The Text Message
“Mere, please call me as soon as you get this. The studio flooded last night.” This was the way I woke up to the morning after my birthday on August 14th, 2014. Cathryn, one of Springboard’s instructors had been the first to find the aftermath of one of the worst rain storms Portland had endured all year. In effort to make a VERY long story readable, I’ll start off by telling you that the night of August 13th, Portland experienced record-breaking rains and, although Springboard is a street-level studio, our overwhelmed storm drain system put water wherever it would go. Since then, I’ve heard loads of anecdotal evidence from West End neighbors and businesses of flooded basements, ruined walls, lifted and displaced manhole covers, streets flowing like rivers, and lots and lots of damage all across the peninsula.
Springboard was relatively lucky because our wood floors were totaled (soaked, squishy, warped, and wavy) but, due to quick action by Cathryn and others early that morning, all of our equipment was spared! Also, because our studio is on a concrete slab, our drywall hovers about 2 inches from the floor, saving it from contact with the water, which could’ve potentially drawn it up like a wick! All of these bright-side thoughts were absolutely necessary to keeping my cool while my task-oriented inner monologue started rattling off the hundreds of steps needed to get our studio back to “normal.” Don’t get me wrong, I love checklists and marking off “to-do’s.” However, this proverbial list was much bigger and (maybe more importantly) did not spring from my own wanting, but from an outside force pressing upon me to be on “its own” schedule. This kind of checklist; I do not love.
Specifically, I started to fret about a load of questions: How can I get insurance to act quickly? Where do I find people with know-how to help pull up the wood floor? What do I do with said pulled-up wood? Who do I hire to dehumidify the place out and sanitize the floor? Would clients overlook the bare concrete while we figure out a plan? What is the plan? What floor gets put down next? How and when do I know to officially close? Who will help me move all this heavy stuff and where will it go? Can I picture myself driving a giant U-Haul through the city? How long will the new floor take? How do I cancel all those classes and lessons? How do I refund everyone’s accounts? Will clients find other places while we are on hiatus? How will my teachers live without getting paid? How quickly will that insurance money come in? Will people understand? Will we ever get back to a beautiful functioning space again? Do we have to pull the linoleum up? Do I have to find someone to put baseboard and thresholds back on? Who’ll help me move this heavy stuff back in? How will my trainees get the hours they need while we are closed? Do I have any time to do some free classes to keep connected to our clientele? When can we reopen? What caused this in the first place? Can anyone tell me this won’t happen again?
This whole ordeal has been simply insane. Let’s just say I’ve had better stretches of my life than this. In the midst of the chaos, (and know that I only share it now because this time has passed) just when I thought I’d been managing fine, tears would flow unexpectedly because of something silly like dropping a 2×4 on my foot or Jen asking me genuinely, “How ARE you doing?” Jaff, my hubby, learned of this fragile state pretty quickly, and I even heard him once say quietly to himself, “Oh no,…she’s breathing deeply, this can’t be good,” because he knew the sound of those very specific self-soothing deep slow breaths I’d adopted to get me through moments of defeat like this one. Because, in the end, I knew this was not the end of the world, but while you are right “in it,” a clear perspective can be hard to grasp, sometimes.
This has all been a very big life lesson for me. How would I sum up my emotional experience through this fiasco? Let’s call it “on the brink”…delicate, to say the least…Skepticism, knocked at my door. If you know me, you know how rarely this happens. Of course I know the expression “shit happens.” And it does. I try not to take it too personally. But, on the other hand, I so truly believe that things happen for a reason and the universe it always listening, that it’s been an opportunity to ponder what I’ve been asking for, lately. Did I wish for more time off to enjoy the summer before it was over? Yes. Did I get time off? Yes. Was this what I meant? No. Should I be more specific in the future? Yes. See, I’m growing over here. And we are back on the bright side.