As George W. Bush so eloquently put it a few years back, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me- Well, you can’t get fooled again.”
Now, I am very much a Fool Me Once type person and this has served me well, with one notable exception. Fool Me Once works with friends, with restaurants, with work-from-home opportunities that require money down and then send you a craft kit that isn’t going to make anybody money anywhere. It does not work with the weather. Meteorologically, Fool Me Once is a no-go.
Years ago, when Thing One was a toddler, a storm was forecast to bear down on New York with the intensity of Old Testament God smiting the Sodomites. From the reporting, there was about a ninety percent chance Ken Burns was going to document the hell out of this in a few decades time. And had that storm come, I would have been ready. I had mattresses pulled out into the living room so we could all sleep together away from the big windows that upon shattering, could slice Thing One into human sashimi. I made chili, lasagna, and glazed breakfast biscuits, gathered up plenty of snacks, and as the television instructed, filled my bathtub with water.
The storm wasn’t really a storm. You saw that coming, right? You and everyone else. Don’t get cocky. But, what about the water overflowing out of my bathtub onto the bathroom floor? Did you foresee that? Because when one is busy with a toddler and a full kitchen and the effort of mattress-rearranging, it is surprisingly easy for one to forget a bathtub filling with water. There was smiting that day, I assure you. But not by an Old Testament God. By my drunk, enraged, and possibly Tourette’s-afflicted downstairs neighbor. Well, that was the meteorologists’ chance and they blew it. I have ignored them ever since.
So, a few days ago when the first snowflakes began to fall, I had no idea there was an impending snow storm. I ignored the gun fights and knife fights over white bread, and when that devolved into bow and arrows and homemade spears, I just shrugged. New Yorkers, am I right? It’s not like I’ve never stepped over a severed arm or told Thing Two to avoid the lone eyeball rolling down the street before.
The storm rolled in. It was the second highest snowfall in the city’s history. It STILL wouldn’t have been a big deal, except that at the exact same time, a water main burst somewhere and left half of Manhattan with brown tap water. City officials applied smiley face stickers over their annoyed faces and promised us it was safe to drink, but everyone around me was looking at water glasses that look disturbingly like all those pictures they’ve been seeing of the water in Flint. Water panic! Luckily, my husband got my text and disguised as a pregnant woman, carried a few precious gallons under his shirt home from Brooklyn.
Now, this STILL wouldn’t be a big deal except you will remember there was this glowing and pulsing green puddle on my bathroom ceiling. Now after avoiding the puddle for a few days, and getting NO response from the Internet on how to better deal with it, (thanks, guys!) I finally mopped it up. “Mopped it up” in this case means I soaked one of those sponge-mops in watered-down bleach, inverted it, stood in my bathroom squirming at what I was about to do for twenty minutes, and then finally scrubbed at the ceiling. The mop head slowly absorbed into (through?) the puddle so that by the end, I was just rubbing the pole against the ceiling. But it was a clean, if somewhat scratched, ceiling. The puddle was gone!
The problem of course was that I hadn’t done anything about the leak itself, so by the next day, the puddle was back. This was the day of the storm, and shut in with nothing better to do, my husband duct-taped a new sponge to our now-severed mop handle and went to mop up the bathroom again. Since we only had two gallons of clean drinkable water, he used the brown water to mix the bleach in.
My husband says the puddle is exactly the same color it always was. It is not. It was green and now it has a purple shimmer that my husband swears isn’t there. The thing is it really doesn’t matter, since we both agree that the puddle now emits a steady hum which is a million times more disturbing than whether or not the puddle has a purple sheen or whether the snow on the window ledge is playing with the light and just casting a purple glare. A hum. It sounds like a drill.
So putting aside the fact that there might have been something very disturbing in our city’s water supply that interacted with whatever the hell is in this puddle, (We are very much still drinking bottled over here.) the leak does not appear to be resolving itself. Obviously. And if the dripping was keeping me up, you can bet that the humming, which I can hear from the next room over, is driving me insane.
When Turtle came up a few days ago, he said that this was happening in other apartments. I can only assume one of those apartments is our downstairs neighbor, who you will remember from above, was only slightly less vengeful than Old Testament God when I accidentally overflowed my bathtub onto his ceiling a few years back. Our relationship has not improved since. Probably due to the fact that Thing One and Thing Two no doubt sound like drunk water buffalo on roller skates from below. The problem is I don’t really see a Next Step that doesn’t involve checking out his bathroom to see if I can pinpoint the source of this leak.
So, that is my plan. I am going to go down there sometime in the next few days when Things One and Two are quietly watching TV so I won’t have to pretend I don’t hear how loud they are when they play superheroes. I wonder if bringing baked goods would come across as a peace offering. My neighbor is just the type to accuse me of poisoning him, but I feel like I can’t go empty-handed. A new set of towels?
I will post the results, which I am sure will be mortifying. Stay tuned. And if you are in the area, consider investing in a good water filter.