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Posted on Sep 11, 2012 in Dear Diary | 40 comments

Catastrophe Week

I mentioned that yesterday was the crappiest of all crappy days but neglected to share any of the details, and I imagine some of you may have wondered why. Well, here we go. I was originally planning on naming this post “Catastrophe Monday”, but you will soon see why that is no longer applicable. This week may actually kill me. Yep, pretty sure.

God, where do I even begin? I guess… chronologically?

So. Monday morning. Yesterday. I wake up to find this situation in the upstairs landing outside my bedroom:


Yep. The upstairs bathroom flooded because the tank on the back of the toilet broke into a zillion sharp, pointy pieces.


Now, this was plenty bad enough to wake up to on a Monday morning, granted. I know from the experience that we had with our basement flooding that drying out carpet is no easy feat. But oh, it was already so much worse than I knew.


Yep, the water had already leaked right through the floor and straight down into the kitchen.


“Luckily” (I use the term loosely), the water had not seeped through any of the kitchen tile and into the basement (where all of my brother‘s expensive camera and recording equipment is). Still.


Not really being sure what else to do, we “popped” the big bubble of water that was hanging down, and poked a few more holes in our now absolutely ruined kitchen ceiling to help the water drain out.


Then, we set up as many fans as we could (uh, two) and I had to go to work since I was already way late (and lest we forget, I was already out of commission for two days last week due to being sick).

Then, what should happen while on my way to work at 10 AM?


Yep. That’s right. My brand new car, not even ONE MONTH OLD yet, was hit.


Because one catastrophe for the morning definitely wasn’t enough.

The chick who hit me was very apologetic, and admitted right away that it was all her fault (it was) and said that she would assume all liability for it. Still, knowing that it wasn’t my fault doesn’t actually help as much as you’d think when we’re talking about the car that you’ve owned for exactly 29 days. The damage extends from the back of the front wheel bed on the passenger side, down the front passenger door (which is now misaligned in addition to being scratched and dented), all the way through the rear passenger door. Needless to say, I was kind of a mess at this point (note to self: reinvest in waterproof mascara).

So then I got to spend the rest of my day on the phone with not one, but two different insurance companies, for two different insurance claims. (Actually, technically it was three, because I also opened up a preliminary claim with my own auto insurance company just in case anything went wrong with the other driver’s insurance company. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s going to need to move forward.)

So, going back to the house issue, the water damage in the house is covered (after our deductible, which is unfortunately quite high). Because the damage was so extensive, I decided to move forward with letting the insurance company send out a water mitigation team to come out and dry out the problem areas. So I had to leave work early to meet them at home, and then they proceeded to check everything out and then set things up to air out and dry. Meaning this happened:


And this:


And there are about 20 gazillion industrial fans and dehumidifiers making VERY LOUD NOISES in the upstairs landing and the kitchen now, too.


We have to keep them running until Thursday, at which point the guys will come back to remove them, check that everything is dry and that there is no mold (my biggest concern is mold), and then the insurance people can come out after that point to assess the repair work needed. So, it’s still going to be a long process to get everything fixed, but at least things are moving now. Of course, the effect of all this OMG!CHANGE is not having a very good effect on the little ones either…


Daxter is petrified to go through the kitchen or upstairs landing now, even to go outside or eat. The fans make a lot of noise and emit a lot of heat, so I have to carry him pretty much everywhere.


Poor, anxiety-stricken puppy.

Now. With both house issues AND car issues on the table, I was REALLY looking forward to today. Today is not yesterday, after all. Today should be better, right? Well, let’s talk about today, shall we?

Back to the car issue. The other driver’s insurance company contacted me yesterday and said they were sending out an inspector to assess the damage to my car. He arrived this morning, and was very nice, but it was still quite jarring to hear about all of the things that were wrong with my car. He gave me his estimate for how much the repair work is going to cost, and now I just have to wait for the insurance adjuster to get in touch with me and confirm that they are going to accept liability and let me know when I can go get my car repaired. Because of the misaligned front passenger door, the rubber seal at the top is broken and the inspector is worried about moisture being able to get into my car. So he put a ‘rush’ on it and hopefully I’ll be hearing from the adjuster very soon.

Sounds like that should (eventually) wrap things up all nice and tidy, right?


Guess what happened to me on my way to work (already late again, because of the inspection) THIS morning. Guess. Just guess.

No seriously, you have to guess.

Give up?


Yes. I got rear-ended on 395. My beautiful baby of a car got hit by a SECOND person, for the SECOND time in the SECOND DAY IN A ROW. It happened, I pulled over, and I literally screamed into the silence of my car: “ARE YOU F&$#!@*% KIDDING ME?!!?!”

“Luckily”, because of the horrible, horrible traffic, we were going like 5 MPH, and the only visible damage that I can see (so far) is two nice little round dents from the screws on his license plate. UNluckily, my neck and shoulder are noticeably sore now, which really, really sucks. I’ve already put in a claim with his insurance company and gotten the ball rolling there, and I guess I need to go get my potential injuries examined by a doctor on my own.

