Tuesday, August 23, 2011


We have all heard "It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...Superman".  If i am a superhero, people will go, "it's a fish, it's a Merman, it's .... Waterman".  It sounds almost like i am dreaming of becoming Aqua-man.  It is not like that. Let me explain.

I have been rather pre-occupied the past few months.  A lot has happened during this time.  I have sold my house in Hillsborough, but that was not an easy job.  The house market in Auckland has been so sluggish, the house took a while to sell.  And just when i thought it was finally done, a pipe in the automatic dishwasher broke and apparently that happened just prior to the settlement date, at least according to the real estate agent anyway.  The outcome? Major flood in the house.  It was a two stories dwelling with the kitchen on the top level and a guest bedroom directly underneath.  I moved out from the house almost a week prior to the settlement date and had no idea what was going on in that house since then.  According to the realtor,  the water leaked everywhere, soaking through carpets, ripping right through the floor and through the ceiling and made a mess in the downstair bedroom.  Luckily i had house insurance covering all the water damage.  All i had to do in the end was to buy the new owner a new dishwasher.

My wife and i are now renting in Remuera, one of the top surburbs in Auckland.  We are still thinking of moving to Australia in the future, hence the decision of not buying a house for now.  We spent a few days unpacking and settling into our new nest and were feeling quite happy with the location of place.  There is a little creek running along the side of the road with a small bush and wetland  next to it. There are always ducks and Pokekos at the water edge.  Remuera township is just a nice 15 mins walk away where you get a few nice cafes.  Best of all, my workplace is only an easy 5 mins drive or 30 mins walk away.  We are paying $550 per week, which is pretty reasonable for a big-gish three bedroom in a top Auckland surburb. Well, at least that was what we thought until a series of "water-accidents" happened.

In the 3rd week in our new rental home, one night just before bedtime, i was feeling hungry.  I went to the kitchen for a piece of toast, only to see water running from the kitchen ceiling into the pantry and streaming onto the kitchen floor.  It was close to midnight, too late to ring anyone.  So i placed several buckets around the kitchen to collect the dripping water and cleared out the whole pantry.  It was a frustrating situation considering we have just spent days unpacking.  We subsequently found out it was a bathroom pipe that has burst in the neighbour's house upstairs.  It took them close to two weeks to fix the problem.

Sounds pretty trivial and uninteresting so far?  There is more.  It was a Wednesday, 3rd August 2011.  A rainy Wednesday night to be exact.  New Zealand is generally a very wet country with high rainfall during this time of the year.  It rained straight through the night that Wednesday.  There is only one off street car park at our house.  That means one of our cars would need to go on the street.  And as you know, the lady always gets the pick.  My wife gets the nice carport while i parked on the street.  The rain poured heavily on the roof and the tiles on the courtyard, making a hypnotising drumming noise.  I slept soundly that night until a frantic siren from the street woke me.  I looked at the clock, it was almost six in the morning.  It was still very dark outside.  The rain has faded into a light intermittent drizzle but it was freezing on the street.  I contemplated for a while and decided i should go have a look on the street, especially after my recent experience of having my car stolen.  Once i stepped out the door, even before i managed to locate the source of the siren, i knew what was wrong.  The answer was right in front of me.  The siren was not from a car crash and there was no dodgy character on the street to suggest a theft.  What i did see was a tarmac cladded road that has been transformed into a river.  The overnight rain has turned the benign little creek across the road into a furious river spilling muddy water onto the road, causing a flood.  I had a Subaru Legacy, boasting 240 horse power from a 3000cc natural aspirated boxer six.  Sounds like a beast of a car.  But surrounded by the water, this lion of a car looked like a helpless pussy cat trapped on a driftwood floating in the middle of the sea.  The water soaked up half of the wheel, beyond the level of the lower border of the door.  I knew that meant bad news.  I went back in, hopped out of my PJ and into my shorts and a pair of slipper.  Ignoring the cold, i stepped into the water and waddled carefully towards my car, being a bit wary of what i could be stepping on in the muddy water.  I opened my car door and saw water pooling in the footwell of the driver seat.  I knew i had to do something to "save my car".  I started the engine and with a slight gurgle, the engine fired up.  I drove slowly down the road and parked my car at the end  of the road, where the it was dry.  That was pretty much the end of life for my car.  She did not survive the water damage.  After a careful examination by the panel beater and insurance assessor, it was thought the water damage was too extensive and has affected the cables and possibly the car's computer (ECU).  The worse thing was that the water from the creek came from the sea.  Salt water translates into corrosion and rust in the future.

I bid my car farewell and could not stopped pondering my recent run of bad luck.  The interesting thing was every time something bad happened to me it had something to do with water.  I have had various theories offered by colleagues and friends.  Some said i must be a Merman in my last life.  Some said i must have angered the sea god.  Some said i may be a descendant of Poseidon.  I couldn't decide.  Is Merman better or does the son of Poseidon sound more cool?  After a quick google i found out that the Greek god of the sea Poseidon was a bit of a player who has fathered countless children with different woman.  According Greek Mythology, one of his sons is a Merman and his name was Triton.

Anyway, i thought i'd share some photos of the flood.  They were taken one hour after i have found my car in the water.  By that time the rain has stopped and the water was starting to recede.  These were taken in semi darkness with my Nikon P300 point and shoot camera.  I did not want to use my D90 DSLR, in case i drop it into the muddy water on the road.  I thought that was a fairly reasonable concern considering my recent luck with water.

Portland road flood August 2011
Moral of the story?  Show some respect for water.  They can be gentle and pleasant most of the time but not all the time.  I now keep two pairs of gum boots at home so that i don't have to get stranded at home when the road gets flooded.

1 comment:

  1. Things bounce when it drop to the bottom, likewise for luck. Who knows. Wish the bounce is in big magnitude ;)

    Sing aik