I think only I could end up with a real day as bad as this. Thursday night was rough, Friday morning it got worse, before it got worse yet.
So, do I begin at the beginning? no… let me summarise.
The first week of June we were in Minnesota; summer vacation, grand-baby high school graduation, and oldest kid birthday all rolled into one. For us this is international travel; we even used air miles to get there. On the second-to-the-last-day we get a call from the Landlord; when our lease is up (end of September) he wants to move into our house because he sold his.
Not a great ending to the holiday travels however well in advance of the deadline and kindly put. Since he really wants us out now, he is willing to let us break the lease early if we can find a place, so we spent June finding a place we can move into mid-July. Fast-forward through 4 weeks of insane house hunting, 13 property showings, and the most painful application process, getting us up to date with the more-than-intense attempts to get rid of stuff/hire packers/arrange movers/pay stupid fees/juggle a two-week overlap of rent involving (and I only wish this were not true) well over $10k in rents, deposits, etc. In the last week I have spent or taken on debt to the tune of $20k+.
And Thursday one of the cats was feeling a bit poorly. Almost certainly constipated, which she has done twice before, each time when we changed her food. We changed her food 6 days ago. <sigh> After supper (shockingly good Vancouver-interpretation-of-Mexican-which-has-almost-nothing-to-do-with-Mexico-cuisine) Elizabeth suggested we take in a walk. De-stress, she says. Get some exercise, she says. Ouch! she says when she trips on a rough section of trail and goes sprawling.
We limped back home, created a nest of almost every pillow in the house to elevate her lower arm, hand, knee, and foot. Ice, advil, beverages to hand. She managed to sleep, but I was in the spare bedroom because even if there had been room on the bed I am sure any jiggle or wiggle would have woken her up. The skinned section of her knee is an oval about 6″x 3″.
Anyway, Friday she woke up sore, and some lovely bruising starting, but able to get around after initial hobbling. Then the cat threw up.
Constipation, and straining, so bad you throw up is not a good sign. The plan for the day had been for me to clean out parts of the house which the landlord and his family will be coming to measure tomorrow. It was now going to be driving Elizabeth to work, home to get the cat, bring cat to vet, cat home from vet, then go get Elizabeth again, and a visit to the grocer in there somewhere.
The first part of this worked, and only took 2.5 hours, which for a cross-city round-trip during rush hour is not too shabby. The call to the vet managed to get an urgent care visit squeezed in for noon, so I had an hour or so of cleaning, and phone calls and e-mails tracking down utilities for the new apartment (would you believe there is a “hot and cold water, heating, and air conditioning” utility in this building? and the only persons allowed to have an account are property owners, which requires renters be added to the owner’s account and they want banking information which I do not want to share with my future landlord and…) then round up the cat.
And as I was getting ready to do that, I heard the sound of dripping water hitting something.
In a house there are certain places you expect to hear water. And then there is everywhere else. And it is AMAZING how a mis-placed sound can suddenly grab all of your attention. It took maybe 15 seconds for me to track that sound to water dripping on paper, which was (inappropriately) stacked on a chair in the middle of a room. The water was dripping from the cover over a ceiling sprinkler head.
Okay, in the middle of a second-floor room there should be nothing for water to drip from, but there is a fire sprinkler system. The third floor also has a half-bathroom, and yes it is near, though not directly overhead where the water is dripping from this little innocuous plastic zit which should be covering a fire sprinkler head.
But nothing in that bathroom appears to be leaking, dripping, and I cannot hear the toilet cycling on and off… so the most likely cause is the sprinkler fitting. Which could, if it failed completely, flood this house out in, oh, 10 minutes or so.
But I have a sick kitty. And an appointment.
So, praying it did not fail suddenly, or over-fill the waste basket I put under to catch the drips (was it dripping faster than before? slower?) I grabbed the cat and high-tailed it to the vet.
Where I arrived way way too early because I had not actually been planning on leaving that second, just planning to get ready to go but adrenalin had kicked in and I was wired. And had to wait. And wait. And wait. And finally got in, and waited. And the vet techs came in, one training in the other, so they carefully walked through the script of questions to get answers the vet might need… then waited again. Rinse, repeat, recycle, vet says the cat is constipated. And the preferred program of treatment would tap my credit limit.
I did not quite say “put her to sleep,” but the thought crossed my mind. Instead I pushed for the minimum treatment, a still-stupid estimate but at least I can pay it, today. Then I all but ran out the door to get home to see…
…about an inch of water in the bottom of the waste basket, which is a HUGE relief. Call landlord, who calls emergency plumber, who shifts him on to emergency sprinkler people, who will be here in about an hour.
Moved computers, electronics out of the way of possible sprinkler damage. But that assumes that if the sprinkler fitting fails on it does not fire up the entire house system. Systems are being backed, but the server… well, I do not have a live-mirror at another physical location of the 6+TB of junk on this box. So if things go south, it will be the first thing saved.
And, in the midst of this the vet calls to say the cat’s blood panel is just dandy and so the cat can be sedated for an enema. Great, you go ahead do that. Then I get a text from future landlord, forms arrived and will be dealt with next week. Yay. Thanks.
Long story shorter, guy shows up, initial assessment is it could blow the fitting but not the house, better safe than sorry we shut down water to the house and drain everything. He opens up the cover and… the fitting falls off in his hand. Which neatly diagnoses, for him, the problem – the type of extender used has been deprecated. So he is off to pick up parts, and an hour and a half later is cutting a large ugly hole in the ceiling.
But before he got that stage completed I had to go retrieve the damn cat; luckily Elizabeth got home by bus. As an additional turn of the screw to the awful day I had been planning to pick up soda pop and supper, which has not happened; Elizabeth orders delivery pizza and a few cans to tide us over while I am driving half-way across the city again.
So, after I get home, and the pizza arrives, the plumber returns to turn the water back on (surprising how much you need water the instant it is not available) and everything works and he goes away. The house is a battle zone, with bits of plumbing fixtures, crumbles of drywall and sawn pvc pipe, cat transport, and the detritus of moving boxes and file sorting. And what was my plan for the day again?
Oh yah, get ready for the landlord to inspect the place tomorrow.