Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Catastrophe

(Originally posted to Multiply June 6, 2009)


It was a catastrophe.

As some of you know who have followed my blog, I have several hundred books stored at Tess' house as I have no room for them here. They have been boxed up and put away in an extra bedroom in her basement and have been there for quite a few years. Occasionally I will go through them looking for some odd book I wish to read again or which I need for reference but for the most part they have remained safely boxed up awaiting the circumstances where I can shelve them all again.

The other day I was rooting around in the boxes looking for one particular book. As I worked my way to the bottom carton in one row I thought things were odd. The books in that box seemed a little damp. In mounting horror I started moving boxes across the room and discovered that all the bottom cartons in the rest of the rows of books were soaking wet. Tess had a leak in the humidifier in her furnace room and the water had migrated to that area of the basement.

Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of books in those four cartons have been destroyed. Some of these were multi volume sets of rare and out of print theology books. Some were rare single volumes. One, irreplaceable, was one of the few remaining copies in the world of a commentary on the book of Acts by Foukes-Jackson that I had had a London bookseller searching for me for years before it was found and shipped to me here in Canada. The loss is incalculable. I can never afford to replace these and some cannot be replaced at any price.

Tess does have insurance and a claim could possibly be filed for loss buy she had a leak in that same area a couple of years ago which she had to file a claim for. Any further claims for water damage i that area of her home would raise her insurance premiums sharply and, in all likelihood, the insurance company would probably only pay a small portion of the cost.

A couple of months ago the thought came to me that I should be cataloging and documenting the books there and purchasing special insurance to cover an untoward eventuality but dithered getting around to it. I should have gotten right at that chore as soon as I thought of it.

This has made me absolutely sick to my stomach.

Having salvaged the rest of the books that were not on the bottom row, sucking up water and drying carpets, repainting baseboards and repairing humidifiers, I am now in the process of buying more book cases and moving the rest of the books here. I don't care if I have room for them or not. I will put book cases in the middle of the living room if I have to!

There is a lesson here somewhere and it has been learned the hard way.

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