"Dawn's Early Light" 8 X 8, aluminized metal. Matching mug too. Ready to hang. Available at ArtServe Gift Store.
It was suppose to be an easy going morning catching up on paperwork before going to my booth at the Home Show at the Broward County Convention Center that I was sharing with my friend and mixed-media artist extraordinaire Jen Walls. The Universe had other plans.
Pulling back the bedspread last Friday morning it seems extra heavy. My toes glazed the top of my bedside shoes; they seemed damp. As I slipped into them my eyes opened instantly. I was wide-awake looking onto two plus inches of water everywhere. Walking from my bedroom on one side of the house to the source of the flood at the other end of the house all I saw was a sea of water. It was like being at the beach at low tide only this was inside my house. It was even overflowing onto the back patio. Water was spraying big time from somewhere inside the utility room right across the entrance to the kitchen.
I called Pete, my plumber. He was out of town. Earlier this year when I had a major water leak that affected two bathrooms, linen closet and master bedroom he was out of town too. Very calmly he directed me to the water shut off value I had installed a few years back. An hour-and-a-half later his guys arrived with two water vacuums. Working as hard as they could, forty-five minutes later they had barely made a dent in drying up the water. They called Pete and reported how it wasn't going. Pete didn't seem to fathom the enormously of the situation. He told his guys to keep on doing what they were doing. One volunteered to walk in front of me as I took a video to capture the water splashing everywhere and the extent of the damage.
Since home phone was nothing but static, I started calling others on cell to figure out next steps. First my insurance agent to find out who he represented in this type case. He said both the insurance company and me. I was still mentally getting over that the same insurance company which took over six months to settle the previous water damage claim that happened in March. They finally did while I was in Ireland. On the upside, it may have been a good thing since the same areas were affected again. If they had settled before I left the bathroom walls may have been open, more mold exposed or the renovations completed. Although, the "jury's" still out on the mold since the house now has a heavy musty "stink".
More calls...public adjuster, couldn't get a live person; computer guy; Jen, graciously said she'd handle the booth and any sales of my art; my neighbor Gwenn, who checked on me several times in morning and came over as soon as she could once back from work. I set up a folding table and got computer tower off the floor (does that mother board, two separate internal drives and everything else really dry out and function like they were never touched by two inches of standing water), art that was stored in the house for the Home Show, my sister's fine art that was stored at the end of the hall waiting for me to decide what to do with it, lots of shoes (some new and never worn); of course furniture and much more.
By 12:30 pm Pete the plumber told his guys they had to wrap-up my job by 1 pm and go to next scheduled appointment. It couldn't wait. Pete told me I was an emergency and his guys had to get to customer who was moving on Monday and work had to be done. He recommended going with public adjuster again and getting their recommendation for someone to finish up. His guys felt badly. In that moment I didn't like it either; it didn't feel right. In retrospect, I am grateful that Pete did what he did. It forced me to make my decision (with Gwenn as my sounding board) to call the insurance company. Water in a house can not wait. The public adjuster left message he would be there between 3 - 4 pm. Once the claim was made and my agent called to be sure they recognized that I had water damage coverage (they kept saying it was excluded) everyone jumped into action. The inside claims adjusted called to confirm that he set everything into motion; the outside adjuster called and made appointment for next day; the water remediation company called, they had trucks dispatched (turned out to be five) to me. By 7 pm the inside humidity level measured 99 degrees and they had done all that could do this day. Water was mostly soaked up. Eleven dehumidifiers and blowers were set up to prevent mold from getting inside the walls. They wanted more machines and the circuit breaker couldn't take it. And, by 8 pm I was moved into the guest room at my neighbor, Gwenn's house, and having dinner with her and her husband Don.
It's a week later and life goes on. I had a good Home Show thanks to Jen who "held down the fort" as they say when I had to meet the water remediation guys on Saturday and Sunday for daily checks, sold art and met lovely folks. All of the drying machines come out tomorrow. And and I'm still here with Gwenn and Don. It's funny or is it "there are no accidents". When my youngest sister passed away it was at a time in my life where I was between living places. At first I was intent on selling her house and then the market fell out here and just about everywhere. I decided to buy my surviving sister's interest in this house and live here because I liked Gwenn and liked the neighborhood. I'm still glad that I made that decision. I had a glimpse of who Gwenn was the first time I knocked on her door. My sister asked me to do so even though she didn't personally know her. Sandi needed help and she knew that Gwenn was a nurse. Gwenn came right over. Then she offered that her youngest kids would feed my sister's cats and clean their litter box everyday. Whenever I needed anything for my sister or me Gwenn came through. I am very grateful for Gwenn and Don and their compassionate and open hearts. I've been their invited guest at their house for many Thanksgivings. And, even though they are celebrating at a family gathering out of state this year, I am celebrating again at their house, just not in the "traditional" sense.
