Discussion in 'BOARDANIA' started by Garner, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    So, I got to work at 7:25 this morning. As I was walking down the little passage way to the building, I passed by the next door building where we have a storage annex. There was the sound of running water, and upon inspection I saw water pouring out from under the large garage style door that leads into that building. I assumed someone was at work early, either cleaning the corridor or washing off some heavy equipment, as there's a few automotive shops in there, as well as a chopshop or two.

    Well, around 9:30, Terry the Gimp came over and said that someone had left a firehose on in that building, and everything was flooded.

    We rushed over to check, and immediately upon opening the door to our storage unit, it was a sight of extreme devastation. See, my work for the next month or so was kept in three stacks of boxes, seven boxes high, all just inside the door.

    Water was seeping in all night, and had gotten almost to the far corners of the annex. The lowest boxes on the floors were naught but sponges, and eventually when the cardboard was soggier than day old cold cereal, the stacks toppled, spilling the other boxes into the drink.

    Because of how the boxes were packed, if they landed on their top or sides, there was a great risk that half the plans were soaked, but the other half were dry. If they landed on their ends, then the risk was that EVERY plan was soaked, but only halfway so.

    Now, these plans are printed, for the most part, on linnen paper or other durable materials like plastic. The problem is, they don't use waterproof ink! also, the application forms that accompany the plans are on ordinary paper, and every once in a while you get a plan or drawing submitted on non-durable paper as well. So, all was chaos.

    And my manager (remember her?) is off until Tuesday.

    I tried to move the boxes to a dry place, but couldn't find any. While carrying one of them, the waterlogged cardboard gave way and tipped all the plans into the water on the floor. Eventually we covered a table in large plastic bags that were part of a council recycling initiative that never got off the ground, or just had a lot of leftovers, and put all the boxes on there.

    Two boxes managed, by luck or by fate, to land on other boxes, so I set them aside elsewhere to stay dry.

    Now, after running around like a chicken with his head cut off, we managed to pick up most of the stuff belonging to other departments and salvage it, and I got conscripted to carry a box of sopping wet file folders back to the office for someone else. The water, when drained out of those things, was a very unpleasant color, and i think it's only a minor miracle that most of the contents of those folders was salvagabe. Some girls who are working part time in the office for the summer had their daily duties changed to going through, sheet by sheet, and laying them out on some filing cabinets to dry. I helped with that for a while, but finally gave up when I got tired of trying to remove staples from saturated paper without tearing the paper in the process.

    So, eventually I was contacted by the County Archivist, who was intended to receive all these plans of mine that are now soaked. (They weren't the best laid, by mice or men!) He was concerned of the long term damage the damp could cause, and suggested that normally his people would have water damaged materials freeze dried, which was covered by their insurance. Time was of the essence, he said, and it would be necessary (and possible!) to arrange for the freeze drying company to pick up the wet files first thing in the morning. However, the Borough Council is not covered by the County Council's insurance, and I went to our building manager to find out about OUR insurance.

    She gave me the contact info for the relevant person in the council's finance department, who of course was off until Tuesday. They politely put me through to someone else who could answer my question, and that woman politely listened to me patiently before politely asking if it was a council building that was flooded and then, upon learning that it was not, she politely inquired "And who are you?" before politely suggesting that I go and contact the building's owners to find out about THEIR insurance.

    I returned to our building manager and said "The English have such polite ways of letting you know that you're wasting their time..." This, fortunately, received a polite laugh. Armed with the contact info for the building's owner and the building's owner's agent, I went back to the phone just in time to see a co-worker come back who I could fob those calls off on while I went to the loo.

    When I got back, he'd been unable to raise anyone (it being lunchtime by now), and rather than spend the rest of his day on hold or playing unending phone tag, he suggested that we just try to salvage what plans we could ourselves. So, back to the flood waters it was, where we discovered that the plans had dried off considerably since the morning. Either that, or, as my colleage suggested, they'd simply soaked the water up inside a bit (as these plans are folded over into compact bundles, not unlike fire starter logs...)

    In the end, we condensed the 20 or so boxes that were there into only ten. Six of them contained dry plans that didn't feel significantly damp. Four contained plans that were a bit damp or wet in places. There were only about six bundles that were actually still shedding water. We checked with the County Archivist about this new development, and he handed us over to the County Archives Curator who said that, given the scope of the damp plans (we estimated only about 50 plans to a box) and the fact that they were drying so quickly and only six were still wet, we merely open those wet plans out onto a dry surface and let them air out on their own. It wouldn't be necessary or cost effective to have the freeze drying process carried out on such a small quantity.

    So, we opened out the soggy plans and I'll have to check on them in the morning to see how they're drying out on their own, but I'm a bit sad now; I was really looking forward to the freeze drying.

    I was going to bring in some leftover pizza and have it froze dried, too.

    That way, it would become Astronaut Pizza.
  2. Toaf New Member

    Have you actually ever tried freeze-dried astronaut food? It is really gross.

    And sorry about missing out on the great freeze drying escapade, Garner. :(
  3. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    Some of it's gross. the strawberries are quite nice, and the ice cream is kinda neat, if a bit weird.
  4. mowgli New Member

    WHat happens when you thaw off freeze-dried paper plans? (I'm having a visual and it's...messy!)
  5. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    I had the same visual. I decided not to ask that question as a result.

    So, today I found out that the plans were drying off slightly, but they were also glued to each other in the process. Much rending and tearing later, and the plans aren't in the best shape anymore, but they should hopefully be a little less adhesive as they finish drying over the weekend.

    The museum's storage next door had higher priority, so they get the recently located dehumidifier machine. Maybe, come tuesday, we can wheel it into the council's storage and dry off what's left of my stuff.
  6. Saccharissa Stitcher

    Who could have possibly left a hose running in a starge room full of maps?
  7. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    the hose was left on in the hallway, and the water seeped in from under the door.

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