Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paperly: The Good Parts of a Sewer Back-up

This past Friday, Chicago experienced its worst one-day rainfall since records began being kept in 1857 - approximately 7 inches in a mere 3 hours. Given that Chicago's sewer system is over 100 years old, back-ups occurred almost everywhere, including Paperly's office.  My best guess, based on markings on the wall, is that 2-3 inches of water covered every square inch of floor.

The clean-up started immediately. Within 48 hours, every baseboard had been removed, carpets and padding were thrown away and heavy blowers and dehumidifiers were brought in to try and dry out the walls and floors (see videos #1-3 below).

So all this begs the question, as alluded to in the title of this blog entry, what could be good about a sewer back-up? Well, as seen in video #4, we've been forced to relocate the Paperly office to my kitchen table! Nothing builds camaraderie as tight quarters, right? Now, instead of screaming across the office when you have a question, you merely need to look-up.  Also, as you can imagine, we're spending a lot more time simply chatting about business and life. We're even taking turns making lunch... and eating it outside in the gorgeous sunshine (since the table is currently occupied ;)

Thus, although I wouldn't wish our flood experience on anyone, all-in-all it definitely has some upsides. I hope one day, we can look back and laugh. After all, what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, right?!

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Video #1: The big blue round machines are industrial fans intended to dry the walls and floors. The tall silver box, shown at the end of the video, is one of four dehumidifiers. Note the pile of removed baseboards stacked unceremoniously on the floor.

Video #2: The concrete floor was carpeted, but it (and the pad) had to be removed so the floors could dry.

Video #3: Note how everything had to be up off the floor.  It's as if a hurricane roared through the office.  In fact, with ~40 blowers circulating air in the office, the deafening roars kind of sounds like a wind storm.

Video #4: The "Paperly War Room", also know as the Rudman's kitchen table.

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