Well, it's two days later and I must say, the carpet is taking a bit longer to dry than I expected. On a friend's recommendation, I rented a carpet cleaner from Home Depot and used it to vacuum up as much water as possible. Tuesday afternoon I vacuumed the whole carpet and probably got out about 5 gallons of water. I also rented the upholstery attachment for the cleaner and sucked up a gallon or so out of the couch. That definitely made a big difference in drying out the couch. This morning, before returning the carpet cleaner, I made one more pass over the carpet and surprisingly pulled out a few more gallons of water! I went over it one more time after that, but wasn't really getting a significant amount of water, so I'm hoping the carpet is on its way to getting dry. I also bought a rotary fan from the local hardware store and borrowed one from my parents (thanks Dad!) and have them both blowing on the floor. When I got home tonight, one part of the carpet was actually dry to the touch, so things are looking up. I also have a dehumidifier running and I've already emptied several gallons of water from it in the past day.
For anyone who is curious, the following picture shows what the living room currently looks like. I pulled out the coffee table and smaller sofa so I could have the fans blowing over more of the carpet to hopefully dry it faster. I positioned the large couch directly under a vent for my central air and have left that fan running. It seems to be drying out the couch fairly well. If you look closely in the photo, you should be able to make out how wet the edge of the couch still is near the wood trim. Also, the wooden beam in the middle of the room is sort of discolored at the base because the wood has been soaking up the water. If you really squint, you might even be able to make out that I am using two books to prop up one of the fans so it is better angled towards the floor. The two books are my slightly water damaged copies of The Art of Just Sitting and Easy Japanese.
So far the ceiling seems to be holding out fairly well. There are a few bumps where the paint appears to be bubbling up a bit, but other than that, it seems ok. No large pieces of plaster have fallen or anything like that.
All-in-all, it has turned out pretty well. It could have been a lot worse. This could have happened when I was away for a longer period of time. Now that would have been a disaster. Thankfully I think I caught it after the water had been running for only an hour or so. Imagine if I had been away on vacation for a few weeks!
I was also suprised at my reaction to the whole thing. I think it might have helped that I was coming home from a Zen class that night so I was in a pretty good frame of mind. When I first got home and discovered the flood, I remained calm. I quickly turned off the water, gathered all the towels I owned and soaked up as much water as possible and put out buckets to catch the water still gushing from the ceiling. I wasn't even upset. In fact, I was kind of mildly amused because it was such an odd sight to see - water pouring out the ceiling in my living room. There was no sense getting upset about the problem - the water was already there and anything that might be ruined already was. Getting upset or angry or depressed wasn't going to make the situation any better. I found myself just accepting it for what it was - a bit of an inconvienence. I now would have to spend some unplanned time cleaning up, but it was something that had to be done so I never even found myself complaining about that. It's interesting how much easier it was to deal with the unplanned event without having some negative emotional reaction to it. This Zen/Buddhism approach to life sure is helpful...