Now, before I end this story of horrific proportions, let me just say this. I’m sure there are a lot of people who will want to sanctimoniously remind me that today is 9/11 and that my troubles are nothing in comparison to what happened 11 years ago. Of course that’s true. I would never presume to suggest otherwise. But that’s also kind of like comparing apples to an entire burning orchard of orange trees. Obviously one (or in this case, three) apples, no matter how mealy, wormy, or awful they may be, will never compare. We remember the loss and devastation of 9/11 with a freshness that makes it feel like it happened much more recently than over a decade ago, and that will probably never change.

But that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t blow to be the person who bites into that apple.

I think I’ll go hide under the covers of my bed until this week is over now. Kthxbai.


  1. You weren’t kidding about a rough week. I’m so sorry! I hope everything gets sorted out. πŸ™

  2. Ugh. I am so. so. so. sorry. What a craptastic week.

    If it makes you feel better, we totally had the giant fan/heater things in our apartment after the tornado and I can totally relate to how loud, obnoxious, hot and annoying they are. Those things were evil. EVIL.

    Hugs. Lots of Gretchen hugs. And Daxter hugs. Lots of those, too.

  3. Solution: Fab 5 for 5 Friday at Whole Foods on Friday and then more drinking at a wine bar after.

  4. Oh dear. I hope your week gets better!!! Olive sends lots of puppy kisses your way!

  5. Oh Gretchen. That really is an awful lot of bad things happening. They say it happens in 3’s right… so at least it seems like you’re set for awhile.

  6. What a horrible week Gretchen!! I’m so sorry all this has happened. Hopefully nothing else happens as bad things tend to happen in 3’s.

  7. Damn o.o well, maybe this means you’ll have a ton of luck next week! Maybe… probably not.

  8. Dude you are entitled to feel down. All that is overwhelming. Glad you have some perspective. If it makes you feel a teeny better, now when you get your car repaired, you will have even newer parts on it! So 1/16 of your car will be like a day old!

  9. I *might* be able to make you feel a little bit better when I tell you that after my new car got hit and fixed, it was impossible to tell where the fixing was done. It looked brand new again.

    You’ll get through this. But I hope “this” is over soon!

  10. Wow Gretchen, what a horrible start to this week. In my former life I was an insurance adjuster and damage assessor. If you have any questions on the insurance side or need recommendations for stellar repair shops let me know. There is no diminished value law in VA but given how new your car is you could make a claim for it. You also want a really great shop who will a seamless repair and a great paint job. I can also forward recommendations for mold abatement if that ever becomes a concern.

    I truly hope your luck begins to turn to the positive side. Hang in there!

  11. Ugh. I can feel your pain! Your poor little car. The first time I drove my car to work I pulled into a tiny spot in the garage and felt it scrape along a big ol’ pole that I got to close to. I thought about it all day and finally convinced myself that I needed to get over it. Then I proceeded to scrape the entire other side of my car against the pole on the other side.

    Bad apple indeed.

    Hope your day is better and fingers crossed for no mold!

  12. I got rear ended once at like less than 20mph and it was TERRIFYING. I am glad that you are not seriously hurt. Take care.

  13. Wow, when it rains it pours! It has to get better from here!

  14. Oh lord! I’m sorry Gretchen, that’s awful. Of course it’s completely eclipsed by 9/11, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck! Hopefully things only go up from here!

  15. WOW. Shittiest week ever.
    Umm…at least it’s only 3 1/2 days until the weekend. Yay?

  16. Oh you poor thing! I hope you are able to have some relaxing tonight, and if not tonight, later in the week! Hang in there!

  17. Oh my! I can’t even imagine that all at once. I’ve had each happen but never in the same week.

    Since you are just getting over being sick curl up with Daxter and rest. You don’t want to catch something again while you are stressed out and be sick again.

  18. I appreciate its a bad week. and i feel really really sorry for you because all i would want to do is drink, but i don’t think people pointing out that it could be worse would be doing it sanctimoniously – probably just to make you feel better. this is probably the last time i’ll check in.

    • I’m sorry you feel that way. Perhaps that was poor word choice on my part as I didn’t intend it to be offensive, it’s an emotional response to the fact that I have already received a lot of “Well, it’s 9/11 so get some perspective”-type commentary. Needless to say, what you choose to read is of course your prerogative but I am definitely sorry to lose a reader.

  19. wow. i’m speechless. i’m so sorry those things happened to you. how did the toilet tank just burst into pieces?!? that’s weird!!

    i hope you have a better rest of your week!! i’ll keep you in my thoughts!! πŸ™‚

  20. Oh my gooooooosh. I’m so sorry :-/

    I suggest you go treat yourself to a massage and a (couple) glass(es) of wine, and maybe a new outfit, and remind yourself that not a single one of those things was your fault, and you’re doing what you can to fix it all, and that’s just the best you can do!

