Monday, May 09, 2011

Last Tuesday

We had something of an adventure at our house on Tuesday. I can't decide yet whether it was a good adventure or a bad one- probably a bad one that brought about good things. That's how most things tend to be in my life. Anyway, enough philosophising. . . for now, at least.

On Tuesday, our basement flooded. One of our sprinkler pipes blew and flooded our yard which flooded into our window well which flooded into our basement Fun times. :( Since it was a cloudy day which kept me out of the backyard and I rarely go into our basement, it probably had a good couple of hours to get all nice and floody before we were alerted to the problem.

My visiting teacher had seen the swamp in our backyard and tried calling me to no avail. I don't usually know where my phone is. I hate talking on the phone, so I don't think about it.

Then she tried knocking on the door. That wasn't any good as I was out walking Emma home from school, and of course- that was the perfect day for me to choose to take the long way home.

Then she somehow found Ross's number and called him. That worked. Ross is not socially awkward like I am and has no phone allergies.

Then Ross tried to call my cell phone, and it sure wasn't anywhere near me and it sure was set to silent. When I found it later that day it had 28 missed calls. Oops.

Then Ross, already in his car and on the way home, called our land line. That was different. We got a land line with our internet. We never use it. We haven't even given the number to anyone. It is there for emergencies. Yay for that because the ringing of our always silent land line startled me as I was ON THE WAY OUT THE DOOR TO THE STORE STILL HAVING NOT NOTICED OUR STRANGE AND WET PREDICAMENT!

That got me into action. I quickly turned off the outdoor water main, walked through the muck of our yard, located the burst pipe, and saw 2 1/2 feet of water in the window well with more pouring in. Not good.

I then ran to the basement to see 2 inches of standing water with more pouring in. Not good.

I gave myself a minute or so to panic and fret, and then I had to get to work. The first order of business was to find a way to keep more water from coming in. Since I am not strong enough to bail buckets out of the well by myself, I settled on setting up a little device to catch the water coming from the window into a 15 gallon tupperware bin. I used the lid to make a little slide, and I would say that from then on out, a good 70% of the water coming in never made it to the floor. I had to empty it every 10 minutes for three hours, but I think that saved us a lot of time and kept many of our possessions dry.

Then came the hardest part of my day. I had to get all of the stuff we have stored down in my basement and move it. Most of it ended up in our living room. I wouldn't have been so bad except that the girls were trying to help, and I had Jack on my hip so he would stop trying to play in the water. (I later gave up on that and just let him have fun in it.)

I then rolled up all the wet carpet and padding that we have laid down there. Carpet is heavy. Water is really heavy. Carpet soaked in water is ridiculously heavy for my little arms.

When I got this done, I got the girls, who had been asking to get in their swimsuits ever since they saw their new indoor swimming pool, to play a game with me. While I was directing the standing water away from the remaining dry areas (especially our food storage!) and into the drain, I had them take plastic cups and scoop up water into another tupperware bin. I don't think this really helped too much, but it kept them busy and made them feel like they were helping.

Just as I was beginning to panic again at all the work ahead of me while trying to keep my kids happy at the same time (Ross was still 40 minutes away) a neighbor came by and took my kids. She was wonderful. Jack was soaked to the bone, but she told me to get him some dry clothes and she would change him at her house. It was wonderful of her, and it was just the first of many acts of service we would receive that day. Oh, I lied- it was the second act of service. The first was sweet Carol, pregnant and alone with her girls going WELL out of her way to get our attention on our swamp. Anyway, it was exactly what I needed, and I am so grateful for her willingness and insistence.

When I was alone, I had time to really think about what needed to be done and the best way to do it. I changed into some clothes more suitable for this situation and kept emptying out the bin I set up at the window and directed the water there to the drain. It seemed like the best thing I could do by myself.

When Ross got home, he found that there was only about half an inch of water left in the basement, but still a good 1 1/2 feet in the window well. He had stopped at my grandpa's house on the way home and borrowed a sump pump, so he got to work trying to set that up when some more help arrived. A sweet older couple from the ward came over with a wet vac, and some buckets.

Soon after that Sam, the Elder's Quorum President came over with some fans from the stake. He and Ross got to work bailing buckets out of the window well. It was just faster than the sump pump at that point. Did I mention Sam was in his shirt and tie from work? I love this church!

At 5:00, everything was as under control as it was going to get. No more water was getting into the window well, and no more water was getting into the house, and all the standing water had been drained out or sucked up. It was at that point I had to make the decision of whether or not I still wanted to host my Book Club that night.

Yes, that's right. The ONE time of the year I am supposed to host Book Club, my basement floods. Awesome, right? I knew that I could ask one of the other ladies to host it in light of my extenuating circumstances, but I would have felt terrible springing something like that on someone so last minute. I had to weigh the work it would take if I hosted it over the guilt I would feel if I passed it on.

I decided that I had 2 hours, and since things were now past the panic mode, I could probably get everything set up. While Ross started the task of getting the ruined carpet padding to the garbage (the only thing we lost in the flood!) and laying out the wet carpet to be dried by the heavy duty fans, I got to work trying to make my house not look like the site of a disaster.

I moved everything in my living room that had been transported from the basement to our garage. Goodness, my arm muscles were mad at me for that! Then I got some dinner ready. I would have sent Ross to get something so I wouldn't have to bother, but fortunately, I already had most of it ready in the crock pot. I love that thing! Emma helped me get the BBQ chicken and rice dinner on the table, and we all scarfed it down so I could clean the dishes and get ready for Book Club while Ross played some more in the basement. :)

I made cookies (thank heavens for frozen dough), scotheroos (thank heavens for quick and easy family recipes) and salsa (thank heavens for my magic bullet and Bountiful Basket) and was cleaning up the very last dinner dish when the first Book Club lady came over. I had done it!

Notice, however, that a shower and a change out of those wet working clothes was not listed. . . Sorry ladies. . . Even with that, though, it was a fun evening. We discussed a great book and laughed and chatted and ate and oogled over Gina's sweet new baby. Book Club is one of the highlights of my month, and this was the first time I had hosted it, so I was ever so relieved when things turned out so well after such a stressful ordeal.

My shower and I had some quality time when the last ladies filed out, and I had no trouble at all getting to sleep that night.

I know this is already long, but I wanted to record it since it was such a big event for us, and I also wanted to say how grateful I am for our church organization. Ross made one phone call to a member of our bishop-ric, and we had help at our door step almost immediately. Things would have been much more serious had we not had their lended equipment and muscle and vigilence. The way our church is set up is truly inspired as it allows us to bless each others lives with much more ease, convenience and organization. The hierarchy is there for a reason, and it works! My now dry and recovered basement is proof of that.

Thank you to those of you that helped in such an immediate fashion, and thank you to those who dropped by throughout the night to offer help that was no longer needed. My ward is amazing, and I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many people who I consider friends. That is not a term I throw around lightly. I am a very blessed woman!


Tracie said...

Floods are never fun. I'm glad that you were able to get help from friends and ward members. A blessing for sure! Also glad that not much seemed to get permanently damaged. What a relief. :)

Carrie said...

glad it all worked out!

Michelle said...

Your flood sounds exactly how my mom's basement flood happened... the panic, rescuing things, trying to figure out how to stop it, trying to find a phone number to get a hold of the neighbors who's washing machine water line burst and the helping hands. I am so sorry that you had to go through that with three small children no less. I'm so happy that it wasn't any worse and you didn't get any permanent damage to things.

mostlyprobably said...

The church is true. Seriously it is.