For the third time in as many years, I’ve had water from the apartment over me invade my space. The first time, a pipe in the bathroom burst while the apartment was unoccupied. About 11:00 p.m. I heard a drip, drip, drip and went to the living room to see water dripping through the ceiling-mounted smoke detector. Within 15 minutes, it was oozing around the electrical plugs and being flung around the room by the ceiling fan. When maintenance arrived and checked upstairs, the apartment had two to three inches of standing water. I had huge blowers belching air under the carpet for a week or more in addition to an industrial-strength dehumidifier that put off more heat than the Sahara Desert. Parts of walls were repainted and some carpet repairs had to be made where a the finish on a small chest bled into it.
Several months later, when the season changed and it turned cold, mice from the fields surrounding the apartment complex decided they liked my nice warm apartment better than the fields. Some mousetraps and steelwool-plugged holes later, the mice were gone.
Back in winter, a new tenant moved in upstairs and I woke one morning to drip, drip, drip. Water was running down the bathroom mirror. Apparently the toilet had overflowed.
Yesterday I was minding my own business, doing laundry and some other housecleaning when I heard what sounded like a toilet overhead flushing. Only it was REALLY loud. And it happened several times and I could hear running water and I flung open the closet where my hot water heater is and saw water gushing from a pipe at the bottom of it. I grabbed the Sham Wows and called maintenance while I sopped water. They arrived quickly and told me some valve on the hot water heater upstairs had malfunctioned. They used a Shop-Vac to get most of the water and said they’d called the carpet people to come suction out the rest. I had to leave for an appointment shortly thereafter, but when I returned, the carpet guy was there finishing up and I had two blowers and the Sahara Desert dehumidifier in place.
An hour or so later, I heard something in my kitchen, stepped from my front bedroom/office to check and saw the blur of something scurry from the kitchen to the living and dining room area. I said an ugly word. I crept toward the living room and the aforementioned critter ran to the front bedroom/office. Only this time I got a good look at him.
It’s a chipmunk!
Apparently he took advantage of the open door when the carpet guy was suctioning all that water from my carpet to his truck. I opened the front door in hopes he really didn’t enjoy being cooped up indoors on such a gorgeous sunny day and called maintenance — again. But it was after hours and they took a report with the promise of getting someone to check into it.
Meanwhile I remembered the leftover mousetraps from the Great Mouse Adventure of 2010, smeared them with peanut butter and set out 2 in the bedroom/office and one in the kitchen. None have been sprung yet and I haven’t heard anything resembling chipmunk sounds, so I’m hoping Alvin (or maybe it was Simon or Theodore) decided to head for the pool and slipped out the open door while my back was turned.
I can’t make this stuff up.
Maybe instead of romance, I should write children’s books about floods, mouse adventures and invading chipmunks.