I could have started this post without a curse word in the title, yep I could... but sometimes life hands you lemons and you curse (a lot) while making lemonade out of it all...
Last week, the bitter cold in the Netherlands caused three of our water pipes to burst. For those of you who are new reading my blog - our home is near Amsterdam, while we were in New York. This Winter weather made it possible to iceskate on the canals, but it also froze water pipes in many households throughout the country. In our home it happened precisely where part of our belongings were stored downstairs, all still in boxes waiting to be unpacked. The downside was that the leaks were discovered after four days. Imagine, four full days of water streaming down from the ceiling, onto your stuff. Four days of water soaking into the walls, doors, window, shower room, washroom, ruining most of it - slowly but surly. Luckily for us, we have neighbours made of gold.
Honestly, without our neighbours this would have been a whole other story. Five of our neighbours worked for three hours, stopping the leaks, clearing out all the water that they were standing in, ankles deep... They tried to safe as much of our stuff as they could and prepared me for what I could expect when I landed the next day...
I think Lady Luck was working her magic, since I wasn't planning on coming that week, but I had switched my flight in January to last Monday, so I was there last week to clear it all up. With a tight knot in my stomach I traveled back home. I'd seen the videos and photo's my neighbour had sent me. A big hole where my hall ceiling once was. A row of garbage bags filled with unsavable stuff and moving boxes that looked like paper mache. Wet clothes, shoes, books, photo's, photo books, picture frames, video tapes of the girls, drawings they made, old admin papers, magazines, kitchen stuff, ceramics... You name it and it was soaking wet or damaged. Throughout the house all of our soaked belongings were spread out to dry and, I'm not going to lie - it literally took me two full days of mixed emotions - from being sad, to very mad, to feeling tired and finally to being grateful.
Grateful that it could have been worse.
It could have been upstairs where most of our belongings are stored. Or the water could have taken up the whole house and not 'only' the back part. All the 'lucky-it-wasn't...' scenario's were talked about... and yes - we were lucky. Most of our photo's, baby memories and some furniture are in a separate storage. Most of the house is in tact, the little house (where we sleep) is dry and was my safe haven. So yes, it could have been worse.
After a full week of clearing out and drying wet stuff, I was trying to safe some of my precious photo's by drying them near the radiator. I snapped this photo. The other photo's I made are for the insurance companies. I don't feel the need to show our open ceiling or soaked and damaged belongings. Still, I wanted to capture (and share) this situation in a positive light. To remind me of what was saved. Seeing some of our memories drying in a row, it made me appreciate even more what a great invention a camera actually is. It captures moments, that otherwise would have been gone. And even though some of my photo books are ruined, I know I will make new ones. So I'm trying to stay positive through it all, because yes - shit does happen. More importantly is how I not let it affect more of my days and move forward from it.
And while I type this post in our kitchen (I'm back in New York) and the winter sun is shining through the windows, I'm thinking of the new back door we will get and if we need to give it a colour. Or how much magical white paint the painters will need to fix our home back into shape.
Yes - it's time to move on from shitty experiences... Life is too short to think about poop all the time.