See all that pretty white snow balanced on the edge of the rooftops? Do you know what happens to this gloriously romantic fluff once the temperatures drop, the winds howl and it is frozen? Well I’ll tell you.
During the daytime, the temperatures have been a little above freezing. The snow which had been lying on the top of the slanted roof, covering up the skylights, slowly slides downward until it meets up with its snow buddy that has been taking in the view, right from the edge of the roof.
Some of the melted snow begins to drip, drip, drip and in a few hours you get long icicles. Now aren’t they special. They make the building look a little like a fairy tale. In fact they are getting pretty long, about four feet and they are much thicker than those cute little icicles that usually adorn the edges of the window frames. These guys are getting huge. They are growing, and after two days they’re beginning to look a bit frightening as if they are leering, hovering even. Is that a droop in the bottom of the gutters which line the edges of the roof? Why yes they seem to be straining under the load.
Taking the shovel that has been working overtime through the last two storms, I tentatively tap the ice. Nothing. The ice is clear and insanely thick. It is wrapped around the gutter and the roof. I feel icy water plop down onto the cotton-candy pink ski hat, which I have had since 1983. It’s a good quality hat. The cold water continues to hit me atop my head, until I decide to move out from beneath its path. It falls onto the two to three inches of ice which was underneath the snow I struggled to shovel off the deck. Naturally being in the top floor condo, I must look over the railing before I drop each shovel-full of snow. After an hour I decide to give it until tomorrow to warm up, because I am slip-sliding around and have no wish to be plummeting past my neighbors’ living room windows. Tomorrow. I enter the warm place I call home and after removing layers of clothing and hanging them to dry, I plop down on my half-moon shaped sofa to stretch out and lick my wounds. The snow was tough but the ice was kicking my arse.
Hours later, it is now 4:55 AM Thursday, and the reason I know is that I opened my right eye enough to see where I was walking, after I had brushed my teeth in the dark. I didn’t want to wake up because I was headed to the big sleep number bed. Almost there I was still dreaming when all at once yuck! My foot was wet from stepping into a wet spot. Oh, man, my sock was wet and now I have to hang it to dry. I thought I had dropped a blob of water when earlier, I had filled the cats bowl. Still functioning in my sleep-shrouded mind I turned to carry out this task when my other foot encountered another wet spot. That did it. I was fully awake and calling out to my husband who was in his studio. When he showed up he flipped on the bright light that cruelly made sure I was wide awake, he asked what I needed and why was I holding my socks in that manner, out to my side. I explained that there was water on the floor and as my feet encountered more wetness I told him it was very cold water.
We soon discovered water had covered perhaps a fifth of the carpet, in the middle of the room. We were trying to figure out where it was coming from, when we heard drip, drip, drip. Oh No! Icy arctic water was coming in above the window and we soon discovered it was trailing its way down and through the drywall. Now it was wet-wall. We exchanged looks full of meaning and sighed heavily.
At least I had been asleep for two hours. My poor husband had been in the studio and was just getting ready to retire for the night. We were at war and our armor was towels, buckets, strewn-together plastic that we shaped with electrical tape, in order to direct the flowing water, and fighting with determination not to allow it to encroach further into the bedchamber. We fought for five hours, well I did, because he had to catch three hours of much-needed sleep, with me interrupting him intermittently.
We managed to do that until we had it under control and later that afternoon, we went to Home Depot to purchase what we didn’t think we would need in a condo. We had left our shop vacuum with the buyer of our house that we sold, and that afternoon we bought a new wet/dry shop vacuum! Another ironic thing was that we had given them our heavy-duty show shovel, because the driveway and walkway and sidewalks are a huge job in the snow, and the lovely newlyweds would be able to handle the impending job. Well, Washington, DC area has had over five feet of snow since December and I think it’s poetically funny.
Ugh! Let me tell you that wet vacuuming is quite difficult as one must position the wand and the nozzle at an angle. You can hear when the suction has started and unlike regular rug cleaning, you pull the wand toward you. You really pull. This action encourages you to use stomach and abdominal muscles that most people don’t know they have. It was painful to move about an hour later.
Some of my readers will recall that about four or five months ago, we purchased a Bissell Spot Bot. It was intended for cleaning pet spots, such as hair-ball stains or for the odd time it was needed. I have to give a high-five to this little machine because without it we would have been sunk. It slurped up lots of water and even though I was pouring out the water it had collected every four minutes, we could not have gotten to the hardware store before we did, because we were still pretty much snowed in. So, hail to the Spot Bot! We couldn’t have made it without you!
We continued in this vein until Sunday afternoon. I prayed really hard for the water to stop dripping and when we woke up Monday morning, there was not any more sound of dripping water. Thank you.
Since Thursday I have washed and dried our towels, all of them, over and over. Now we are just waiting for the insurance people to send an adjuster and for the contractor to call me back. It’s been two days already since I left a message for him. There are many people who have been contacting their insurance providers and leaving messages for contractors. In Sunday’s Washington Post, Metro, page one at the bottom had a whole story about ice damming and even showed diagrams to explain how the water freezes, builds up, begins to melt and having nowhere else to go, forces its way through roofs, siding, insulation, bricks, mortar and cement to have its way with defenseless sleeping people. I tell you I believed we had left water damage at the house we sold, but it seems to have followed us. I will say however, that we do not feel singled out this time.