Monday, September 22, 2008


The past few days have been rather interesting to say the least.

Saturday I spent the entire morning with my husband trying to fix a client's blocked up plumbing. Earlier attempts with a plunger & Liquid Plumber had proven ineffective, so this time we got serious. We rented a snake and ran that through for about 75 feet. Pulled out lots of VERY DISGUSTING stuff from the access pipe out in the yard. Let's just say the lawn has now been thoroughly watered and fertilized. YUCK! Yeah, being the "Executive Director" of a small non-profit is certain GLAMOROUS work, eh?

Then Sunday evening I got a call from one of the ladies living in the Emergency Housing program my organization runs, in the building shared by my office. She said we had water in our basement. I thought it was all together possible she was over-reacting/exaggerating. It had rained some recently and so I figured it was quite possible we had some draining coming in downstairs. But just to be sure I drove in the 45 min commute on SUNDAY to see if there was any serious concern.


We had between 4 - 6 inches of water all over the basement floor and it was still rising. Apparently the plastic waterline to the evaporative cooler popped off and water had been spraying down there for no telling how long.

Boxes of bedding, donated clothes, computer monitor and all sorts of supplies utterly soaked.

Just looking at all the ruined stuff and the amount of work it was going to take to get it out of there I freaked. I had myself a complete meltdown. I wound up sitting on the basement steps just sobbing for about half an hour.

MOST of the parts of my job I actually like and feel like I'm pretty good at. But over the last few weeks I've put in lots of extra hours and had very little sleep. I've been scrambling to play catch up on several fronts that had been let slide for far too long. With a shoe string budget and essentially no staff (thank God for a few committed volunteers!) I've often felt as if I were on a high wire without a net. I was dancing as fast as I could and just didn't see how I was supposed to do it all.

Then this...

It just pushed me over the top.

But today is a new day and things are looking MUCH brighter.

Yesterday one of my board members brought over a sump pump to start draining out the water. Then this morning group of homeless vets assisted by some run-of-the-mill hoodlums and gangsters hauled all the wet stuff out onto the lawn and made good use of a shop-vac and mops. One of my volunteers and I sorted through all the mucky wet stuff to decide what we would try to salvage and what to just throw away. Local community action agency provided a trailer and someone to take it to the dump. What was an utter catastrophe this morning was a completed clean up project by mid day.

It's still pretty damp in the basement, so we'll be running fans down there for the next couple days. But the worst of the flood is over and truth be known, I'm GRATEFUL we were able to get rid of a bunch of the stuff that was down there that I had serious questions about BEFORE it got flooded.

I still have lots to do and not enough resources to do it with. But I'm feeling far more confidant today that I can face whatever the world throws at me.

Lessons learned from this escapade are:
2. Pace Yourself
3. Keep your sense of humor

I really need to get it through my head that I CAN'T do it all by myself. But as I seek support from others, it's amazing what we can accomplish together.


Jess said...

How wonderful that they all came to help! Glad you got some Spring errrr Fall cleaning done! :)

Rozel said...

Ahhhh man. . .and I was whining about my little spot of water in the bathroom. Now I feel like an ungrateful little snot! I do not envy your situation but I am glad that you had help.

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