False Start

The bookshop has been semi-closed for the last week plus; our employee has been on vacation, and I've been busy taking care of a new baby and a recovering wife. Today was set to be our re-opening day. I had spent much of Monday puttering around in the store, making sure everything was ready to go. Little did I know that a great beast was lurking behind the shelves, waiting to strike when the lights were down and I was safely tucked into bed.

The last few days have been cold, bitter cold. Sunday morning greeted me with a -11 F reading. It was cold enough to freeze the water pipes at the store. This was no great surprise, the pipes have frozen at least 50 times since we've been here. So as I was leaving the shop last night, I made sure to close up all the open faucets and turn-off valves in the bathroom, in case the pipes warmed overnight. It was a routine I've done many times.

I wanted to get an early start this morning, as with yesterday's holiday, we would have twice the orders to wrap up and get out. I was in by 7:30 or so, and the first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was that there was a big puddle. At first I thought some snow might have drifted under the door and melted, as the winds were high last night. Then I heard the sound. The great hissing of the beast.

It took me a second to realize what had happened and what I had to do. I sloshed though the water and over to the main shut-off. The hissing quieted, then stopped. I got up off the floor and took a good look; it was still mostly dark outside, and the only light was from the EXIT sign above the door. I noticed the reflection on the floor, rippling. This wasn't just a little water. It's a good thing I wore my boots.



Thank you for indulging me a bit. I'm a little overwhelmed. And sad. And angry... but I wanted to let you know where I've been this morning. For a moment, I wondered what I was doing here on Blogger in the middle of this emergency, but I realized that you all are my friends, and I'm here to share news with you, good or bad. Today is not good, but we're all alive and it appears that we have only lost about $10,000 in books or so. It could  have been a lot worse...

The pipe burst right behind my desk, where we keep a lot of the expensive books, and where I keep all the forgotten bookmarks. I lost most of them:


So, we'll see what this week brings. I can't promise you anything, but you can be sure I'll do my best. Here are a few more pictures for you:





-Click to enlarge photos-

83 comments:

Brenna said...

On no that is terrible news, Michael. I wish you and your store the best and a quick recovery.

Margaret said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry! As someone who has had major flooding in our basement this past year -- 3 times -- I so sympathize with you. It's not fun to clean up, and the loss of valuable and precious items is so painful. Again, I'm so sorry. I hope the clean up goes quickly for you.

The Bunny said...

Oh man that completely sucks! I'm so sorry you were greeted with that. You need extra baby cuddle time.

Maggie said...

wow... that is awful! I hope the clean up isn't too bad. :(

Mere said...

Oh, Michael, I am so sorry! I get upset when one of my books is damaged; I can't imagine how you feel. I wish you good luck in getting things back together. Please know your readers support you.

Spacebeer said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this! If you have some particularly valuable / important to you books or records that got wet, this NEDCC pamphlet on recovery from a water disaster has some great information: http://www.nedcc.org/resources/leaflets/3Emergency_Management/06SalvageWetBooks.php

Nicole Palmby said...

My heart breaks for you! I know it could have been worse, but $10,000 seems such a huge amount to me.... I can't imagine what you're going through as you work to clean up and recover from this.

rocklady54 said...

OMG I am sooooooooo sorry.... If I were closer I would come to help you clean up anyways. Good luck.

becky up the hill said...

heartbreaking..I am so very sorry.

John Rudy said...

Michael,

I want to help. I'm sure others do as well. You've done much for a small community of bibliophiles. Do you have a PayPal we could use as a "tip-box" to help with the recovery efforts?

-John

Birch said...

Oh god.... that's the most horrible thing that can happen for a book shop. I really have no words and the sight of this hurts me as a book lover.

Look on the bright side, though, you and your family are still intact and the books -some expensive, some not- can be replaced, at least partially.

Rasco from RIF said...

I am so sad for you...thank you for posting the pictures hard as it probably was to actually take them and really look at them...it makes it more real now and the next time we hear of such.

Elise said...

Oh my gosh! I am so sorry that happened to you, what a terrible way to start your day. What a horrible waste, but at least no one got hurt. I know how much books mean to you and all those great bookmarks, I am truly sorry. I would be devasted as I am sure you are, books are like friends.
I think it is time to take up a collection for some plastic baggies in all sizes to keep things safe. I would be the first to donate. Wish I could help clean up but I live kinda far away.

Dave said...

Very sad to hear lousy story but during this time of joy with addition to family, I am sure that you will persevere and as always come out smelling like a rose. With affection, Dubby

Adrienne Martini said...

Good gravy. That is a lot of water. Please let me know if there's anything I can help with.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. That's just awful!

Briony said...

Oh no, that's awful! The picture of all the forgotten bookmarks in the bin made me so sad, let alone the destroyed books; I can't imagine how you felt when you walked in and realised what had happened. I'm glad you're okay, and hopefully you'll get the bookshop back on its feet soon and be able to replenish your collection.

Margaret said...

I am so sorry. Books are like friends -- we don't want anything bad to happen to them. I hope the clean-up and recovery go well for you and that brighter days are ahead.

Stacie said...

