I was at work last week when the end came so I didn’t attend the burial.
Watch our earthly treasures get thrown into the back of a dump truck? No thanks. Besides, I’d already attended the visitation on the lawn the night before. I turned over soggy mattresses, unzipped sodden suitcases, flipped through the pages of soaked yearbooks. Almost every item passed the bluish-green Rorschach test of ruination: mold.
We had returned from our trip to find that the lowest level of our home had flooded during torrentially heavy rains ten days before. The water receded but the soaked stuff reveled in the humidity of late July in the Midwest. It swelled, it expanded, it grew. When we walked into the house we were greeted with a peculiarly pungent odor. “Pew-ee, who died?” I muttered, fearful of finding our geriatric cat, Genevieve, floating in the moat formerly known as our basement.
Not to worry. Gen is a savvy sort who had no intention of paddling to a buoyant litter box. Neither did she notify her caregiver that there were problems in the bowels of our home, focused as she was on her own immediate need for a Porta-Litter on dry land. As with the Arc on Ararat, the water gradually receded, but the wetness left in its wake wicked up into boxes of photographs, Christmas ornaments, and clothing.
Enter our insurance adjustor, Mike’s former swim coach and good friend. He has visited our home several times in our eight years of ownership for special water-related events (yes, God, I get the joke, thank you.)
“Sorry, guys, your coverage doesn’t extend to this,” Don said, shaking his head and rolling up his sleeves. When I admitted defeat and went to bed well after midnight, Don was still helping Mike and our son Jordan cart stuff out to the lawn.
A call next morning to our church office to borrow industrial fans produced more help: several strong men who showed up within the hour to pitch storage cabinets, mattresses, and waterlogged boxes into the truck. Tom, our friend across the street who fits the biblical definition of neighbor to a T, came over with a couple dozen interlocking plastic crates complete with Sharpies and stick-on-labels. Another local friend who learned online of our troubles quickly materialized as Jim(my)-on-the-spot with a top-grade sprayer and chemical solution.
“You don’t need me,” the professional mold- remediation guy said when he arrived in the midst of the waterpark of activity. “You all are doing just fine.”
And we are.
Who needs insurance when you have something far better: friends?