Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Not The Way We Planned To Spend The Day

"Life is just what happens to you
while you're busy making other plans."

~ John Lennon

A few weeks ago, I bought some new shoes. Crocs™ had come out with a true white professional closed-toe style and based on my love of my celery green Crocs™, I wanted a pair for work. As I was browsing the other styles they made, I saw some sandals I liked in black, so I ordered those, too. I love all my Crocs™ - they're so comfortable - and today I found another reason to like them. They work great under water.

Romie leaves for work before I'm usually ready to get up, and today was no different. He kisses me goodbye and sometimes I remember it and sometimes I don't. But today, he woke me up and said, "Honey, we have a big problem. There's about three inches of water in the basement." Nooooooo...

I got up and ran downstairs with him as he explained that he had noticed that Simon wasn't anywhere around like he normally was, so he had gone downstairs to check on him. Simon usually sleeps in the basement, but comes up to join Romie as he gets ready for work and eats his breakfast.

We'd gotten over five inches of rain since yesterday, with about two of it after midnight last night. The sump pump was working fine when Romie went to bed, but sometime in the night, the impeller had worked loose and the pump quit. With rain like we'd had, it didn't take long for the water to start filling our basement.

In the thirty years we have lived in this house, this is the first time we've had water like this in the basement. We've had it in the room where the sump pump is and on into the next one, but only enough to wet things a little. What we had now was not a little bit of wet.

Romie got the spare sump pump and got it going, then fixed the original one, so both pumps were working and it didn't take long for the water level to go down. While he was working on that, I started taking things upstairs to wipe them off and start the drying out process.

Our basement consists of four rooms: a large family room, a good-sized game room, a small room between the other two, and a yet smaller room which holds the water heater, water softener, water filtration system and the sump hole. You may have guessed from my description that our basement is finished. Yes, finished, carpeted, furnished, and at least one room (game room) filled with all kinds of everything because we use it for storage right now instead of gaming and two of the rooms had bookshelves totally filled with books - top to bottom. It was the bottom that I was most concerned with.

This storage room contains furniture we'd been saving for the girls if they needed it, boxes of stuff for our upcoming garage sale as well as for eBay, cardboard drums holding the girls' toys, boxes of books and videos, and other miscellaneous things. Today it also held Simon, sequestered somewhere in the nether regions of all that stuff. We could hear him meowing, but couldn't see him. He had headed for higher ground.

Romie refrained from using profanity, but he did use a substitute, over and over and over and over. We knew we had a mammoth job ahead of us, cleaning it all up. I got on the phone and called Mom to ask her to try and get hold of Dad. I'd already tried several times and got the answering machine where he works, which is also where Romie works. Then I called both the girls to see if they could help out any after they got off work.

Kara called Adam at work and he took the day off to come and help with moving things out and extracting the water. (We love our son-in-law more and more every day!) First to arrive was Dad, then Adam, then Mom. Jenna happened to have the afternoon off and came around 1:30, bringing pizza for everyone and Kara was here as soon as she was able after getting off work at 5:00.

I called our insurance agent and he already suspected why I was calling, as he had done nothing but taken similar calls since he'd arrived at work this morning. It was a pretty short and disappointing phone call, because he informed us that our policy didn't cover basement flooding due to weather. Even though we were not in a flood plain, we needed extra insurance for coverage of this type. Sigh.

The biggest job for me personally was washing and drying all the wet clothes that were in cardboard boxes and paper bags that we had stored for the garage sale. Too much, too much, too much laundry! I'll be doing laundry most of the week.

The guys got most of the things moved out that they needed to for right now and started sucking up water from the carpet using shop vacs and our carpet shampooing machine.
In the game/storage room, Dad suctioned for a couple of hours. The carpet in that room was glued directly to the cement flooring, as it was in the next one. But in the family room, they had to tear the carpeting up after suctioning it and deal with the pad underneath. More suctioning. In the end, the entire pad was removed and the carpet rolled up.

It wasn't just our basement that was flooded; our road had more of Cunningham's Ditch running through it than Cunningham's Ditch did.

Some cars and trucks braved the deeper waters, but some decided not to risk it and turned around.

One of our neighbors to the north decided to use a different mode of transportation:

Kara is spending the night here tonight since she doesn't have to be at work until noon tomorrow, so she'll be helping again in the morning. The guys will all be going Round Two later in the day. Me? Doing laundry, of course.

