Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The rains came down, the ditches filled up, and [unfortunately for us] the sanitary sewer overflowed.


Yes, we had a flood. Thanks to my husband's good hearing, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. He heard the sound of the sump pump running continuously and then opened the basement door and heard the sound of water. Never a good sound coming from a basement. Waterfalls are lovely. Rivers are nice. Kids splashing in a swimming pool are fun. The sound of flowing water coming from the depths of a basement is not a good sound.

We both dashed to the garage to put on our tall rubber boots (amazing how handy those things are) and then down to the basement to get stuff up off the floor. Not at all happy at the sight of water shooting up 8" from the sanitary sewer drain. Very yucky stuff coming out of that drain. VERY yucky.

Luckily, we didn't have very many boxes sitting in the floor (most were on shelves), but there's a set of furniture down there, a treadmill, a Total Gym, lots of free weights, and assorted other things that we didn't want covered with sewer water. Armed with bunches of 4x4s and 2x4s (it pays to be married to a carpenter who doesn't throw away "useful" pieces of wood), we lifted things and set them on the wood. Meanwhile, water was spreading across the floor...

The sump pump was running at full speed, but it couldn't keep up with the deluge. Of course it was still raining, so in addition to the water coming up out of the drain there was water coming in from the drain tiles underneath the house. So we needed to stop the water coming from the drain so the sump pump could catch up. My job? Stand on top of the drain, pressing my rubber-boot-covered foot firmly over the opening to stem the flow of water, while my husband ran upstairs to grab an old towel to stuff into the drain. He arrived with the towel and a broomstick, I removed my foot from the drain, and he jammed the towel into the hole and tamped it in place with the broomstick. Just for good measure, he put a rubber thing (I don't even know what it was) on top of the towel, and then I put two 35-pound dumbbells on top of that to hold it down. Fingers [figuratively] crossed, we waited to see if the sump pump would catch up.

Of course we didn't just stand around and wait for that. We grabbed big squeegees (everyone has those around, right? - why do we have all this stuff???) and started pushing the yucky water over to the sump pit. Not too much later, the sump pump caught up. Whew.

And so began the cleaning of the basement. Some stuff did get wrecked. Who wants to hang onto cabinets and shelves that have soaked up sewer water?! But not much, considering. The shelves have now been bashed apart. We could have disassembled them, probably, but it was more fun hitting them with sledge hammers. One box of children's books was destroyed. :-( We don't have children, but I have a whole collection of books because I like them!

The insurance company was called, and we were told to take pictures, keep track of what was lost, and keep track of the time we spent cleaning up the mess. Because so many people were flooded, they couldn't offer the cleanup service to us that they normally do, but they'll pay us for our cleanup time! Who'da thought?!

As we drove to the store on Saturday to buy cleaning supplies, we saw people hauling washers and dryers and all sorts of things out into their driveways. One family had a giant dumpster full of stuff. Our next door neighbors had 8" of water in their basement and had to have it pumped out. Our neighbor across the street has to rip out the carpet in their basement. We really didn't have it so bad, compared to some other people.

All this extra activity has severely hampered my beadweaving progress though! We're almost finished with the cleanup (I mopped the entire basement floor with bleach yesterday - those fumes were wicked!), and then I can get back to making things.

May your basements always be dry!


Melody Marie Murray said...

Oh, yuck! I'm sorry about the flood, and glad you got off with only minimal damage. But children's books? Ouch.

SarahKelley said...

Icky! I'm glad it didn't hit you harder though!

Carol Dean said...

ugh! :(

Anonymous said...

Wow, you all were lucky then. I bet your neighbors were envious of your high rubber boots and squeegees! Never a fun situation....Glad it wasn't so bad and that insurance is actually paying some for it.

Bead-Mused said...

Sorry about the flood! But what a great story you told!! I'm glad your damage was minimal.

lisa peters ART said...

Im sorry to hear this ML, I had mine last week and it was awful.. but coulda been worse! I hope all works out asap & you are up to your ankles in beads where you should be instead of in ---- where you should not! I feel your pain.

siteseer said...

Ouch, was that a storm drain or a sewer drain? Sewer drain would definitely be nasty! We had a washer overflow once with minimal flooding and after that all storage stuff was put in plastic tubs. Glad you had the necessary stuff to cleanup and a healthy attitude to deal with it.

Meghann said...

Good grief!I hope everything gets resolved quickly and I'm glad you caught it quickly :s

:-) MaryLou said...

Thanks for all the well wishes. We've gotten most of the mess cleaned up now, and the village will be picking up the damaged stuff on Saturday (saves us from having to start a big burn pile).

Unfortunately, it was a sewer drain that backed up (for us and for all our neighbors), so it's been a rather nasty cleanup. We just try not to think about it, but we've used lots of disinfectant and bleach!