gothams3rdrobin: (me)
[personal profile] gothams3rdrobin
I think I've known all of you long enough now that you may all remember this incident in September 2008, where my flat got flooded out after heavy rainfall.

Yeah. Guess what....

Rowan went off on a school trip to Shrewsbury on Monday, and I took a couple of days off work to finish up an assignment that was due noon Tuesday. I managed to get the assignment done and sent off, and spent Tuesday afternoon futzing around, debating whether to just relax or make a start on the final End of Course assignment since it's a doozy. I got up to go put some food on, and spot a mahoooosive puddle spreading across my living room from the front door.

I hadn't even registered the fact that it had been raining really badly all day - I am Welsh, after all, c'mon! - but evidentally it had been pouring. Since the public drains out on the main road were apparently blocked once more, a moat had yet again built up around my flat with the same results as last time. Not only was it coming in through the patio door and the front door, it was coming in through the boiler cupboard in the kitchen, underneath Rowan's bedroom window, and the wall of my bedroom.

Once I'd gotten hold of the council's maintenance team and let them know what was going on, there wasn't much for me to do but wait. No-one was answering the phone at my parent's house, suggesting they were both at work, so I fired off a text to Mam to let her know. She's not allowed to have her phone on while she's working, obviously, but I knew she'd check it either on her break or when she finished. I then ran around the flat picking as much as I could up off the floor. After last time, most things that live on the floor are in plastic crates anyway, so I knew I could leave them as they were. Rowan's drumkit got hoisted up on top of his cabin bed, so that was perfectly safe thank goodness.

Dad called me back while I was doing this, and I explained what was going on to him. His initial response was one of "Oh. Um. Okay, keep us updated." So yeah, thanks for that Daddy! :-p I called him back a couple of hours later, since it was a given that I was going to have to crash with them despite his reluctance to commit to anything (Mam, for all I whinge about her, would have been right over a minute after hanging up the phone), and asked him to come get the cats for me. Poor loves were absolutely freaked out, hiding out in off-the-ground places in Rowan's room once all of the floor was wet, and Myfi kept trying to get into my arms. Tilly pretty much walked herself into the carrier once I got it out ready for Dad to take the first of them away, then hid behind my parents' sofa for about twenty-four hours. Even now she spends a fair bit of time back there. Plus she growls at noises outside the living room; something she usually does when someone comes to the door unexpectedly. She has even growled at Mam a few times! *laughs*

Anyway, I was hanging around for the council for two hours with no sign of them - the water continuing to rise - so I had to call them back again, and was informed that no, the response time was three hours! *eyeroll* Someone called me back a bit later, and asked me if I'd spoken to Welsh Water yet, since the issue was caused by their drainage system. Ummm, no, thought that was your job! :-p So he goes off, and within about twenty minutes a team from Welsh Water were on the scene; clearing the drains and sucking the water out of my flat with a vacuum hose. By this time, however, the water was ankle deep and I'd had to empty the bottom shelves of my bookcases. Welsh Water were incredibly apologetic about the whole thing, and pretty much bending over backwards to do what they could for me despite the fact that it got dark before they could finish the job. Had I asked them to clear out my stuff from the flat right then and there, sodden carpets and all, they would have done so - but obviously I needed to leave everything pretty much where it was for my insurer to come inspect the damage. I did learn from the mistakes of last time, however, and put in an immediate request for dehumidifiers to be supplied as soon as the insurer's salvage team have cleared up my stuff. That was what kept us out of the place for so long last time, as I didn't know to ask them for it, and the council were extremely bloody slow at sorting it out themselves.

