“DAMN THE TORPEDOES!” – the near-sinking of Yale Law School, 8/10/2012

Sounds like depth charges were dropped on the Law School…

The day started off pretty nicely, as I barely made the bus on time, and then realized I might get lucky and have the barbershop be open early; they were, so I rushed in to get my haircut, knowing that the All-Knowing Source had warned me of thunderstorms all day long.  Got to work, got compliments on my haircut, had my boss’ boss tell me “no worries about anything today Mike; it’s Friday, just relax a bit.”

That statement is now a viable contender to defeat Custer for “least ideal choice of pronouncements” with his famous “there can’t be THAT many of them.”

In any event, I went around and helped coworkers with various installs and hardware checks and the like, a normal Friday.  Having not had the time to make lunch in the morning, I slogged over to Au Bon Pain, thinking I was lucky for missing the rain during my walk.  Got my food and returned to eat it, helped a coworker a bit more, then sat down for the last viable assignment for the day (call it 2:30pm or so).

Around 3:15, I heard the rain on the skylights outside my office door SERIOUSLY intensify, in a way that I hadn’t heard before.  It seemed to lessen for a moment (as recorded in this documentary work, shown most clearly around the 1:30 mark) and then got CRAZY again; I looked up out into the hallway outside my door and saw a drip from the ceiling which before my eyes turned into a waterfall. I don’t want to say it reached full Deluge Status until I was up out of my chair and running to tell my boss’ boss what was happened.  Moments after I departed my office door, a large metal ventilation duct inside the ceiling collapsed under the weight of the water; to put it mildly, I am rather lucky to be unhurt.  I informed my fellow staff that in a serious way, the Law School was sinking; we sprinted into action, turning off all the machines and getting them away from the various leak points.  Given that the rain today, I learned in retrospect, qualified as a flash flood, I am not all that surprised at the sheer volume of water I fought today.  It was like some kind of aquatic firmament, to be honest.

After turning off a whole bunch of machines, I sprinted to find rubber gloves of any sort, as some water waterfalls rivaling those of Lake Victoria was pouring directly into several different power strips (which themselves were both live and power other machines).  In some cases, water was directly pouring out of the wall sockets (which were live), so it was a slightly stressful day at work.  Slightly.

…and at the same time, torpedoes fired at my house

Though I should have expected it, I came home and found myself surprised and deeply displeased that yes, while there was water that leaked into the basement from the reasonable places (the crack in the floor seal, and down the cellar steps slightly), I was NOT expecting a section of the ceiling in the middle of the damned room to be leaking… directly down onto my goddamned electronics table, so-situated in order to avoid any sort of spilling or leaking from windows and the like.  Though my initial reaction was to pronounce all of the electronics dead, Jim, I took a walk and cooled down, and went back in to examine the damages.  Using my credibility as an IT employee, I would estimate that the Xbox and Wii are not harmed; the projector has maybe a 35% chance of having been destroyed; my Thinkpad laptop has a 30% chance of having been zapped; and there was no electrical fire, so all of the cords which were wet apparently didn’t get water into copper leads [editor’s note – one week later, I am VERY pleased to report that all of the electronics somehow managed to survive! -Mike].  The owner Whitney was actually around anyways, so we took a look at the leak spot and realized that apparently the chimney can leak in EXTREME rain conditions, which we didn’t really have any way of knowing before today (nothing like this has ever happened, not even during last fall’s hurricane).  The fixing of that problem has been moved WAY up the priority list, so now, as they say, I can only wait and see which electronic cards I will hold, and which I will fold. after they have all had a chance to dry (every single fan in the house is pointed at them; I dried the exterior of everything by hand; my housemate who works in a scientific lab is going to try and get silicon dessicant and airtight boxes to TRULY remove any remaining moisture in the electronic leads).
All told, the weather tried to defeat me both at work and at home today, but I think it was Pericles who originally said it best.

Photos (note: 10 of these were taken by my coworker Donna, and were posted here with her permission)

The wreckage of drywall, electronics, hopes, and dreams:

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One response to ““DAMN THE TORPEDOES!” – the near-sinking of Yale Law School, 8/10/2012

  1. Pingback: The Divinity School Strikes Back: the beginning of Year the Second | A Jaunt Around the World – New Haven, CT

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