...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Friday, November 09, 2007

Water, water, everywhere

This morning when I rode my bike up to work, the doors of the school were all propped open and water was running out of them. I jumped off my bike, stepped into the the building, and my jaw dropped open. At least an inch of water covered the floor. Several of my co-workers had brooms and were sweeping water towards the drains in the hallway. Others were hauling furniture outside. The director was pacing around carrying a clipboard and wearing rubber boots. Needless to say, there was nary a child in sight.

Apparently sometime last night, a water main in the ceiling above the younger toddler room burst, flooding the whole school. The force knocked down a row of shelves in the toddler room, including the shelves that were holding all the children's journals (we're required to keep a journal for each child, which we update multiple times a week). Some of those journals were started when the child was an infant. When S, the toddler teacher, found the journals in the morning, they were lying in a pool of water, all the words washed away. S was near tears when she told me about finding the journals. About a third of the ceiling panels in that room came down was well; another third were so swollen with water that we were concerned they would fall on us as we cleaned the room. S finally poked them with the end of a broom handle until they came crashing down with a thud and splash. Water ran down the insides of the wall in between S's room and my room; the wall has kind of a spongy feel to it now and will probably have to be torn out and replaced. All of the baseboards will probably have to be replaced to guard against mold. Carpets may have to be replaced. Plumbing will have to be reworked--at the very least S needs a new sink for her room since the shelves fell on their sink and knocked it out of the wall.

My shift begins at 9; I worked with everyone trying to salvage what we could and document the damage for an insurance claim for a couple hours. A little before noon, the director told us that there was nothing more we could do and sent us home. We're closed for Monday for Veteran's Day, and probably the rest of next week as well--possibly for two more weeks. The person I feel worst for in the whole situation is J, the school owner and executive director: she just left yesterday for a two-and-a-half week vacation in Mexico with her family.