with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

It’s Raining Inside, Again

Our trailer covered with blue plastic while we repair leaks in the slideout, photograph by Lorelle VanFossenIt’s raining inside, again. For three out of the five years we lived in Israel, it rained more inside my apartment then it did outside, and it’s raining in my trailer now. Right now. Yes, I said INSIDE.

In Israel, when it would rain, the water would leak through the roof into my office. The roof was flat with high walls and the small drain holes would plug up with the dirt, leaves, and cracking plaster and I would have a swimming pool over my head. The water would come through down near the windows and on my head. That was finally fixed and the year before we left, they replaced the whole roof coating, but it still leaked in the kitchen and bathroom. Just part of the cement style buildings in Israel, I was told. Hard to keep them totally waterproof.

But that was in the winter and we learned to live with the occasional mad splash of rain. In the summer, the air conditioner leaked. Every summer it was fixed, until the last summer when it was rebuilt, then the leaking stopped. I’d put up a plastic tarp over my head and the water would run down and into a bucket that I would have to empty three or more times a day. I used it to water the plants, but the plants were drowning with too much water. It took time, but I got used to the plink plunk of drips over time.

Now, we are back in the states in our trailer, Brent and I loving being back here and surrounded by every inch of things we love and ourselves, but the trailer is a freakin’ sieve.

First, we battled the leaks in the slideout wall, which took some serious effort to open up the entire outside wall of the trailer, replace boards and insulation, and reseal everything. The leaks there have stopped. But now they are worse in the kitchen-back end of the trailer.

A small leak came in through the kitchen cabinet which dripped into the sink but didn’t leak into the cupboard. It came down one of the supports, which made us think it was more bad craftsmanship where a nail or something went through into the roof area. We sealed up the roof and hoped that was good enough. It wasn’t.

Brent removes the wall boards on the outside of our trailer slideout, photograph by Lorelle VanFossenAfter three to six inches of rain in the past two days, water started dripping onto the dishes in the cupboards and pouring down into the sink. I looked up at a nearby light fixture and saw it filling up with water. I took off the cover and water poured out from the ceiling.

To complicate things, as if this isn’t enough, the water in the roof got into our ceiling fan. It’s called a Fantastic Fan and it has a rain sensor that controls the lid. If it senses rain, it will close the lid. It also has a temperature sensor so it will only turn on when it reaches a certain temperature and then turn off when it goes below. It’s quite fancy. Well, electronics don’t do well when wet and while listening to a hour of rain pounding on the trailer roof the other morning, holding each other close in bed and just enjoying the sound and feel of cool air on our bodies, so hot from the weeks of miserable heat and humidity, we had no idea that the rain sensor had gotten wet and the lid was wide open allowing gallons of rain to pour through a foot square hole in the roof of our trailer and onto the kitchen carpet.

I came out in the early morning and my foot went squish on the carpet. Wonderful. I laid down towels and set up pans and bowls to catch all the water running in, but I couldn’t get the fan lid to close. After two hours of messing with it, I finally turned it on high speed and it sort of blew itself dry enough to finally close up. I turned it off, but it kept wanting to open, making groaning noises. When Brent came home, he disconnected the motor, which hangs from the ceiling. When it all dries out, he’ll take a look and see if it works or needs replacing. Oh, more joy.

By the next day, even though I had the carpet I had just installed a couple of months ago (not tacked down nor expensive, but a pain to do anyway) to cover our sun and mildew stained carpet, was lifted up so the air would dry it, it stinks. The humidity is so intense here, everything spoils and mildews very fast if damp. I took it outside and we hung it to dry, but it looks like I’ll have to buy a new one to replace it.

So now, fixing the roof has slowly turned into a priority. It’s a serious job and I’m not sure what we’re going to do, but at least this is all familiar to me.

As I was working, listening to the fast drips of water into the pans and bowls, smelling that rotting smell of mildew, it felt like I was back in Tel Aviv again. Very familiar. Only I would have rain inside my home, everywhere I go.

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