The other day on a Target run for toilet paper and paper towels, we happened down the detergent aisle. I always buy fragrance free detergent and we still had a fairly large jug at home, but I was drawn to the detergent. I thought, what the heck? and bought a big ol’ jug of scented detergent. (I know, I live dangerously.) (I also know that two of the people who live in our house are boys and well, it’s been hot, and well, they kind of stink.)
Anyway, we bought our no fun $80 worth of toilet paper, paper towels, detergent and feminine products (how I hate to spend $80 and get such boring stuff) and I didn’t give it another thought.
I was sitting in bed yesterday afternoon reading a book. (In the middle of the day!) Maggie was in her room and Nick was watching a show. It was quiet and peaceful. It was like we had finally gotten the hang of summer. It started to rain a bit. I settled in a little deeper into my bed, because the only thing better than reading during the day is snuggling up to read on a rainy day.
A few minutes later Maggie came down to join me because “the lightning was freaking her out.” She was in my room for about 4 minutes before I jumped up a little panicked realizing I needed to check the basement.
See, we have a basement that has flooded on more than one occasion. The great flood of last year being the worst by far. We lost the carpeted portion of our basement, a nice leather couch, a water heater, and all the drywall.
I ran down the stairs much like I did last year upon realizing how much rain had come in such a short time. It was already wet on 1/3 of the basement and water was pouring in under the door. Usually, for such a small amount of rain this means that the french drain outside the door has gotten clogged with leaves. I opened the door and to about 6 inches of water which came flooding in before I could slam the door closed again.
Maggie was really freaking out now.
Did I mention the lightning? There was lots. I ran outside to try to unclog the drain when I realized the drain wasn’t the problem. The sump pump wasn’t emptying.
Now I was beginning to freak out.
Luckily we left the lowest shelves in the basement empty so if we could keep the water low, we wouldn’t need to move much. So I just had to get the water to stop. But how?
Well, naturally, I would grab the loads of clean, folded towels and blankets that were right within reach to try to plug up the door. (Or at least to make the water not sound so ominous as it poured in.)
I unplugged the sump pump and plugged it back in. I tried the breaker.
And then I gave up and called Mike in a panic.
He headed home, but I knew with the speed at which water was still coming in, that something had to be done.
I kept imagining a lightning strike hitting any of the yard which was now like a wading pool. I also had to unplug many things in the basement while standing in an inch of water. Not my favorite way to spend an afternoon.
I blocked the main flow of water outside with a big piece of wood. That at least changed the flow of water so that all the water coming from the roof wasn’t riding the gutter to the basement stairs and into the house.
By now the whole floor had about 2 inches. I goofed around with some little containers, but there wasn’t even anywhere to bail it to. The rain was coming so fast and hard. It took 40 minutes to flood what took over a day during last year’s flood. It.Was.Freaky.
Mike got home, rigged up our secondary/temporary sump pump and emptied all the water out within an hour or two. The rain stopped and the sun came out. Our street which was completely underwater at 3:30 was completely clear by 4:45.
I grilled chicken outside for dinner. It was so bizarre. If you weren’t home for any of it, you would have no idea what had happened. (Well, we would have because our stuff was floating.)
As soon as the road cleared, the sump pump had somewhere to pump the water and our main pump turned out to be fine. I was convinced it had to be broken for that much water to back up so quickly, but I was wrong. It was a freaky, fluke of a storm that dumped 3.5 inches of water in less than an hour.
Mike worked most of the evening to make the temporary pump permanent. Now all I have to do is plug it in if we ever need it.
Did you know water that runs off your roof, into dirt, around a corner, down the basement steps and under a door gets quite dirty?
So today? Today I have re-washed countless loads of laundry with our scented laundry detergent, but we didn’t lose our water heater or our new washer and dryer and for that I am grateful.