With needing to make phone calls (argh!) and be available to let people into the property, I haven't been able to work all week, and I'm going to need tomorrow off too. I phoned my insurance Wednesday morning to report the claim, since I hadn't be able to get hold of them while I was ankle deep in water, despite multiple attempts. They arranged for the loss adjuster to come over Friday morning, since that was the earliest she was available, and the salvage company they assigned called me back to let me know they could come over on Monday morning. While I was talking to them, the guy from Welsh Water knocked the door to deliver the claim forms for their compensation (I can claim back my insurance excess and a contribution to my premium increase at renewal, and possibly anything not covered by my insurance), so I was also able to let him know to bring in the dehumidifiers on Monday afternoon. Also spoke to the council's housing team - who initially tried to fob it all off on the maintenance team, till I pressed the issue of my being basically homeless. With a kid and two cats. No way in hell was I toughing it out at my parent's house for almost three months again.

They sent out a maintenance blokey and a housing officer, who had a looksee and a discussion, and it was decided that the best course of action would be to 'decant' us from the property (I am still amused, having never heared that word in this context before) into whatever emergency property they could find for us. They were initially trying to rush it through, aware that Rowan would be home from his trip Friday evening, but the housing officer had to call me Thursday morning to let me know it would likely be a week before they could find us somewhere, and could we possibly hang tight a little longer? I played the sympathy card as much as I could, reminding him that we would be overcrowded and also my mother's late-developing asthma means she's not comfortable around the cats for prolonged periods of time... Anyway, paperwork's all in for us to be given somewhere else to live - ostensibly on a temporary basis, but there is precedent for a request to stay if we prefer it there. I have absolutely no idea where we might end up, but they are taking Rowan's schooling into account so it's not like we're going to end up on the other side of the city. I'm simultaneously apprehensive and excited, as while this is stressful and we could end up somewhere horrible, I've wanted a fresh start for a long time and we have just as much chance of finding ourselves living somewhere so much better without having to go through the hassle of private rentals.

The loss adjuster remembered us from the last time - my quotes at renewal have been so similar I haven't bothered to change insurers - and pretty much agreed with me about what was totalled (pretty much every stick of furniture). She's probably going to have to write off all my large white goods too; my new cooker's gas flume is pretty low, since there's no under-oven storage like with most models, my vacuum cleaner's base got submerged, and I think it was the fridge freezer that tripped the circuit for the power points. She took the details of my washing machine too. Kinda gutting, since the washer and cooker were recent purchases, but on the other hand the fridge was a dinosaur I traded with my sister; she needed under-counter applicances in her old place back in Devon, and I was about to undergo a kitchen refit so needed more space. I was looking to replace it in the future anyway.

That's the thing that's keeping me from getting too down about this whole thing; my stuff is mostly safe, thanks to prior experience, my furniture is replaceable, and I needed to buy us both new beds anyway! I am entirely gutted that I've lost my bedroom suite though, since it was one of the better quality ranges from IKEA - Leksvik, if that means anything to any of you - and I loved it to peices, but it is now discontinued! *pouts* The biggest hassle is that council properties come unfurnished, so as soon as they find us a place, I am going to need to go buy at least some of the furniture urgently. To that end, my insurer is supposed to be sending me an advance on my settlement - which will hopefully come through soon - but if they work as fast as they did last time there's a good chance I'll have my full settlement by the time we can move. *crosses fingers* I think I'm going to have to get pretty much everything from IKEA, if for no other reason than I can get everything delivered the next day, rather than have to wait a week or more. I need to get settled ASAP so I can go back to working from home - though I can go into the office in the interim. Obviously the white goods will take longer to arrive, but this wouldn't be the first time I've had to cope with only a microwave and kettle to cook with, and I'm sure I'll find a way to keep up with the laundry (handwash, parents, laundrette... we'll deal, either way) until the new washer/dryer arrives.

So, that's the state of us right now. I haven't kept up with my Twitter commentary about it all since Rowan got back, since he needed my attention, so if I dropped the ball with anyone, my deepest apologies! My focus has been elsewhere.

