Staff photographer Dan Friedman is the only person I know who could make a disaster look like a beautiful work of art. The three-dimensional texture of a piece of painter’s tape slapped hastily on a conference room wall. The lovely flutter of a sales department spreadsheet blowing in the great wind tunnel that is now our office. He can even make a bedraggled, sleep-deprived, completely frustrated publisher look halfway decent as he balances the only two sources of light in an otherwise dark, damp, dreary and congested corner of clutter he has now named “KB’s Fortress.”
I spent eight hours in that space today, with the roar of fans and dehumidifiers leaving me headache-y and nearly deaf by the end of the day — Day 2 of what we’re calling “Flood 4.” Two years ago, we faced a similar, disastrous flood. In between, we’ve had two lesser ones. Four floods in two years. And a lease that extends through December 2014. Don’t even get me started.
I’m trying to keep positive despite enormous frustration and worry. So I went in at 8am to do one simple task: pull together what I needed to file our payroll. But that typically routine procedure (usually accomplished in about an hour) took every bit of five hours and every ounce of my patience and persistence. First I had to reassemble my computer. Actually, first I had to find the various components to my computer, which had been hastily disconnected and moved to drier ground as it rained in my office yesterday morning. I got it turned on but the mouse wouldn’t work. I was frantically troubleshooting when Dan showed up to take pictures for Facebook. He was calmer and managed to find a solution.
Then came a visit from the insurance adjuster and the measuring, taping, questions and advice from two restoration crews. The second group started pulling down swollen ceiling tiles; the first group called a halt when it was determined the tiles hadn’t yet been tested for asbestos. And I was breathing that air all day.
At noon I heard the sickening news that our landlord wouldn’t be able to accommodate our request for quick relocation to a temporary office space. Apparently the person who needs to sign the paperwork is out of town for the rest of the week. I’m not someone who enjoys yelling but I went ballistic. I must have said, “That is not acceptable!” 16 times before I finally decided to shut up and let the uncomfortable silence do the talking for me.
We started looking for other temporary office spaces. Marketing Director MaryAnn Ortiz-Lieb got on the phone with her brother-in-law, Michael Lieb, who does commercial real estate. Production Manager Tina Gerami called a realtor she knows who handles commercial space. Our IT support person, Leon Hauck, called to see how we were doing. When I said we were looking for space he put me in touch with someone who has suites available. At one point I went over to a place a few blocks away to check out some other space but at 1,000 square feet (we are in 3,000 square feet now) it just didn’t seem feasible.
If anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears. Except I might not be able to hear you.