This morning, the pump broke. Or, to be specific: It made lots of noise, but it simply refused to suck. I futzed and fuddled with it and took the hoses off and put the hoses back on and consulted my ex. (“It took me a while to get it going, before,” he assured me. “You may need to just put your finger in the holes a bunch.” I pondered this and responded, “This is your professional advice? ‘PUT YOUR FINGERS IN THE HOLES A BUNCH?’ Is that what the directions recommend?”)
I could get it to suck water directly into the intake hole as long as I didn’t attach the hose. (“It says in the instructions not to put the intake hole directly into the water!” “Before or after it says to put your fingers in the hole??”) No matter how I might try to attach the hose (under water, out of the water, full of water, empty of water), as soon as I got it on there, the suction would die.
And so did I, a little bit.
I was standing there past my ankles in the water, covered in oil (because maybe it just needed a little greasing…), banging the pump against various available surfaces, and then I decided that I Had Had Enough. Oh the IRONY of a pump that won’t suck, you know, when EVERYTHING ELSE DOES. Clearly I needed a new pump. Fine.
I tromped back upstairs. I yanked socks onto my still-wet feet and shoved them into my sneakers. I grabbed my purse and drove to Home Despot.
I walked up to the first employee I saw and said, “I need a submersible pump for my basement.”
He smiled and answered, “I can help you with that! What sort of–”
“Listen,” I interrupted him, “I’m flooded for the second time in less than a month. I was running a piece of crap pump and it broke. You and I both know that ALL of the pumps are in the same place, and I don’t really want to chat or hear about the relative merits. Please just show me where they are, because I’m sure you’re very nice and great at your job, but in case you haven’t noticed, I AM IN A REALLY BAD MOOD.”
Then, I leaned over and ripped his head clean off his neck. Just for emphasis.
While his neck stump spurted a trail of blood through Seasonals, Obedient Employee led me to the pumps with great speed. (Necessary, of course, to complete the jaunt before he died, and also to help me achieve my goal before I actually burst into flame from the sheer force of my misery.) The pump I picked from the display didn’t appear to be in stock. “It’s not HERE,” I told him, my pitch rising and my hand flailing in the general direction of the boxes under the display. “THAT’S THE ONE I NEED, why don’t you have any??” He assured me they did, and ran off for a ladder. When he returned, he climbed eight stories to the ceiling and plucked a box from the stock suspended on the airborne platform.
I thanked him profusely. “I promise to be less crabby the next time I have to come here. You’ve been extremely helpful, especially considering the headlessness and all.” He crumpled into a heap at the bottom of the ladder and I raced to the self-checkout.
Back home, I tore the box open. STOP, shouted the inner packaging. DO NOT OPERATE PUMP UNTIL YOU HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THE USER’S MANUAL. Okay, then. I left the user’s manual right there in the box while I ran downstairs, set the pump in the water, and plugged it in. It sucked water. Immediately. I declared it a success and went back upstairs.
Then it was on to the circus of phone calls. An update for the ex. A call to the insurance agent, who was talking to another client. A call from a friend. A call back from the insurance agent, during which the adjustor called him. He went to talk to the adjustor, then came back to tell me the adjustor would be calling. Then told me not to say anything about burning the house down when I talked to the adjustor. Yup–the adjustor called, and asked to come see the basement. Excellent.
In the midst of all of this, I’m trying to work. Really. I am. And I am bouncing between “I am working and everything is fine” and “what is the point, I should probably just go back to bed.” To say that I was experiencing a bit of mood cycling would be an understatement.
My inbox beeps, and lo and behold, I have an email from geeFlarmony announcing that they have a new match for me! At the moment when I receive the mail, I can think of nothing I care about LESS than finding a date. But given their extremely lackluster performance for me thus far, I figure I should check it out. I click over for a look, and there’s the top-level information: First name, age, location, career field, ethnicity, and a picture.
Now, as you may recall, I haven’t gotten many *coughcoughANYcoughcough* matches through my friends at geeFlarmony, and they had suggested that I redo my profile to increase my chances of matching. Fine. The first thing that strikes me, in viewing this snippet of information for my new match, is that the same thing must’ve happened to him.
How do I know this?
Well, according to his profile, he’s African-American. Despite the fact that the picture is clearly of an unremarkable caucasian guy. (No, he’s not mixed. No, I’m not mistaken. Dude is WHITE.)
On any other day, it might have struck me the wrong way. Today? Barely batted an eyelash. Maybe the man’s basement is flooded. But really. You know the whole “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy? I have a new, similar philosophy for dating: Don’t know, don’t care.
The adjustor showed up, all apologies for “the earlier difficulty” with the previous adjustor, and came down to the basement with me. He looked around, poked and prodded, took some pictures, and then said…
… wait for it…
“You really need to get the water out of here.”
(I may have done a double-take to try to figure out of he was my ethnicity-confused potential date. And then I ripped his head off.)
No. Of course not. I slowly and calmly explained that I was running a brand new pump, which was the best I could manage until I could get a contractor to cut the floor for a suitable, permanent sump pump, and that because the water is COMING UP FROM THE DRAIN we could drain the basement as often as he wished, but that until the water table recedes there’s not much more that can be done.
“And I would really love to be wrong about that,” I ended, feeling tears pricking my eyes in spite of myself, “but the water level only went down about a week ago.”
To his credit, the adjustor agreed with me, patted my arm, and assured me that “something will be covered” and “the previous adjustor made a mistake” and I should just concentrate on getting through this. Then he asked to check out the dumpster.
We went outside and climbed up one end and hung over the edge and discussed the contents. It was rather surreal. “There’s the dresser,” I said, pointing. “You can see some of the bags of clothes, over there. Some toys. The rugs. Um, but most of it’s under all the cardboard I took out of the garage. Can you actually SEE any of this?” He assured me that his view was sufficient and he would take my word on what had been ruined. “Oh, in THAT case, there’s a few Faberge eggs in there. And a diamond tiara.” He chuckled.
I was left with a pile of paperwork and assurances that money would be forthcoming. I should’ve felt better. I did feel better, for about five minutes. Then I sat down and cried for a while. Maybe it was relief. I hope it was relief (otherwise I’m just nuts, and that seems bad). In the meantime, the lovely Karen Rani was apparently offering up incantations on my behalf, as later evidenced by the meaningful cookies she sent along to cheer me up.
So it’s getting better. I think. But my eyes keep leaking and I keep yelling at my kids and I don’t feel like myself. This would probably make me wonder like WHOM, then, I DO feel, but I’m too tired to care.
Though I am a bit curious, in spite of myself, to know what my new friend Whitey McBrother is thinking….