Hopefully everything will go smoothly tomorrow and all I'll be waiting for is for the council to tell me where we can go. I need to get back to work Tuesday - they've been great, but that can't continue indefinitely and I'm likely to lose holiday time as it is. To make matters worse, Rowan's school is closed Friday for an inset day, ahead of half-term the week after. With me working from home, that's no problem since he can just hang out with me, but that's not going to be possible while we're still at my parents' place. Mam's been muttering about how we'll 'sort something out', but I don't know what the three of us can manage since Mam's shifts aren't set in stone and Dad's not likely to be able to arrange any flexibility himself. Ultimately, though, we'll sort something out. That is what you do, after all, when adversity strikes.

Date: 2013-05-19 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, man. :(

Date: 2013-05-20 09:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know, right? *sigh*

Date: 2013-05-20 01:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, son of a .... what a total fucking mess. I do hope it turns out to be a blessing, though. I know you've wanted out of there for a while now.

Date: 2013-05-20 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I so have! It would be so disheartening to settle us into a new place, only to have to move back again in a couple of months.

Date: 2013-05-20 08:57 am (UTC)
catwalksalone: happy grey cat surrounded by flowers (Default)
From: [personal profile] catwalksalone
You know what, though, as shit as this is (and it is total shit), just look at you coping. A few years ago you'd've been really struggling and now you're so much more confident and good at asking for what you want. That's brilliant. I mean, it's pretty crappy that you had to be flooded and disrupted ('decanted', hee!) in order for it to be clear just how far you've come, but still. \you/

I cross everything that you end up somewhere decent. Word of advice re the cats, in case you didn't already think of this which you probably did: keep them in one room for at least 24 hours with all their bits and pieces and maybe something that smells of you or Rowan. Slowly let them into other areas so they can get used to the place. You'll know best whether to keep them together or apart and they'll let you know when they're feeling comfortable enough to step outside of that room. The general suggestion is to keep them inside for about three weeks to be secure enough to go outside. And then let them out just before a meals so they're hungry and will want to come back. Best thing to do is to leave the door/catflap open so they can make the choice to go out or not and leave it open so they can run back in if feeling insecure. You can let them out for short periods at first and then longer as they get more confident.

We just had an incident here where new people moved in up the road and within days there was a cat crying and crying and crying and trying to come into our house. We fed it outside because we weren't sure what was going on with it. This happened for about three days and then we haven't heard from it again. Presumably it finally worked out how to get home easily. Poor thing was very upset, though.

Wow, I wrote you an essay. Sorry about that. Good luck with everything! Whatever happens, you will be awesome.

Date: 2013-05-20 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Heh, thanks hon. It has always amazed me how we cope when we need to. I would quite like to go whimper in a corner - particularly when I'm knee deep in the detrius of my possessions - but that's not an option.

Yeah, I've read that *nodnod* Never seem to find myself in a situation where I can put it into practise though - couldn't keep Tilly separate when we brought her home as a kitten, thanks to the layout of our house, so we had no option but to just let her out in the living room. We did use the old butter-on-the-paws trick with the boys, with a zero failure rate, but then again my boys were pretty content in general, even if Symba was a serial complainer *chuckle*

Around here (my parents' place) they've pretty much just stuck close to me: Myfi has a quiet chair under the dining table where she can both observe everything and defend herself; Tilly is still spending time behind the sofa, but she's spending more on it, cwtched up alongside me. Both of them follow me into the bathroom and on the bed at night - nothing new there, but there's a clingy feel to it. Not surprising though.

Myfi's been here before, so she wasn't as worried. She discovered the back garden on Saturday though, as she accidentally got outside, and has since been wanting to explore again. She's so cute when she gets outside, as she crescent-moons on the patio to look cute, but I haven't actually let her out since we got Tilly. It's mean of me, but they dont get along so I worry one of them is going to get fed up and disappear. It's not been too bad here - though obviously it's not harmonious - which makes me wonder if maybe part of the problem is that they hate the flat as much as we do! *laughs*

Heehee - one essay begets another? ;-)

Date: 2013-05-21 04:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm so sorry you have to go through this again. (((hugs))) Hoping the council manages to "decant" you into someplace better.


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