Friday, August 18, 2006

Unsinkable

I can recall having loved water as far back as my memory extends. Many of my favorite places are water: Bear Lake, Fall Creek, the Pacific Ocean swirling around the Imperial Beach pier, dredging pyrite from the seabed to sparkle like glitter in its swells. And now I treat drinking water for a living, affectionately observing as upwards of seven million gallons a day tumble and rush through the three process steps of our plant.

I love water in any temperature and form: ice, steam, stinging raindrops, murky puddles in grooves on dirt roads, the dense gray marine layer hovering offshore on winter mornings in I.B. I loved long afternoons spent body boarding in the salty Pacific, or standing calf deep at midnight with buckets poised to capture spawning grunion during certain phases of the moon. I can’t remember the first time I beheld the ocean; I’m certain it was love at first sight.

By nine years old I could easily reach the bottom of the 12-foot deep end in the Kemmerer high school pool, and I spent a childhood of summers in the outdoor pool (two hundred yards from our front door), skin baked coppery brown, hair bleached white and tinted faintly green. I was happy simply diving for neon golf balls, but I adore water-inspired paraphernalia: Slip’n’Slides, Super Soakers, innertubes on lazy rivers and spiral waterslides at amusement parks, water balloons, fun noodles, and daisy-shaped sprinkler heads that shower kids with cooling drops.

There is, however, one circumstance in which water isn’t welcome in my world: when it’s nearly two inches deep on my living room floor. The flood I came home to Wednesday at noon was caused by the garden hose, which someone had turned on and left drowning the hollyhocks I’ve been cultivating. The foundation of this house is by no means watertight, and after the soil outside the walls of my basement apartment had absorbed as much as possible, the water seeped in under the baseboard and filled the room.

I can’t get anyone to confess- not even to grant me the peace of mind that it won’t happen again- so I have all this anguish and rage and no one to direct it at. The result is an intense weariness, constant suspicion of and speculation about my neighbors, and a little bit of hopelessness I had to battle pretty hard to overcome. Not that I didn't have help.

This is the third time in three years I’ve come home to find that room a marsh. The first time, the kid who mows the lawn had left the long pipe that drains the rainwater from the roof lying in the driveway, unattached, and the water from the gutters ran along the house and in through my living room window, where the wall panel was crimped and browned from previous incidents. I dug a trench and hung a sign. The second time, the snow banks from the upper yard behind the garage had melted one fine spring morning and flowed in the window. And this spring, snowmelt created a puddle in the corner of the kitchen that renewed itself every time I vacuumed it up for two whole days.

Although I’m clever enough to have elevated most of my belongings, I’m still worried about what might be growing in carpet and walls that find themselves repeatedly soaked. And as for the logic of living here as long as I have, the heretofore-weighty pros- incredibly inexpensive rent, consistently cool quarters in the summer months and cozy warmth in the winter- are finally beginning to wither beside the alarming tally of cons, including invading cigarette smoke, noisy and/or criminal neighbors, parking wars, noisy pumps, no sidewalk, crumbling shower walls (due to an early termite infestation), questionable electrical wiring, and perhaps the most acute problem, space. I’m finally feeling claustrophobic in 360 square feet.

And so, instead of spending the coming weeks kayaking- the Dragonfly is marooned on the couch along with the rest of the contents of the living room- I will be searching for a new home. I’m sure it’s long overdue. Wednesday I suffered a head injury and a fit of despair, but now I’m looking forward to relocating. I have ushered most of the uninvited water out the front door by way of the shop vac, and two oscillating fans gust fitfully day and night, rotating mechanically and spooking the cats. I’m going to deduct the work hours I missed from my September rent check in an attempt to make up for all the trauma. And if anyone knows of a pet friendly, two-bedroom place with a garage, washer and dryer hookups, and a responsible, realistic property manager, please let me know.

1 Comments:

Blogger JOB said...

Hey Adriane,

Sorry about your troubles. There are plenty of those places that you mention for rent here in San Diego. Although there are cigarette smoke still lurking everywhere there are laws that are going to impact the smokers here. Criminal activity is everywhere so this cannot be changed. There are lower crime areas but those come at a premium. Plenty of space I believe you can rent 900-1200sqft places with your desired amenities for around $1200 a month. I just moved myself because I could not deal with the little space I had. I bought a 3BR, 3BA, 2 Car Garage with 1500sqft of living space in the fine community of Eastlake, Chula Vista. I pay about $2900 a month for my place with amenities and I get to keep my place. I am paying for the California sun very expensive. Anyways, I wish you luck on your search.

Until Next Time,

JOB

August 19, 2006 at 1:39 AM  

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