I Curse the Friggin Water But I Ain’t Gonna Drown…

house damage

When Melissa and I moved into a century-old house 25 years ago, my father-in-law offered this unsolicited advice: “It’s all about the water. If you control the water, everything will be OK.”

I had no idea what he was talking about. 

Now, I know. 

Friggin water. I hate friggin water. 

I wrote the other day about the biblical rainfall that hit St. Louis…

…how a second-floor terrace flooded because its drain clogged with leaves…

…how some of that flood water seeped under a door and soaked a bedroom carpet. 

Here’s what I didn’t know when I wrote that email…

The second-floor carpet was the least of my problems. 

I don’t want to get too science-y with you, but…

…turns out there’s this force called “GRAVITY.” 

And gravity pulls water DOWN…

…down from the 2nd-floor bedroom to the crawl space above the dining room…

…down from the crawl space to the dining room ceiling…

…down through the ceiling onto the dining room walls…

…down the wallpaper, china cabinets, and door frames…

…down onto the radiator cover with the fancy, faux-finish paint job…

…down onto the floor and the oritental rug that my mother gave me for my 40th birthday (thanks again mom). 

Gallons of friggin water. Falling down, down, down into our dining room. 

Not long after I sent Tuesday’s email, carefree-me strolled into the dining room.

The first clue: I flipped the light switch and a chandelier bulb instantly popped. (Water and electricity don’t mix). 

The second clue: Squish squish when my bare feet stepped on the rug. 

The third clue: The brown stains on the ceiling and the sagging spot in the corner. 

The fourth clue: The bowls and platters on top of the china cabinet, filled to the brim with friggin water. 

There were other clues. But, by now, I’d sleuthed this out. 

My dining room was friggin destroyed. 

Melissa and I emptied the bowls and platters, moved the dining room table and cabinets to the living room, dragged the rug to the porch, and gathered as many fans as we could to dry the wood floors.

An hour later, a 6-foot-square section of the ceiling collapsed (see GRAVITY above). 

On Tuesday, I wrote about the sound of the flash flood warning from Melissa’s iPhone emergency alert app. 


But not half as loud or startling as the sound of a water-logged ceiling collapsing.

So, back to work we went – shoveling, sweeping, trash-bagging, cursing, and sweating. 

The rest of the ceiling has held – for now. 

But it’s wet, and it’s beginning to stink, and it has to come down. 

The hardwood floor has to go. Same with the wallpaper. The walls may have to be re-plastered. 

The door to the porch is warped and may have to be replaced. 

The cabinets have to be repaired and refinished. 

The chandelier has to be removed, stored, possibly rewired, and then reinstalled. 

The rug has to be cleaned. 

The woodwork and radiator cover have to be refinished. 

Insurance will cover the costs – after I pay a hefty deductible. 

Friggin water! 

A huge, soggy drag!!!


…when we get through this (and we will get through this)…

…we’ll have a better-than-before dining room. 

A new, solid ceiling. A freshly cleaned rug. Cabinets, door frames, and other wood work with shiny new finish, a door to the porch that’s newer and better than the old one. 

This is a story about mindset, not misery. 

Yes, this is a huge soggy drag…


…some good will come from it. 

I write this knowing that others in St. Louis are living in temporary shelters right now. They’ve lost everything. And some don’t have insurance or other resources to get it back. 

Sure, I can curse the friggin water. But I won’t wallow in frustration. I won’t drown in my misery.

I curse, and then I count my blessings. 

When I first started as an entrepreneur, I wallowed. I let the friggin frustrations get to me. I drowned in my misery. And that hurt my businesses. 

No longer. Floods and fires and other sh%^t happens. Often, it’s beyond your control. 

Go ahead and curse the friggin drag. 

Then say “And…I’m going to get through this.” 

Find the good that follows the challenge. 

p.s. I help coaches, consultants, and business leaders discover and deliver powerful stories that captivate prospects and inspire them to act. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.