Sometimes you have a *click click* ssssssssss-steam leak.

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While we were on vacation our apartment was left unattended from 18 December to 11 January.  (Sorry, burglers.  Even if I had told you this before the fact, there really wasn’t much in there to satisfy.)

This was the longest stretch it had been sitting empty in, like, forever.  As least in the four years I’ve lived there.  Needless to say, I was a bit concerned.  Not I’m-going-to-set-up-a-nanny-cam-to-make-sure-everything-is-ok-everyday concerned, but at least I-think-about-it-every-so-often-and-hope-everything-is-ok concerned.

I had left a card for our superintendent (complete with Christmas tip) and let him know we were going to be out of town for that stretch of time, asking him to keep an eye on things and grab our mail if it overflowed.  All seemed well.

The vacation happened.

We come back home (after an exhausting day of traveling, much of which was delayed) at 2am.  We open the door to our apartment and there, in the middle of the kitchen floor, is our window A/C unit.  That was IN the window when we left.  There is the Christmas tree, star akimbo, wearing only half our ornaments.  The rest are on the ground in various pieces.  Curious.

We put down our bags and investigate.  There is no sign of forced entry.  There’s nothing stolen.  There’s nothing broken.  Everything in the apartment is a little sticky.  Everything in the apartment looks like it got wet.  The floors are sticky.  The walls are streaked.  The dishes look like they had dirty water in them at one point.

“There must have been a leak,” we say.  “But why is the A/C moved?  Why did the tree obviously fall?  And why is it not messy?”  One would assume that, if there was a leak, things would be much dirtier and disgusting than they are.  Especially since someone obviously came into our apartment to do something (in theory, fix the leak).  And where did the leak come from?  There’s no origin point in the ceiling or anything.

Confused, we went to bed.

The next day was Sunday, so I couldn’t talk to the super.  It’s his day off.  We cleaned instead.  All the stickiness.  All the warped books.  All the streaks on the walls.  It was so weird.  We couldn’t even ask our cat what had happened because we took her with us!

When I finally caught up with my super, I got the story.  And it all makes sense:

During the deepfreeze that hit the east coast, the heat was cranked up.  We have radiator heat.  The force from the steam must have been so powerful that it popped the cap off the radiator.  Steam billowed into the apartment (for how long, who knows? A day? A week? I shudder at the thought.)  A neighbor saw the steam and thought it was smoke.  They called 911.  The fire department came.  My super couldn’t find the keys to our apartment.  The fire department climbed up the fire escape, busted the A/C out of the window, knocking over the Christmas tree right in front of the window.  

They came in and did whatever needed to happen to fix the radiator, but the place was still moist.  I imagine it was rather like a steam room.  The super and fire department left, closing the door behind them.  The steam could not escape.  Now that it was cooling down in the apartment, it turned to liquid and rained down from the ceiling over everything.  And then we came home at 2am on the 12th of January befuddled to no end.

Thankfully, nothing was damaged, no claims need to be filed.  Some of our books have warped covers, but that’s pretty much it.  Our Fosse-esque steam leak (it’s not really Fosse-esque unless you describe it like this post’s title, but that’s ok) was minor.  All’s well.

Now we just have to keep our eye out for mold!

Good to be home!!  🙂

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Sometimes you get snow. In a can. And it’s amazing.

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In the Beyond section of Bed, Bath, and Beyond, there exists a magical item.

This item is so wonderful, so indescribably joyous, that it can only be used at the holidays.

It has the power to bring a smile to the face of any person who holds it in their hand.  It has the ability to grow to ten times its original size.

I am speaking, of course, of Snow In A Can.

I discovered this mysterious and original bit of holiday magic while doing some Christmas shopping with my two younger brothers.  After assessing this magnificent invention and examining the pros and cons of a purchase of said item, I decided to splurge and take it to the cashier.

$2.99 later, it was mine!  Snow In A Can!

As soon as I got home, I rushed into the kitchen, my family assisted me in placing down plastic and newspaper, and I yanked back the pull tab on the aluminum container.

There, inside, was the magical substance – approximately a teaspoon of a fine, white powder.

After retrieving a cup of tap water, I put my sorcery to the test.  I filled the can with water, and lo and behold!!  It turned to snow!!!!

OK, maybe not snow per se, but a certainly a moist, gelatinous substance that certainly reacted like snow when played with.

We were able to roll it into little balls but, unfortunately, the balls did not join together well enough to make a snowman.  The weight of the abdomen completely crushed the base.  Even after placing the snowman on a diet and decreasing the circumference of the waist, the base still would not hold up.  It was at this point that we performed a base-otomy and constructed a snowman that was only one ball high.

Using the small piece of ribbon (read: scarf) and googly eyes that came in the aluminum can with the powdery pre-snow and miniature snow shovel, we decorated our blobbish snowman and felt the Christmas spirit coursing through our veins.

It was a joyous five minutes.

I whole-heartedly recommend Snow In A Can to all peoples, regardless of age, race, sex, ethnicity, religious affiliation, or baseline holiday spirit level.

I will be back to the Beyond to get another can before the holidays are over.  Make no mistake.