This evening, I came home late from a work event to find water coming from my ceiling. It made me slightly nostalgic for the days when my only problem was closet doors falling off. The light fixture in my den, directly over my desktop computer, was dripping water. The desk was covered in water, and there were big puddles on the floor.
First of all I tiptoed through the mess and yanked out my power strip, killing all the electronics under the leak. Then I put a plastic trash bucket under the leak, grabbed lots of towels, and mopped up the puddles. Then I went upstairs to change out of my work clothes and take a look in the attic to see if I could see what was going on.
I was standing in the closet, still wearing my sweater, with my pants already off, when I heard a loud knock on my door. It was 11:30pm. Somehow in my disoriented brain, I decided it must be my next-door neighbor. He's a good guy, he often appears when there are problems in our houses. Somehow I concocted the idea that we probably both had ice dams and he was coming over to see if mine was causing any damage. It made sense in my sleepy, scrambling, and still-in-denial head.
I threw on a pair of jeans and hurried downstairs to answer the door. When I opened the door, I found two police officers on my porch. The one explained that my across-the-street neighbor had seen somebody on my porch with a flashlight, that didn't look like me, so she had called the police. I found myself feeling slightly nostalgic for the time when my only problems were a closet door falling off and my office ceiling leaking.
Even more distraught and disoriented, I told them that I had only just gotten home 30 minutes ago, and I had not used a flashlight when I let myself in. I went on to explain that it was all a little surreal, because I had a leak in the back of the house and was just going to get a flashlight and check it out, but I hadn't actually found one yet.
They asked me if my door had been locked securely when I let myself in. I realized that I'd used my key to open the door, but didn't actually know if it had been locked before I put the key in. They asked me if I wanted them to check anything out. I asked if they'd looked in my backyard, and they assured me they'd looked all around my house and hadn't seen anything suspicious. I said that I'd already been wandering inside my house, dealing with the leak, and I was comfortable that there wasn't anybody else inside.
They asked if I rented or owned, if I lived alone, and they checked my ID. Upon verifying it, they left. I closed the door and breathed, listening to the water dripping into the plastic can in the back room, and wondering how the night had suddenly gotten to be such a mess. A few minutes later, it occurred to me to fasten all of my deadbolts and close all the shades -- which I did, so the only intruder was water. I verified all my cats were fine -- which they were.
I then successfully found my good flashlight, but it needed to be charged. I put it on the charger and spent some time clearing out the closet that holds the door to the attic area. When I was through, I got my flashlight and looked around up there. Everything looks dry. I'm not sure if that's a good sign or not. My guess is that an ice dam on my roof is causing water to creep in through the walls? I don't know, but I'm quite sure it's a bad thing.
Tomorrow I'll have to stay home from work and figure out what to do about this. The extra-obnoxious thing is that I'm supposed to go to Colorado for a week-long vacation saturday.... maybe for a short-term solution getting somebody out to remove the ice dams would be sufficient? I have no idea. I'm also not sure who to call. My insurance company, I guess. I could call the handyman who fixed my porch steps. I don't really know what's wrong, how much damage there is, nor how such an issue would be fixed.
My current dire prediction is that sometime in the night I'll be awoken by the sound of my ceiling fan/light fixture (the place from which the water is currently dripping) spontaneously falling out of the weakened ceiling. Leaving me somewhat nostalgic for the days when my only problems were a closet door falling off, a leak in the den, and police on the front porch. Well I don't really think that will happen, but wouldn't it be funny? Not in a truly amusing sort of way, but in a "you just gotta laugh" sort of way.
Maybe not though. Maybe the worst is over, and I can get this resolved enough tomorrow so that I can enjoy the first half of ConFusion tomorrow night, and then leave for Colorado saturday night without worrying about my house falling apart while I'm gone. Maybe. It's possible, right?
When I went to write this post, I found that on top of everything, my wireless network was down. I got frustrated, but then I remembered unplugging all the electronics in my office, including the cable modem and wi-fi router. At first I thought I'd need to write this up on my Centro. But things are looking up: I discovered that the cable is long enough that I could stretch it to a power outlet in a dry area, and hook them both up again! Here's hoping that the rest of the house stays dry....
[Edited to add a helpful illustration (which could have been sketched from my backyard yesterday) and website]