The Great Basement Flood of 2012

Wow, where do I start?  I guess at the beginning……

It was Tuesday night, I had company and it was raining.  We had dinner and went out to the country to visit friends and family.  We managed to sit at the bar through about an hour-long power outage and have a good time.  The trip home was iffy, 32 miles per hour in an outright downpour.  Talk about nerve-wracking.

I checked the basement when we got home, I had a bit of water coming in by a window so my dirty clothes were wet.  I threw those in the washer, hung out the wet rugs and talked to Idaho until I could switch the clothes over to the dryer.  Idaho was due in two days so I was hoping for the best.  I put my clothes in the dryer and we all went to bed.

My company was staying on my main floor and my bedroom is upstairs and above the other half of the duplex.  About 1:45 AM one of my guests woke me up to tell me there was a horrible noise coming from my basement and she couldn’t find the light switch.  Did I mention she scared the daylights out of me when she was calling my name from the end of my bed?

I got my butt out of bed, put something on and drug my ass down the stairs to hear this horrible noise.  While I was walking down the stairs I got a text from my neighbor that said “what the hell is that noise coming from your basement?”  As I got closer to my basement door I could hear the sound, well, I could hear the horrific piercing noise coming from below.  I opened the basement door, turned on the light and freaked out.

When I turned the light on all I could see was brown water about eighteen inches deep while covering my ears from the horrifying sound.  Well, three of us standing there in our sleeping duds, or lack there of, staring down the steps with our ears covered was quite the sight.  My neighbors then joined the fun to stare downstairs wondering what the noise was.  I had immediately ran down the stairs and barely touched the water, I use that term loosely, when I realized that was dumb as electrocution could happen easily.

My neighbor did finally venture in the cess pool and unplug all my appliances and the radio which was making the offensive sound.  The radio had been sitting on the ironing board which fell over, in turn it turned on the radio and cranked the volume up.   It was on a station that didn’t come in so the static was blaring.

It was all downhill after that.  We watched the water rise for about an hour.  I just have to mention at this point….seeing one of your best friend’s parents in their skivvies walking around the house should have been terribly disturbing but under the circumstances was rather comforting as I didn’t have to be by myself.   It’s funny looking back on it now, tightie whities and all!

We finally went to bed as there was nothing we could do about the rising brown disgusting water.   I made my home on the couch to listen to the bins splash in the water along with the shatters of mirrors, holiday decorations and glass nick nacks inside the bins.

By 7:00 AM I was sure there was nothing more that could happen that would surprise me and I was completely wiped out from worry and no sleep.  Well, not long after that we were all awake and a noise came from outside my front door that sounded like a freight train.  We opened the door just in time for the street in front of my house to turn into a raging river.  Water on both sides of the house was almost waist deep and flowing right into my front yard and out to the street.  I noticed a downspout traveling at the speed of light into the river and wasn’t about to go after it.

The raging river lasted for quite some time and it almost got my extra full propane tank but my landlord saved that from the clutches of the river.  Once the rain subsided we walked as far downstairs as we could to access the mayhem and had to chuckle as there were two snowmen that I hadn’t put away perched above the water as if they were watching over the situation.

About 5:00 PM the water had subsided from the basement and clean-up could begin.  As I started moving one thing at a time to bring upstairs I knocked over one of the snowmen and broke it.  It just seemed par for the course.  You can see the lone survivor snowman in the picture below, I will certainly cherish him.  I had help from friends that night to bring items outside to wait for a dumpster the next day.  The following morning more help arrived and we were able to empty out the basement which made my lawn look like a garage sale gone bad.

I was frantic because Idaho was arriving that night and I didn’t want to have to spend my days with him cleaning up a crappy (pun intended) mess.   It was an all day affair going through boxes and bins deciding what was salvageable and what wasn’t, finding out there wasn’t much we could salvage.

Around 8:00 PM I had to stop, go to the neighbors and shower….no hot water heater……and get ready to pick up Idaho from the shuttle.  I could hardly move and hardly keep my eyes open but I made it.  I’m sure he wanted to turn around and go home once he saw me and the remainder of the mess at my house but he was a trooper and we got it all taken care of.

Things are still a little chaotic but life is as back to normal as it’s going to get and Idaho has gone home.  I am so thankful he was here to help along with friends who pitched in, let me use their bathroom for a couple of weeks and company who has come and dealt with clutter and an odd basement smell (which is 100 times better now).  You always know who your friends are when you’re in a crisis.

One last note……I believe I found that The Critter was a mouse and it had used the paper towel to make its home inside a roller skate (I didn’t even know the roller skates were down there!!) inside a drawer.  I didn’t dare dig into the skate, nor did anyone else, but there was a patch of fur inside the drawer that I believe was the mouse that perished, no idea from what but it perished nonetheless.  No more critters as there’s no longer a place to hide in my basement because it’s empty!!


Accumulation of Stuff

How does it happen?  How does one accumulate so much crap?

I’ve lived at my current residence for only three years.  I am very conscious of what I save and how much I save…..or at least I thought I was.   Tonight I realized I’m apparently not as conscious as I think I am.  I was putting away my Christmas tree tonight (yes, I know, it’s the 16th, give me a break, I’ve been busy) and as I was bringing the stuff back downstairs, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

It’s the basement I go in every day, it’s the basement I do laundry in and it’s the basement I thought I had a critter in.  Why it hit me tonight?  I have no idea.  I stopped at the bottom of the stairs and looked around and said out loud “where did all this $*&# come from?”.   As I inventoried the contents, here’s what I found that was mine:

  • Two chairs I was going to recover…….15 years ago.
  • Ten bins with different holiday stuff…..who needs that much, especially when I barely decorate?
  • A 5 ft. church bench, yes, I said church bench.  I’m going to refinish it………at some point.
  • A piano bench that I’m going to refinish… some point.
  • A trunk I’m going to refinish… some point.
  • A half refinished dresser I will finish………at some point.  I better figure out when “at some point” is.
  • Two cots….no mattresses.  WTF?  How did I manage to accumulate those?
  • A TV stand I no longer need or want.
  • A shelf I no longer need or want.
  • Three bins of stuff from my youth…teddy bears, toys, dolls, urgh…what am I going to do with those besides haul them around?
  • 12 purses.  Holy hell did I spend too much time in Chinatown in NYC over the years.
  • 17 suitcases, beach bags, duffel bags and softball bags.  I’m really in the WTF stage now.
  • Tents….oh dear, I didn’t check in that bag for the critter!!!!  I may have to just throw those out without even looking.
  • Seven pairs of shoes I haven’t worn since I moved in….perhaps I could get rid of those??

It just hit me.  I’M A HOARDER!!!!!  Holy crap, my friends are going to call that show and turn me in.  I need therapy, counseling, perhaps hospitalization!

I gotta go, I have some cleaning out to do before I’m writing stories from the big house……or whatever house they put me in.