We had a rather harrowing weekend. Turns out that it can rain heavily in San Francisco in late May and early June. I had not witnessed this until now. Until we’ve begun a remodeling project that involves taking the roof off.
God bless our contractor who was beginning his Memorial Day weekend with a visit to the local pub and then had to come racing to our rescue. And god bless the poor soul who happened to be sitting on the barstool next to our contractor. He was immediately recruited to help.
In fact, the entire team of construction workers showed up over the weekend and saved us. But not before my husband and I had a good twenty minutes of trying to Shop-Vac, sweep and mop up all the water that was raining into our open second floor.
Within ten minutes we were both soaked to the bone. The opening of my cowl-neck shirt was nearing my waist from holding so much water. My leather boots were squishing. And then the rain started coming down faster. My husband and I paused for very brief moment and looked at each other. Stunned in how helpless we felt.
"Just keep going!" I shouted through the rain. And I muttered it to myself over and over again as I dumped bowl after bowl of rainwater out the window.
At some point I realized I should check on the computers downstairs. And sure enough, water was pouring down everywhere except by the kitchen cabinets. Almost all the electronics were under attack. So I grabbed them, tripping over power cords, catching my balance and placing them safely on the kitchen countertops. I used every bowl we had. Every towel. Every napkin. And counted my blessings that I hadn’t yet gotten rid of all the big plastic tupperware. In that moment, I loved that BPA-leeching plastic. It was keeping rainwater off my floor.
And then the glorious construction workers showed up. Armed with blankets that soak up lots of water, a big Shop-Vac and a huge tarp.
Eventually, the rain stopped. We spent a few more hours making sure we had gotten all the water off the second floor, the first floor and out of the garage. The water had found its way into many things. Even dresser drawers.
In the midst of it, still in wet clothes, I started to break a little. And my husband leaned in and tried to reassure me. “We’ll have a good cry later, we just have to keep going right now.”
So we cleaned up. And I did have a good, thorough cry the following day. And then we cleaned up some more and prepared for the next storm. And it came and went and was very manageable. Just a few small leaks in our new temporary roof of plywood and tarps.
And a newfound appreciation for having a roof over our heads.
Amy John Headley is a landscape designer based in San Francisco.