Tomorrow night, they'll move the furniture out completely, so that the carpet can be unrolled and more suctioning will take place. We've got fans and two dehumidifiers running continually. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

While this is a royal pain in the you-know-where and we'll incur some financial loss, a little voice is reminding me that this is trivial compared to what the people of New Orleans and other areas suffered as a result of flooding to their homes. No doubt one day we'll look back on this and remember fondly the week we decided to clean out the basement. Well maybe not fondly and it really wasn't our choice, but if you procrastinate long enough, decisions sometimes get made for you.


Anonymous said...

Gosh, I'm so sorry for all your troubles. I hope things go well the next couple days and things can soon be put to right. Keep your chin up and your eyes looking heavenward and you will come out fine..........weary but fine :)

Kim said...

Man, what a day. Sorry to hear about it. However...I did have to snort when I noticed the interesting juxtaposition of this post with the previous one.s title.

Anonymous said...

I'm with dogmom! Lack of Rain and then a flood. Egads. We had some sort of the same thing happen in our area, only we have no basement to get wet (thank heavens). First a month of drought, then 5 1/2 inches of rain in 12 hours.

It is a funny thing, how life sometimes has activities planned for you that you had no idea were on your agenda when you woke up in the morning.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about your basement! It is amazing the difference a day makes. Good luck in your cleanup.
I guess we have to be careful what we wish for...

Earth Girl said...

I'm so sorry. I experienced a similar thing during the Great Flood of the early 80s when President Reagan came to town to heave a few sandbags, so I know how much work it is to clean-up and how blessed it is to have family and friends to help. We got 6" of rain Sunday-Monday but no flooding.

Muum said...

sorry about your flooded basement. It is a lot of work to clean up from a mess like that.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Kylee, I'm sorry about your troubles. How wonderful that you have family nearby that can help you.

I too noticed the title from the day before.

Unknown said...

Kylee, I'm sorry to hear about your damage... I just got off the phone with my Mom and thought I should check in to see how you are doing, what with Cunningham's Ditch running so near to you. Glad that you and yours are safe, if a little busy doing some unplanned cleanup.

The stories Mom told were amazing--I can't even fathom flooding in some of the places she mentioned. They're more than a quarter mile (and up a good high bank to boot) from the Blanchard, but the river is about 300ft from my grandma's house right now... my parents live next door. My brother rescued some of his in-laws (and a neighbor down the street) in Ottawa with a rowboat that belonged to a friend--and then loaned the boat to a few more people down the street, too.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, but here on the East Coast we often see the flooding in the "middle states" and say how awful for them, but since I knew absolutely zero people in the midwest, it never really hit home. Now I do know people in the midwest and my heart goes out to you. At least no one was injured and you caught it fairly early. Imagine if you had been on vacation which many of us are in August.

Andrea's Garden said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am sorry to read about your flooded basement and I hope your loss and damages won't be too bad. I remember the floods in the Midwest in 93 when I lived there and lots of people found out that their insurance coverage wasn't covering the basement. Some of them said they'd open the door for the water to come in next time, so they would be covered. Anyhow good luck to you and your family. Andrea

Katie said...

Bummer. Hope you don't end up losing too much...

Guess you never can tell when it comes to the weather...

Gina said...

kylee - i hate to hear about all that water in your basement. im glad you have some help cleaning it up and that everyone is okay at your house.

Kylee Baumle said...

Thank you everyone for the kind and caring comments. Right now we're just trying to get things dried out.

The insurance thing is irritating because we had things in place to prevent this from happening, and this was a clear case of the sump pump failing. It sure seems like THAT should be covered by our policy. It would be different had we not had a means of handling all that rain and water, but we did.

As someone said to me on the phone today, "The insurance company knew when they insured your home that you had a basement and there is always a risk of flooding, no matter where you live. That fact should be a given and this type of thing included in your premium."

Now if you live in a place that floods regularly, that's a different story and I can understand the requirement of having specific flood insurance. But we don't.

Ah, well, this too shall pass.

Annie in Austin said...

Oh Kylee, what a mess - you would think that thirty years of experience living in one place would help, but not this year!

How wonderful, however, that your family all rallied around and made your troubles into their project - maybe that's the part you'll remember more than the lost possessions.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Alyssa said...

I'm so sorry you've had such a problem. The worst thing for me would be the ruined books. It's great that your whole family could help out and ease the burden. I hope that it all turns out well.

But as you wisely said, many other people have had it really, really bad.

Alice said...

How ironic after your posting on Monday about the lack of rain! Still, you really didn't want in quite that quantity, or not that quickly. I hope you are able to salvage all that you hold dear and not too much has to be discarded - well, only those things that you want to discard. At least your garden will be 'smiling'.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Oh bother! You poor thing! That's a lot of hard work to go through Kylee! Oh well, it's all part of this thing we call life. I'm glad there were so many ready hands to help you!!!!

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