagoon has been a problem in the past, I started there. My brother came over with an ice auger and we crossed the fence onto the snow-covered surface of the sewage-filled hole. The snow was only few inches deep and it didn’t take long to scrape it down to the green tinted ice below.

We got to work immediately and before long, there was a growing pile of ice shavings. Even these gave off the same odor that you would expect from any open sewer line.

Fifteen minutes later and through eighteen inches of ice, we hit water. I satisfying, yet perplexing result. The problem was not at the lagoon.

I arrived in the house to discover the house had begun its normal routine. Maybe they thought I had solved the problem or possibly, it was a response similar to turning lights on during a power outage. My daughter was the unfortunate one for the second time that morning. While earlier she had gotten her socks wet, now with shoes on she expected to avoid any unpleasantness. She did not know that the water was now significantly higher and the shoes she chose were inadequate. She had some choice words and I doubt that I would have responded any differently.

I arrived in the house to chaos only a panic strickened household can create. The problem that had seemed a minor one was quickly getting out of hand and I did not have to suggest that everyone in the house should stop using water.

The next step was to go to town. I needed a wet/dry vacuum cleaner and an auger that I could run down the pipe to see if I could clear the blockage or figure out what it was. By the time I arrived home, it was after noon and the house was beginning to smell as badly as you might expect.

The first task was clean up some of the standing water, which had now begun to soak into furniture. That task took some time and by two o’clock, I was threading the snake into the cleanout.

By three, two things were obvious. The clog wasn’t in or near the house.

I’ve never made an insurance claim before, but this impossible mess got me thinking about that. Wendy got on the phone to our insurance provider, who immediately reprimanded her for not calling sooner.

After an afternoon of being on the phone, all the wheels were finally in motion. The insurance adjuster had arrived, a cleanup crew was on its way and the backhoe was pulling into the driveway. It looked like some kind of strange house party, but not one you want to be having.

It’s morning now and the basement is almost gutted. I’m at home... still sick. I’m going back to bed now.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Newspaper Article

The Omineca Express in Vanderhoof British Columbia is featuring me and my novel. Look for the story on page two in the February 7th issue. Look for a copy of that story on this site soon after!