Water, Water, Everywhere

So we have been having wicked afternoon thunderstorms out here. As my older son HATES them, we usually ride them out up in his bed reading book after book after book, until the storm passes. During one particularly bad downpour, we were snuggled up reading until I realized I had left our kitchen door open.

That would be the door to our newly redone kitchen.

That would be the kitchen with the brand new hardwood floors.

That would be water and wood and that would be bad.

I come downstairs to find a river in my kitchen. As if this isn’t bad enough, I had a basket of books by the door and the top one – a library book! – is soaked.

So here was a dilemma only another bibliophile could appreciate: books vs. hardwood floor, which do I rescue first?

Triage was the answer. I closed the door, put the basket on the counter, and found stack of towels to soak up the river. After about 20 minutes, the floor was dry, the storm was over and I could assess the damage to the books. Fortunately or unfortunately, the top book – the one from the library – took the brunt of the storm. I didn’t have much hope for it drying out and looking like new. Oh, I forgot to mention the kicker, I was the first person to take this book out. Call it the curse of the active library patron. I knew, in good faith, I could not drop this damaged copy into the book drop and call it a day – again, the curse of the active library patron.

The book was $23.00 in hardcover . . . the Jungle was offering it for just $15 including (you guessed it) free shipping. I have given my reasons about why I pay full price at independent bookstores in an earlier post. But I didn’t want to buy this book – that is why I got it from the library in the first place. If it wasn’t something I wouldn’t have purchased anyway, did it count if I just ordered it online? And really that is just what I wanted to do: order the stupid thing, have it shipped for free, come clean to Miss Mary at the library and be done with it.

I couldn’t do it. I was going to Sylva the next day, and I knew City Lights would have a copy. ***if I were a more advanced blogger I would key up some twinkly music right now*** Here is the part where the blessing of the active bookstore patron comes in. After explaining what happened – including having the dilemma of hardwood vs. books fully appreciated – I told Emily the title I needed. She said, “Oh, you’re not going to believe this. We have a copy with a tiny nick on the spine for $13. Do you want it?”

$13. No shipping. Cheaper and faster than the jungle !!

You gotta to love a happy ending.

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Published in: on August 12, 2009 at 12:51 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. HA! I can top this… came in this morning to a strange “tap, tap, tap” sound. At first I assumed it was hammering from the restaurant upstairs—we have new upstairs neighbors moving in and they’ve been doing a lot of work up there.

    Guess what? It wasn’t “tap, tap, tap.” It was “drip, drip, drip.” There is a leak in the ceiling. Luckily (compared to other possibilities), most of what was soaked were books already marked down on the sale table or the travel games wrapped in plastic. Narrowly (within millimeters) missed soaking some expensive vintage stuff on the wall.

    So now I am performing my own triage… a pile for what can be wiped clean and put back out for sale, a pile for what I might be able to sell for a fraction of the cost if people don’t mind it not being in a pretty package, and the things that just need to be thrown away.

    Update: as of 4:00 the dripping has stopped, the plastic buckets have been removed, and the store looks more or less normal. (Except for a blank expanse of about 4 or 5 feet on the front wall… I am not putting any more books or other products out there until tomorrow, just to be on the safe side.)

    So… who wants a Hangman game with a soggy, stained label or a damp copy of “National Velvet”? Anyone??


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