Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flooded Basement, Furry Panic, and Gratitude.

Once again, my planned post has been foiled by a shit-ton of rain life.  Ain't that the way it always happens?

Today's post was supposed to be about my dinner with Katie at America Eats Tavern.  I will write about it (eventually), but for now you'll have to drool over her photos  read her post about it here

As you may have heard, the Northeastern United States is getting drenched by a bad combination of Tropical Storm Lee and the outskirts (and weather patterns) from Hurricane Katia. 

Estimated rainfall totals in the area, through Friday.
Last night, Duff Man got home and texted me to tell me that the basement had flooded.  This wasn't too much of a surprise; our French drain at the back of the house backs up sometimes and lets some water in underneath the door to the backyard.

This was so much worse than it had ever been.  Water permeated through our entire 1000-ish square foot basement; our basement that is 80% covered in carpet.  Duff Man worked on it for a few hours, and I helped him for a while... but pretty soon after I got home, I realized that we were in over our heads.  There was no way that we would be able to get all of the carpet sufficiently dried to prevent mold and mildew growth.

At about 8:00pm, I threw in the towel for both of us and looked up a flood remediation company on Angie's List.  I'm not going to review the company here (yet), but I have to say that I'm impressed.  They were at my house around 10:15pm, gave us some paperwork to sign, reviewed the situation, and got to work. 

The plan? Pick up all the carpet, discard all of the carpet padding (since there's no way to dry it enough to prevent mold & mildew growth), dry/dehumidify for up to a week, replace drywall/baseboards if necessary, spray with anti-microbial solution, re-install carpet with new pads, patch up walls, and steam clean. 

It ain't gonna be cheap--the fans and dehumidifiers alone cost almost $500 per day.

Here's what the basement looks like now.

Downstairs living area.
Duff Man's office
Downstairs kitchen and rec area
Dining room, now storage facility
Dining room, now storage facility
While I'm certainly not pleased that I essentially had to move a fully-furnished two-bedroom apartment unexpectedly at 11pm, I took it in stride.  (Unlike Duff man, who huffed and puffed and stomped about in anger and frustration for 8 hours.)  Because there was nothing I could do to change the situation, I saw no reason to get worked up over it. 

I've been contemplating gratitude lately, and I think this situation helped me put things in perspective.  No one was injured.  No valuable belongings were damaged.  This is not like the time I had to clean out my grandmother's flooded basement on the day my grandfather passed away.  I don't have a sick child to care for in addition to having to clean out the basement.  (This crossed my mind because I have been admiring the blog of one of the other yoga teacher trainees who is living her life and completing her training WHILE while caring for her two sons--one of whom has cerebral palsy.) 

If I must be honest, this flood may have been a little bit of a blessing in disguise.  In moving all of our belongings, I realize that we simply have a lot of "stuff"--and that we don't need a lot of it.  I am going to take this opportunity to throw away, sell, donate, and/or organize belongings that have been sitting in boxes and tucked into closets for the two years we've lived in our house.  I also told Duff Man that this would be a great opportunity to paint his office if he's so inclined; the carpet's picked up and everything has been moved out of the room already.  Why not?

So, even as I used the shop vac to vacuum and empty and vacuum and empty and vacuum and empty and vacuum and empty more water from the basement every 5 minutes for 2 hours after the restoration company left at midnight...

...and even as I realized, after coming back from a 10-minute break to notice that all the water I'd emptied had come right back...

...and even as I concluded that the water was not coming in from the french drain in the back of the house, but was seeping in from the ground at the front of the house...

...and even as I gave up for the night and went to bed around 2am...

I thought about how grateful I am for the life that I get to live every day.  Even when it turns out unexpectedly.

The basement?  Eh, it's just stuff.  It will be okay.  If a basement full of water is the biggest of my concerns, then I don't have much to worry about.

And I might not have even written this post (okay, that's a lie), except then...


Duff Man woke me up at 5:40am with panic in his voice.

He got up around 5:15am to bail the french drain, he let the dogs out back.  When he went to let them back in, they didn't come at his call--the call that they know always signals breakfast.

The restoration company hadn't closed our gate when they left.  The dogs were gone...had probably been gone for 20-30 minutes... and were nowhere in sight.

THAT is the first moment I felt panicked and out of control.  We went outside and called their names.  I drove around the neighborhood calling for them.  I stopped a jogger and described the dogs to him with tears rolling down my face.  I stopped the car to write posts to the city Facebook and Twitter pages asking for help. 

All kinds of bad scenarios went through my head.  What if they were picked up by animal control?  What if someone took them?  What if they got hit by a car?? 

I don't know what I'd do if I lost my puppies.

And, fortunately, I didn't have to learn.  Duff Man found the furry bastards sweethearts a couple of blocks in the OTHER direction away from our house.  They ran up to him and wagged their tails and wanted belly rubs.  He put their leashes on them and took them home.

And so, I learned my final lesson from this experience for today.  My relationships--even with my pets--matter way more than the stuff that clutters up the basement. 

And life is soggy, but still good.

(P.S. One more thing: I wanted to add that I am IMMENSELY grateful for all of my friends who have contacted me to send happy thoughts and offer help and simply ask how we're doing.  There's not much we can do until the rain dries up, but I'm so glad to have all of you in my life.)

1 comment:

  1. Oh holy cow. You need a margarita now. I'm so sorry you've had to deal with all that. So stressful! Hang in there. I love your blog!