Crisis at Long Distance

I’m used to being there for my family. Well, my wife and kids at least. When something goes wrong, I’m right there, able to pitch in and do something about it right away. But that’s not always possible, I’ve learned. Take last night . . .

I was at ALA Midwinter, just finishing up a reception and gearing up for another one, when Denisa called. I took the call, not really worried about anything. We’d been talking off and on all weekend, and she seemed to have everything well in hand.

“The basement is flooding.”

Yeah. Not the words you want to hear when you’re three and a half hours away and not heading home for another four days.

I went and found a quiet(ish) corner of the convention center and had her call me on Facetime so I could see what was going on. We troubleshot the problem for a while, eliminating different things that might fix it. The culprit seemed to be the sump pump, so it took some trial and error to eliminate the likely easy fixes. Usually, that’s enough to get to an answer.

Not last night.

In the end, I was left with pretty much no way to help. I looked up the problems online. Found the telephone number of the people who installed the system. But I couldn’t be there to (literally) bail her out, and that was rough. I knew she was going through a bad time, and there I was in a hotel lobby, contributing just about nothing.

It all worked out. I mean, the house didn’t drown. She called some friends, and they helped bail, as did TRC. Once the water was down some, they were able to identify and fix the problem. But it still wasn’t an experience I want to have happen too often. I’m glad that my job rarely takes me away from home, and I don’t think I’d love being on the road a ton ever.

Fixed or not, let’s hope it doesn’t rain much more between now and when I get home on Thursday. (Seriously. I moved to Maine for the snow. Not the rain. It’s January, people.)

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