We had the same thing happen at our house this year, but our damage wasn't nearly so costly! What a bummer of a fresh start. Hopefully you can clean up quickly and without too much loss.

Ginnie said...

How horrible! Please do let us all know if there is something we can do to help. A collection, perhaps.

What a shame that all the bookmarks were lost. But at least it was just 'things' and no one was injured. And you still have that beautiful baby to go home to. That should help ease the blow. :)

TorontoViewer said...

Those photos are heart-breaking to see.

Tricia said...

I'm sorry - what a blow!

AldenM1 said...

Oh no. What a terrible thing to happen to nice people and old books! :-(

Lent said...

Oh, I am so sorry for you!! My heart is hurting for you and your store! I hope and pray that the store will have a quick recovery and that you will have the strength to deal with this along with all the rest of life you have on your plate right now!

Laurie said...

Oh I am so sorry. This is the last thing you needed right now. :(

in defense of retail therapy said...

my eyes teared up when i saw the trash can, i am so sorry. i hope clean up is relatively swift, and while it might feel like much consolation right now, at least many of your forgotten bookmarks will live on thanks to your dedication documentation and gift of sharing.

George Wittner said...

As one who cherishes the book Forgotten Bookmarks, I'm glad you didn't put off its publication with so many lost.

Katy said...

Oh no! What a nightmare!

Alicia said...

My heart is breaking for you; ugh. I don't even know what to say - why do such bad things happen to such good folks? Wishing you a speedy recovery in all possible aspects.

Pete said...

Michael, this is terrible news. I hope you and the store have a very fast recovery. I've already suggested to my blog readers that they shop your online store as a way of helping out.

Everett Howe said...

I hope your insurance will cover most of this. You do have friends here, and we will give you what help we can. If there are expenses that insurance won't cover, please let us know, and tell us how we can contribute.

Tereza said...

don't take them for lost! Freeze them (literally, in your refrigerator or something) meanwhile you get your things to save them. The thing with wet paper is it looses it shape when it gets dry, so, first you should keep them freeze and analyze what are the most valuable and put drying paper between the pages and covers. This is the cheaper way to save books, but not always is the best. If you have a really wet book, you can go to companies who dry them.

Look out for major temperature and humidity changes, they can affect tremendously your collection in time. (Flat paper, yellow paper, etc)
This is really a tragedy, but you can get over it!

Dorian said...

Oh, that's awful! I'm so sorry, and I do hope you can minimise the loss and misery.

Kurt said...

Bummer!

Jennifer said...

Suckitude! I'm so sorry. Nothing wrenches the gut like water-logged books. But as a mother of two little ones, you quickly come to realize that as long as your family is healthy and sound, everything else is just a bump in the road.

Kate said...

O no!! So so sorry to read your post...thinking of you....

Rach said...

Delurking to say I'm so so sorry. My heart breaks for you.

I hope insurance covers most of this and that the cleanup is quick and relatively painless.

Jennifer said...

Oh, how awful! I gasped when I saw the news, and my kid asked me what had happened but had to ask me to stop telling him because it was too sad to contemplate. Like other people here have mentioned, I'd donate to a recovery fund. Our sympathy is with you.

teaandpaper said...

How terrible, Michael. Best of luck with the clean-up and recovery.

SeeryusMama said...

Oh, my heart breaks for you! Our basement flooded in 2010 and it sucked.

Keep your chin up!

EvaB said...

Oh this is so awful and so, so so heartbreaking! May the waters recede NOW! and the books mend.

Jean Vogler said...

This is horrible!! I'm glad to see you didn't lose your entire inventory. And I'm glad to see you're still with us in blogland. Best wishes to you!

Allie said...

How awful! I'm so sorry.

bookworm said...

My heart is breaking for you. My neighborhood flooded, along with other parts of the Southern Tier, back in September from Lee. I know what it is like to throw out ruined belongings and treasures. It is no fun, and I didn't have a newborn baby to care for, either. I am so sorry.

JC said...

This is a terrible way to meet, but I do enjoy your blog and this made me sad.

I hope you can salvage most of your prized books.

If this link doesn't help do please google for more options:
http://www.ehow.com/how_4523252_restore-flood-soaked-books.html

Good luck!

Gale said...

Oh that trashcan makes me cringe. I hope you get everything cleaned up as quickly & easily as possible.

Donna said...

ugh that totally blows, as I said this morning i'll be more than happy to come in tomorrow and help clean up. I'll be sure to wear my boots lol :D

Terri Beth said...

This is terrible. So sorry to hear this.

keribrary said...

I survived a frozen-pipe water disaster at my library on a cold, January afternoon. It was right outside my office, and we lost mostly staff computers, a copier, and flooring. We were lucky it wasn't in our stacks. But I have to say that it was one of the scariest things I've been through at work. Best wishes to you for a speedy and safe cleanup.

Bev Hankins said...

Oh no, Michael! I am so sorry! It's no fun to clean up such things and I absolutely sympathize with the anguish (and anger) at losing as much as you have. I'm only glad it wasn't worse.

Nancy said...

Oh, sad, sad, sad. I'm so sorry. A new baby, a recuperating wife, and now a recuperating store! I hope you don't lose anything else.

