Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Worst Case Scenario

Remember our not-so-little roof leak? And then the huge waterfall that dumped into our dining room during a dinner party? Well, that’s nothing after last night.

It’s monsoon season in Sri Lanka, which doesn’t mean at all what I thought it would. I thought monsoons would be more, well, monsoon-y. I expected a constant deluge for days on end, the kind of things you see in movies with people sitting and staring out of their thatched roof tropical hut. In reality, it is a total torrential downpour, but it comes and goes, and things return to tropical island sunny in between. Many times, the worst of it seems to come at night, as was the case last night.

All day yesterday, the wind kept picking up. When I was out running errands, I could see the choppy waves and the storm over the ocean. The International Man of Intrigue was scheduled to return from a business trip in the Maldives last night, and I was starting to get a sinking feeling the weather may not hold out for his flight. Luckily, his flight took off only 15 minutes behind schedule, but as the evening wore on, the wind worsened. Our plexiglass skylight, which was the source of our leaks, started banging up and down whenever the wind gusted. I started getting really nervous about it. After all, the two overlapping pieces of plexiglass had never seemed that secure in the first place. And our dining room waterfall? After four visits from the landlady’s henchmen, we’d given up. They kept insisting it was just the gutters needing to be cleaned, even though the embassy’s maintenance man kept telling them there were more problems. In the end, The International Man of Intrigue and I had resigned ourselves to some leaking whenever it rained, as long as it could be caught by a single bucket. By the time I put The Little Explorers to bed, the banging was worsening, and the water was gushing in. I sighed and pulled the dining room table and chairs out of the way and battened down the hatches as best I could.

The International Man of Intrigue finally arrived home from the airport and was also sufficiently impressed and concerned with the banging plexiglass to make me feel like I wasn’t a complete crazy person. He even took a short video to show to facilities maintenance so they could get an idea of the problem. Then, we retired to the family room to relax and catch up on the excitement of the week. He told me about taking water taxis and meeting interesting people. I filled him in on which Little Explorers had snot noses and fevers, leaky bathtubs, and what kind of pizza we ordered for dinner. Oh, yes, it was obvious who’d had the more exciting few days! What happened next was inevitable, I suppose. A particularly loud series of bangs caught our attention. We grabbed a flashlight to check it out, even though we were pretty sure that a large chunk of plexiglass had just ripped off and disappeared into the night. Sure enough. We now had an open air skylight. After a quick call to the embassy maintenance staff to let them know the situation, we turned in for the night. It wasn’t like anyone could show up and replace a giant piece of plexiglass in a windstorm, anyway.

You know how, when you are lying in bed, worst case scenarios and monsters start popping up in your imagination? (Please, Fellow Adventurers, tell me it’s not just me!)Well, as I let my imagination do the thinking, my biggest concern, aside from water damage, flooding, squirrels, mosquitoes, birds, structural damage, or the roof actually collapsing, was the huge breach in security from the hole in the roof. There are monkeys on this island, people. What if monkeys came into the roof? Or ninjas? Ninjas could repel into the hole in the skylight! Or ninja monkeys? Aaaaaaaaagh!

And then I fell asleep. Apparently skylights ripping off and rain coming in sound nothing like children crying, so I had an excellent night’s sleep.

Bright and early this morning, the sun was shining down through the hole in the skylight and everything looked fine. There was surprisingly little water on the floor. A lot of leaves, but surprisingly little water. The best part? No ninja monkeys! The embassy maintenance staff arrived first thing and the henchmen shortly after. The head henchman walked in to assess the damage. He looked up at the skylight and, for the first time ever, was speechless. No blaming it on leaf filled gutters or trying to find a way to pin a leaky roof on the inhabitants (because, yes, I climb up and poke holes in the roof when you’re not around). He simply blinked a few times, muttered two words in Sinhala and walked out. I have been smiling about that every since. The Intrigues: 1, Henchmen: 0! (Okay, really, the current tally is probably The Intrigues: 3, Henchmen: 47, but we won this round, and I think we get extra points for Head Henchman Dude being rendered speechless.)

It’s mid afternoon as I write this, and the skylight is currently being replaced. It looks like I can go to bed free of worry of invading ninjas. I’m not holding out much hope on this keeping the water out, though. I’ll keep you posted, Fellow Adventurers.


  1. Um, yes, on the worst case scenario thing. And usually in the morning I think back on it and realize I was being a little bit silly.

    Thank goodness for no ninja monkeys!