Tuesday, July 27, 2010

when it rains, it pours

What a week. If it could go wrong, it did. From record setting rains and flooding to niggling little irritations, it was one thing after another. And it wasn’t cheap either.

First, the weather. By now everyone knows that this part of Wisconsin had enormous amounts of water poured on it last week. Last Thursday 7” of rain fell on us in just over an hour. Add that to the couple inches of rain that fell earlier in the day and we had a biblical measure of rainfall.

In any heavy rainstorm our sump pump works hard to keep water out of the basement. This was the first time that it was unable to handle the quantity of water rushing into it. We had to assist the pump by bailing with buckets until the storm subsided a bit. We considered ourselves lucky that we were able to handle the overflow.

Then Friday night the next round of thunderstorms hammered the area. At 7 AM Saturday morning, the power went out. No power, no sump pump. Panic. We had to do all the work emptying the sump crock by the bucketful, hoping and praying that power would be restored sooner rather than later. Our basement was in real danger of being flooded. We had to work fast and constantly to keep up. I emptied buckets into the utility sink while Mary lugged buckets of water up the stairs to dump it outside. With PD I’m not too fast doing anything these days, but I managed to hold my own. Mary had the more difficult task of going up those stairs. It’s amazing what strength and stamina you can muster when an emergency arises. For a couple of 62 year old seniors we held our own against the elements. Two hours after it went out, the power came back on and the sump pump returned to service and we took a moment to catch our breath. Whew.
So later Saturday morning, Mary went to Menards to buy a backup battery operated sump pump so that we wouldn’t have to face that situation again. She got the last one in stock. Good for us. Being the efficient errand runner she is, when she returned home she stopped at the end of the driveway to get out and grab the mail. In doing so she inadvertently hit the door lock and locked herself out of the van. Big deal, you say. Just get the extra key and unlock the door. Where is the extra key? In her purse of course. Where is her purse? Locked in the van. My car stealing skills are not quite up to snuff so my efforts to break into the van proved comically unsuccessful. AAA showed up nearly two hours later and within 30 seconds had the van opened. With the engine running that whole time we used up a third of tank of gas. And got really lousy mileage.

While she was out running her errands I was busy searching for the source of the leak that had water dripping from the ceiling during that last storm. I think I found the spot and luckily had some roof patching tar on hand to seal the offending leak. I hope so. Can’t really know until it rains again. Just add it to the list of things gone wrong.

We’re not done yet. Amidst all the other near calamities, the clothes dryer decided to stop functioning. Why? Who knows. But $120 bucks later it is working again.

With all the rain I haven’t been able to get the grass cut. Now four days after the last drops fell we still have standing water in the back and side yards. The ground is so saturated that it just won’t dry up.
You can practically see the grass growing. A minor irritant to be sure, but still an irritant.

We did manage to arrange for a plumber to come and install the new backup sump pump. We splurged and had him install a whole new pump and backup system so we won’t have to do the bucket brigade trick again. Now $1200 later we have some piece of mind.

Oh yeah, one more thing. The digital phone isn’t working either. So later today the service tech is supposed to be here to solve that problem.

I know, compared to those people who suffered basements full of water and sewage, we got away fairly easily. Several thousand homes in the metro area were damaged by rising waters. Some homes have had to be condemned as unlivable. So my complaints about not being able to cut the grass are rather lame. But still, everyone’s problems are relative to their time and place. There has been little to cheer about for the last week for anyone in this area. When it rains, it pours.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something. This has been a week to forget. When it rains, it pours

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