Day 22 after the flood: Ready to leave limbo

It’s been more than three weeks since we unknowingly angered the water gods. More than three weeks since we sloshed through water rescuing our computers and files. More than three weeks since a restoration company packed out most of our belonging and trucked them to a warehouse somewhere in town.

More than three weeks since The Great Office Flood of 2010. We’re now officially tired of being in limbo.

At first it was fun — something of an adventure. From the moment we discovered our office was under water (a pipe burst in the suite above us), we were brave explorers forging new paths to productivity against challenges that were novel and tangible. In a way, the flood shook us out of a deep funk. The last two years have been a long, slow march through the backlash of recession. It is infinitely more galvanizing to have a single, large obstacle than it is to have a thousand small, slow, cumulatively discouraging ones.

It was exciting and affirming to see the vigor with which my staff embraced the challenge of producing a magazine in the midst of such disruption. We all felt a huge sense of accomplishment when the July issue went in the mail this week — exactly on time.

But now our situation is starting to feel a bit frustrating.

It’s time-consuming. Operations Director Debbie Davis and I spend a good part of each day on the phone talking with insurance adjusters, construction crews, carpeting vendors, our property manager and reps from the restoration crew.

It’s inefficient. We have to drive from my home to the office each day to collect our mail. We constantly butt up against the reality of items we are missing. On Monday, Debbie started to prepare a subscription renewal mailing and then realized that the return envelopes we needed to include were in the warehouse. (We eventually got them, but not until Wednesday.)

Communication is difficult. We have email, of course, and our cell phones are constantly in hand, but I miss the days of simply walking down the hall to resolve a question with two people I need who now work from home offices separated by dozens of miles.

The entryway at my home is becoming increasingly cluttered with boxes — of July magazines, our annual Schools, etc. books and promotional items we give out with tickets to movie sneaks and live performances. And as someone who cherishes privacy, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find vendors sitting at my kitchen table and UPS guys at the door several times a day.

On the other hand, one very good thing has come out of all this chaos: I’ve learned to let go of anxieties about people seeing my home under less-than-pristine conditions. (Kind of like you learn to let go of being self-conscious about a gynecological exam once you’ve given birth to two children.)

But now I have a timetable for my trip to Ethiopia. And I’d love to have my staff comfortably settled back where they belong before I go.

We should know later today how much longer we must wait. There is carpeting to be installed (once the various insurance companies figure out who’s paying for it) and we should have a report from the restoration company about how many of our belongings were salvageable.

If all goes well, we should be able to get back in by Monday or Tuesday. But if there’s anything I’ve learned in the last three weeks, it’s that things don’t always go well. So whatever happens, we’ll adjust.

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One response to “Day 22 after the flood: Ready to leave limbo

  1. An amazing capture of 3 weeks of what could have been a defeating circumstance. Kudos to you and your staff for meeting the overwhelming challenges with grace, grit and good results!

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