The night before I left on my trip, I was in the basement laboratory cutting up some records on the Wheels of Steeltown (actually, it's a one-wheeler system), having a grand old time, when I noticed the floor under my feet getting wet. Behind the sounds of scrambled Blondie and Howard Jones tracks, I might have subconsciously noticed the steady dripping of water some time before, but only when I paused to take in the whole scene did it register. Since it hadn't rained in the memorable past, I went upstairs to investigate the source of the deluge.
As it turns out, our neighbour has a tiny tomato crop growing behind his tool shed, beside the back wall of our house, and he has taken to leaving the sprinkler running on it at night.
The back wall of our basement is about a hundred years old, made of stacked field stone and, apparently, water permeable. Coincidentally, the boxes containing the remnant of my worldly possessions happened to be stacked against the portion of wall that had turned itself into a pleasant little cascade. My stuff wasn't right up against the wall, and it was on a platform, but some of the boxes were still a little damp. The whole basement, actually, is quite humid, and I'm most worried for my record collection that is shielded only by the thin skin of garbage bags (I should have doubled them up) in another section of the cellar. I can see why the basement might have been ideal for growing a certain contraband herb, and we found the evidence for such an operation having once existed when we moved into the place. But it turns out not to have been the best of storage spaces for my stuff.
We could ask the neighbour to use less water on his plants, or to move the plants to our basement--as this seems to be where most of the water is ending up; but I fear that, as far as my possessions go, the damage has already been done. Mold and mildew spell disaster for my sensitive lungs, so anything that the garbage bags didn't protect will have to go. Even if the sleeves of my records are toast, the disks themselves will hopefully be salvageable--and for the uses I plan to put them to, it doesn't much matter about their packaging.
I've always been the kind of person who takes care of his stuff. It must be the archivist or librarian in me; I like to preserve my things and cherish them. But it looks like it is not so much rust nor moth, but mildew that hath corrupted the remnant of my worldly treasures. I only hope that whatever heavenly virtue I might have stored up is less susceptible to the corrosive influence of the elements.
The worst thing about the whole affair is that it has set back work on my Earthshaker Beat Project--a kind of giant boom-box which I had planned to use too loosen the earth around certain banks and jewelry stores, the better to tunnel my way into their vaults. But this is just a minor setback for the insuperable criminal mind of the Mole Man.