And, I am thankful for you. You wouldn't be reading this post unless we've touched each other in some way. Thank you for being in my life. I know that it is better because of you dear friend.
Time to wrap this up and hit the road. Spending Thanksgiving with another good friend and her family. I am a "lucky girl' as they say, or is that SpiritDiva. I am grateful for the multiple invitations and how much turkey can one eat? Continued blessings to you.
P.S. If you have black rubber hoses connecting the water to your washing machine, please save your self a possible $10,000+ headache and a house that looks like a hurricane just swept through it and have them changed to braided stainless steal. It's incredible to image the damage that a hose that probably costs less than $10 can cause when it bursts.
Where do I begin? It seems too long since I last wrote you about my amazing and magical adventures in lovely Listowel, Co Kerry, Ireland. Since then I was on a mad dash to pull everything together for the photography exhibition at Olive Stack Gallery, hold part 3 of the photography workshop, actually have the photography exhibit, welcome the new artist, pack-in all I could with Tour A Lura Irish Tours director Damian Stack in my last weekend , play with new friend Caroline Rigney of Rigney's Farm and celebrate with more new girlfriends from the John B Keane pub's 6 - 9 Club thanks to the generosity of Caroline Stricks. And, then of course, it was time to pack and take the bus to Dublin to catch the flight home on the other side of the pond with an unexpected extra day there to visit Book of Kells at Trinity College. Much to my surprise, I returned rather tired. Perhaps a case of a combination of jet lag, legitimately tired (I have no idea why :) ), returning to a house that still has to have renovations from a major water leak and mold, and back to the thankfully already active art season here.
In fact, as I write this post, I'm minutes away from leaving for final meeting on arrangements for Endanger Exhibit to be held at end of this month as part of Art Basel in South Florida and pick-up my works for the Fort Lauderdale Home Show this weekend. More on this in another post.
And, about "Mind Your Self". This is one of those unique sayings (well for me anyways) that I heard repeatedly throughout my visit in Ireland. At first I wasn't sure if this was a positive phrase or an admonishment. Friends and strangers alike said it as they parted. I came to feel it was a term of endearment, kind of like "look out for yourself" because we care for you.
As I write this I see there is much to catch up with and I promise you more in-depth on each of these subset experiences. Although, I didn't seem to have the energy to write blog posts I did get almost completely caught-up on editing my favorite images from more than 5,500 photographs from the trip. Creating that new photography gallery on this website is on my "to do list".
In the meantime, please enjoy Day 31. It started with Caroline Rigney picking me up at the gallery and driving to her farm, Rigney's Farm. Rigney's Farmhouse is a handsome Irish country B&B, totally hand build by Caroline and her husband Joe (who was one of my photography students) in West County Limerick. Along the drive we passed the mighty Shannon River and some amazing views. Hospitality is surely Caroline's middle name. Once at her home we enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee and sweet lemon cake, a gift from one of Ireland's top bakers. Then it was off to feed the pigs and other animals on her real working Irish farm. For me that meant a new kind of photography adventure. Rigney's neighbor is Curraghchase Forest Park, 700 acres of pristine nature and woods. Caroline knew I would love walking and photographing this special place. Curraghchase House was the home of Sir Aubrey de Vere, parliamentarian and poet (1788-1846) and friend to William Wordsworth and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Here I along with many others had opportunity to sit in his mediation chair looking out on this nature treasure. Dusk seemed to come too early. Back at the farm, I was the honored guest for a delicious meal made from farm raised meat and greens. I'm not sure I've ever tasted a more flavor rich salad.
I was double blessed this day. Carol Stricks held a little dinner gathering at her house. It was intimate with nine women around the dining room table. Stories and laughs filled the air.
Until next time...Mind Your Self!
With Love, From My Heart!