Fall has finally broken Summer’s stranglehold on west Michigan. Just like the Winter That Never Ended. We don’t have regularly spaced seasons anymore. Spring lasted about a week, if that. I’m afraid Fall may be just as short-lived. That may be true in the rest of the country, I don’t know. We had a drought in July and August. Those who didn’t water lost their lawns. Those who did, like us, have astronomically-high water bills.
Finally, the rains came. And came and came. Even though we live on a pond, our house is high on a slope so we never worried that we’d be flooded. Maybe we should’ve thought there are other types of floods.
On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, we traveled to Indy for my sister’s first grandson’s first birthday party. What fun! (Our twins are only two months behind him, so we have something to look forward to.) We saw family, had a great time, stayed overnight then headed home on Monday. At home, we did our usual—empty suitcases—but didn’t take them downstairs to storage. We should have.
The next morning, Hubs went downstairs to work in his shop. At the bottom of the stairs, he stepped into water. Three inches of water covered the tile and all of the carpet in our offices and family room as well as the storage areas. Our sump pump quit. Hubs took a piece of wood and hit the pipe (not standing in water then touching something electrical) and the blankety-blank thing started up.
Finally, the water began to drain. We knew we had a mess. We also knew we couldn’t handle this by ourselves. I called a professional company that remediates water damage. The guy asked if I’d called our insurance company. Never thought of that. While I texted our son, hoping that Tuesday was his day off, Hubs called the insurance company. I didn’t know there was such a thing as sump pump insurance. Didn’t know we had it. Thank you, insurance agent.
Son was off work but taking care of the kiddies. We swapped places. I knew I couldn’t handle hauling stuff upstairs, not with my back. Daughter came over. When Daughter-in-law finished work, she came, too. Our kids took over. Daughter ordered a dumpster. Son hired some guys he knew to come the next day to haul boxes and furniture to our garage. They boxed up “stuff” and hauled boxes. After his work, Son-in-law took care of their kids, ferrying them to their after-school activities. Meanwhile, I played with the kiddies, discovered what DIL called the twins’ “witching hour”, fed, diapered, etc. And let Toddler Girl stay up until her parents came home—late that evening. Apparently, I missed Hubs’ rant about me leaving papers and cardboard boxes on the floor of my office. Daughter reminded him of what he’d left on the floor of his office. Never use cardboard boxes, always plastic tubs.
We’ve been in this house for five years. The carpet in the basement went in the following year. That was my biggest regret. We’ve never had such a nicely-finished lower level. But the soaked carpet had to go. The guys tore it up and hauled it out—through my office window—to the dumpster. (We have what’s called a daylight basement with five-foot windows.) The professionals brought in big blowers and dehumidifiers. After a week and half, they declared it dry and sprayed some anti-mold stuff all over.
Now we’re back to bare cement floors. We’re left with decisions on what to do next. A backup sump pump is the first order of business. Meanwhile we have a $10 water sensor on the floor. Then, restoring the furniture and everything else.
My takeaway from this experience is how grateful we are that our kids live close by. And that they took over. Sometimes in a crisis, a person is frozen. Can’t think of what to do next. Our children dropped everything and came to our rescue. I found out later it wasn’t our son’s day off. He’s the executive chef at a restaurant and was supposed to go in around 3 pm. He left here around 6 or 7, going in because he had to close the restaurant then do monthly inventory. He could’ve begged off helping but didn’t. We are so proud of them. I’ve probably mentioned before that this is the first time in over twenty years our whole family lives close together. We are so blessed.
Our little flood is nothing like what those in the path of Hurricane Florence is going through. We had ground water, not sewage, not dirty flood water. In comparison, ours was a minor mess. At the time, it seemed overwhelming. Even seeing the damage on TV, I can’t imagine how the people must feel seeing the devastation in their homes and businesses.
That’s the biggest takeaway. It could have been worse.