Just A Basement

For the last few days, Sweet Pea has been obsessed with my old charm necklace and a My Little Pony, or “hush.” (In case you’re not bilingual- that’s toddler-speak for horse). I found these relics of the 80’s when I was schlepping load upon load of stuff up from our basement to higher ground, as it became inevitable that the flooring would have to be replaced. I plucked these treasures out, hoping they might occupy my daughter the way they occupied me when I was little and my parents were in a frenzy about flooding in the basement. As a kid, I never understood what the big deal was. If anything I imagined a flood would be a cause for celebration, because when else could you go swimming in the street? And I secretly thought my parents might have been a little overdramatic. There was never so much as a wading pool water level in our basement, never mind a so-called “flood.”

*  *  *

I walked downstairs to grab some laundry in the basement Wednesday night, thinking this was going to be the last thing I did before crawling into bed. My pj’s were on, my contacts were out, and I’d hardly been able to keep my head up since dinner time.

When I got to the bottom of the stairs, my feet were instantly cold and wet. I knew I would not be going to bed anytime soon.

I texted Dan “Please come home ASAP. Big flood basement.” In a heartbeat, I switched from sleep mode to turbo mode. I grabbed every spare towel in the house and and threw them at the mess. I called our neighbors to see if they had a Shop Vac we could borrow. They didn’t, but they have a kid who was available to sit at our house while Sweet Pea slept, so I could run to Home Depot before they closed.

I hopped in my car and raced to Home Depot. And by raced I mean drove like a total grandma, because I do anyway, and the roads were shiny with fresh rain. Many times, a wall of water at least four feet tall rose up on either side of my car as I passed through puddles that might be more aptly described as small ponds. I grabbed the last Shop Vac Home Depot had and headed home.

I know my astute readers may be wondering why Dan didn’t pick up the Shop Vac on his way home. He had ridden his bike. He thought he’d be ok because he had rain pants. No one predicted we would have rain like this.

We shop vac’ed for hours, but we hardly made a dent and called it quits by 11:30. The next day, after lots of shop vac’ing, and lots more rain, we waved our white flag. Water had poured in through our window wells, which we were now scooping out by the 5 gallon bucketful every couple of hours. Water continued to seep in through the foundation as the rain hammered on.

On Friday we finally heard back from the only one of several water damage remediation places we’d called. They were willing to remove all the carpet and dry out the drywall for $3000 but Dan thought perhaps he could do it himself. Again, my astute reader might wonder, “But won’t insurance pay for it?” No, no it won’t. We don’t have flood insurance. We’re not in a flood plain and our climate is known for being optimal for curly hair  dry.

So, between Friday, Saturday, and today, with help from friends and family, we did it! We removed all of the carpet, all of the foam pad, all the baseboards, and lots and lots of wet drywall. And by we I pretty much mean Dan. I played the supporting roles of First Responder, Water Scooper, Stuff Carrier, Meal Cooker, Child Watcher, and Pizza Orderer, but Dan was the star, as the Lead Water Damage Avenger.

At this point, we are glad we beat the clock, as we got the wet stuff out quickly which should mean we will not have a mold problem. Our stuff is intact, not that any of it was really that important. I am actually looking forward to going through and paring it down, as it’s all in a big heap and will eventually have to go back to some semblance of an order, once we sort out our drainage issues and put down some new floor. And I’m pretty excited about putting down some new hardwood vinyl flooring. Sounds weird, looks awesome.

We are glad it’s not worse. One of my co-workers lost her house and nearly died trying to get out. So many people in surrounding areas were evacuated or don’t have power. People living in the mountains normally 40 minutes from town have lost access to the main road, which is not passable. So our basement is messed up. Big deal.

We got a chance to go for a walk during a respite from the rain Friday evening. All the neighbors were out, comparing notes. We met people we’d never seen before. When they asked where we lived, we said, “We’re the house with no front yard, just garden.” and everyone was like, “Oh, that’s you.” Yep, we’re the hippies with the amazing tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, basil, and cantaloupe.

My mom asked me if it was anything like the flooding we used to have in our basement when I was a kid. I laughed and shook my head. I held the phone between my shoulder and my ear as and Sweet Pea held my leg with one arm, her “hush,” and her charm necklace with the other.

“Mom, I have no idea! When I was a kid, it wasn’t my problem.”

A flooded basement is no big deal compared to this.Photo credit: cbsnews.com



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