    • And also, on an I-can-kind-of-relate note, I bought a brand new car about three years ago, and after having it for only a few months, I walked outside one morning to find it on the sidewalk, slammed into a tree…a drunk driver had hit it in the middle of the night. Totaled. I sobbed. I stood on the sidewalk and sobbed. Luckily (and I also use that word loosely!) the guy had been too drunk to flee the scene, and his insurance covered it. I bought a NEW new car, and two months later I was in an accident that was completely my fault and left a huge dent on the passenger side of the car. Ugh. You know a car is just a “thing” and it doesn’t really matter, but it feels SO crappy when stuff like that happens.

  21. Oh, yeah. I’d say that pretty effing sucks. Like… the big one. Glad both of the folks who hit you had insurance though. And that you’re getting this whole, submitting-of-the-claims thing figured out now… Because it’s a helpful skill to have in life (I’d even consider that resume-worthy).

    The worst thing that happened to me today is spilling on my dry-clean only skirt. Yeah..definitely not even comparable to mealy apples. I’d say this is just an off-taste cherry.

    Still. Sucky.

    Get some sleep. Keep up with your routine. And consider this a challenge that you passed. Chocolate never hurts either.

  22. UGH! I can’t even begin to imagine how frustrated you feel. I follow you in GoogleReader so I never comment, but I felt compelled to come here and say how much my heart goes out to you. I’m a huge fan of yours and I really hope things turn around soon!

  23. That SUCKS!!! In 2009 my toilet broke in my brand new apartment that I had just moved into, ruining several items that were still packed on the floor including a tv. Then on the way to bring my dog to boarding (she was terrified of the big industrial fans) a 87 year old women with an oxygen tank turned left into my 5 day old car!! I wonder if there is a correlation with broken toilets and car accidents?

    When I returned home the maintenance man was on his way to check on the carpet, he asked me if my day had gotten better and I lost it. Bless that man because he had to deal with me a sobbing mess.

    I am so so sorry!

  24. I am so sorry for your ducky week. But I have to ask -how does a toliet tank just break like that??

  25. I feel you on this being a craptastic week, for real. That seriously sucks about your car!

  26. Ok, I’m not even going to front. That’s one epically crappy week!

  27. oh my goodness girl.. Im so sorry :-/ How did the toilet break in the first place?

    I hope today is better for you than the rest of this week has been!

  28. OMG Gretchen!!! When you said you were having a bad week- I had NO idea!!
    Man- talk about life throwing you some curve balls!! You poor thing!
    I hope that it all gets resolved quickly and soon you’ll be looking back and laughing, saying “remember that horrible week in September when everything went wrong?”
    I’ll try to cheer you up with some beer and delicious food this weekend. πŸ™‚ xoxo

  29. Oh my gosh!! What is this … I don’t even … woah. I am so sorry! And your poor lil pupster, too!

    I don’t know if this is a ‘plus side’ or not, but look at that nice wood under your carpet! Is this the excuse you need to yank up the carpet and make the most of those gorge wood floors? πŸ™‚

    Seriously, though, I’m really sorry. That is a giant sack of suck. Did the toilet just … blow? What the heck? Did you hear anything when it happened? That’s crazy.

  30. Oh, and don’t you hate it when people try to tell you to suck it up by comparing your problems to world disasters? I mean, of course we’re extremely privileged here in the States, but I think most of us know that. We can only compare our own problems TO our own problems, you know?

    I work at a newspaper and one of my jobs is to moderate the comments on stories. Any time we have a heartwarming animal rescue story, without fail, there are a few people who criticize the rescuers. “Too bad these people don’t put all that effort into helping actual humans!” Or, actually, if there’s a story about foreign aid, someone will always say the volunteers or funds should go to help people “here at home.” I think that’s just unnecessary compartmentalizing. I mean, I love animals AND donate to foreign disaster aid AND to local food banks. Who says you can only care about one thing at a time?

    Sorry, I think that was a real tangent!! But I think it’s the same impulse. Unhappy people always want their own concerns to be paramount in everyone else’s life. It ain’t gonna be that way.

  31. If you DO go to a doctor to get checked out, the insurance company for the guy who rear-ended you should cover the doctor’s visit. Just letting you know to look into that!

  32. Good gracious!!! What an awful start to the week. As if one thing wasn’t bad enough, sheesh. I’d check myself into a fancy hotel and stay there.

  33. oh my goodness!!! funny story, I was having the same bad couple of days this week. We need to have a glass of wine, and know that it can only go up from here- right?!?!?!
    I hope everything goes smoothly to get the house fixed up, and the car back together.

  34. Oh honey…there are no words. I thought my week sucked because my coffee maker broke and I burned toast not once but TWICE in one morning. You win. So sorry!


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