Water Damage

Last night, ‘long about midnight, as I was getting into bed, I stepped in something…wet.

I stood for a moment, as people do while the sogginess percolates their tired brain, and then pronounced judgement: “Goddamnitthefloorswet.”

My first thought was that it had been an Athena accident. This would be rather unusual, because while Loki was known to express his displeasure by letting us know that his house training was optional, Athena, despite having an IQ of i, is blindingly well trained and has never gone anywhere but the litter box, so far as I know. (Vomit is another matter, but we’ll assume that’s not entirely under her control.) But it was totally clear, and it didn’t have the rather distinctive ammonia of carnivore urine.

And then, while attempting to mop it up, there was more and more and more and we moved boxes, and there was more, and it became obvious that unless Athena had a bladder twice the size of her body and capable of peeing around tight corners in a fine, evenly saturating mist, that it was not the cat.

This seemed to be a bad sign. And it was damp and dark in that corner, and a centipede crawled out from where the carpet met the wall, and Ursula’s skin attempted to hunch itself up to a safe position somewhere on the back of her neck until James killed it.

Since it was now 1 AM ish, we slept on it. Poorly. Thinking “Oh, god, I bet there’s thousands of them under the carpet,” and “Oh god, please don’t let it be so serious that we have to move again, I cannot TAKE that,” neither of which are exactly conducive to good sleep. This morning, we moved more boxes, and went out to check the furnace, in a shed on the deck outside, on the other side of the wall from the damp carpet. And the furnace was surrounded by sogginess, and also by centipedes, a vast horde of little inch long leggy bits that made Ursula’s skin make Three Stooges noises and crawl right off her body and onto the chandelier for safety.

I cannot abide centipedes. I am sure they are terribly helpful predators on evil bugs, and because I am a good environmentalist, I do not wish them extinct, but I would be comfortable with them living on a nice wildlife preserve a long ways off.

So I went next door to the landlady and said “Houston, we have a problem.” And that redoubtable woman, after investigating, and being equally (if not more) horrified–after all, she’ll have to pay for it–crawled under the house and dug around. (She’s in her fifties, and a tough cookie.) It was dry, or as dry as NC gets. So there is obviously some kind of leak that is in that spot, but not dripping.

The plumber hath been summoned, and I am very glad we’re renting.

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