Rose said...

Heartbreaking! I hope the damage is covered by insurance and everything is speedily handled.

My deepest sympathies for the mess. And the lost books and bookmarks.

Marie said...

Oh wow. So sorry for the loss.. The bookmarks that won't be forgotten..

Lisa Shafer said...

I'm with the others who are wondering about a pay pal or tip box. I'd like very much to help out in whatever small way I can, as you have made me smile for years on this site (although I've usually not left comments or have left them under another name).
Perhaps you could let us know about your somewhat damaged but possibly still usable books. Some of us would buy them to help out, I'm sure.

VM Sehy Photography said...

I feel for you.

Our basement flooded once and I lost a lot of stuff I'd saved in scrapbooks. I about cried.

Good luck with the clean up. I really enjoy following your blog. There will be more forgotten bookmarks. It's human nature to tuck things away and forget about them.

Nephthys said...

That is terrible!! Can't they be salvaged at all? Maybe keeping them by a fire might help?
I am so sorry about what happened! I hope everything gets okay real soon.

saji said...

Oh, so unwelcome and unfortunate! I just about cried when I saw the wastebasket photo. Hope the task of cleaning up and drying out goes as swiftly and smoothly as possible, Michael.

Country Girl said...

I'm so sorry to hear this devastating news. Thinking of you!

Cara said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry. This is just so sad. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

margaretstedman said...

Oh no no no! What a terrible thing to happen. Hope you can clean up quickly.

What-I-Found said...

I am so sorry. I love your blog and you loosing so many books is heartbreaking. I lost most of mine when we had a house fire. I think it was the hardest part of the whole experience.
Please keep talking to us.

LookingUp said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. You've got a great group of people who care about you, so please let us know if there's anything we can do to help.

Emily said...

Oh, my gosh, how horrible. I'm so sorry.

PaperSponge.com said...

I'm so, so sorry. Water is the enemy of our favored hobbies and professions. Try to hang in there and I hope things are better than they appear when all is said and done.

K. Henderson Art said...

I'm heart broken!

susied said...

That's very sad. I'm sorry you lost all those bookmarks and wonderful books. :(

Kelly Robinson said...

Heartbreaking! Hang in there.

sarala said...

So sorry. A flood in a bookshop is such a tragedy!

Moonshadow said...

Such a sad thing to see. I hope you feel the support from your fans, we'd be there to help if we could.

Maybe you could have your plumber put a drain in the lowest area of the room to limit damage in the future.

As for the already damaged books and ephemera, you might offer them to crafters. A favorite thing to do is Mod Podge pages of books to everything.

sportsmom said...

Adding my thoughts! I hope you will be able to salvage more than you initially thought; depending on the value vs. damage of your items, you may be interested in seeing what the National Archives website has to say about salvaging flood-damaged items. http://www.archives.gov/preservation/conservation/library-materials-01.html
Best of luck! Extra snuggle time with Baby is prescribed by this doctor. ;)

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews said...

My heart goes out to you! Hope recovery is going well!

Shawna said...

Hope things dry out soon. I am so sorry to hear about your book loss. If I were closer, I'd come help. I hate to see books get damaged, too. As a librarian, I have to weed a lot of things and I just hate doing it. Sending positive vibes your way!

Andrea said...

That's terrible and the timing wasn't stellar, either. I'm sorry about the drowned books and bookmarks, it really is a shame! But perhaps some things may be partially salvaged, as has been suggested? Nothing lasts forever, sadly, not even books :( I wish your shop a speedy recovery.

CĂ©lia Costa said...

My heart is broke. I'm so sorry. I can't imagine how it is for you to endure such a situation. My best wishes!

Kathy said...

Hi Michael: How horrible! As you work your way through recovering, take good care of yourself - sounds like a very stressful time with lots of great stuff and lots of tough stuff. All the best, Kathy aka Ruby
http://yearofreadingmybooks.wordpress.com/

E.St.Clair said...

Joining the chorus of well wishers and hoping today was a bit brighter...and tomorrow even more so. Hang in there.

Jennifer said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. As a token of my appreciation for your site, I have bought one of your books. I do hope that you'll be back to normal soon!

Sophie said...

I know I'm a couple of days late, but I wanted to share my condolences anyways.
Crappy pipes nationwide seem to have joined forces in the last few months. They've definitely been wreaking havoc here in MD.
At least it wasn't crappy electrical wiring.
I really hope that you guys (family & bookshop)make a recovery that's as quick and headache free as possible

Broche Fabian said...

Oh my gosh! I just read this post. I am SO sorry for your loss! Please let me know how I can help. I'm not in town, but if you're having a fundraiser or need donations of any kind, please let me know.

Shaunna said...

Heart wrenching. Hug that new baby and all will seem brighter!

Alice said...

I can hardly bear to look at these pictures.

Theresa said...

I'ms so sorry, what a tragic event. Good luck for the clean up.

JLynnPro said...

I'm so sorry! :( That's really sad. Those pieces of history can't be replaced.

I hope things have gotten back on track for you, and I'm glad it was not worse than it was.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...