A more accurate title might be “When it rains, it pours. In through the walls, and up through the drains.”
Friday evening I flew to Dallas for a Saturday morning meeting with a banquet to follow that evening. The plan was for Kelsey to join me Saturday afternoon, share speaking duties at the banquet with me, and then fly home with me Sunday afternoon.
Friday night we talked on the phone – her from The Compound and me from my Dallas hotel. We were realizing we really hadn’t prepared ourselves or the children well for both of us to be gone, and perhaps it would be best if she stayed home. We love to travel together but the rigors of seven children make it difficult at best. We settled on ‘no’ and both went to sleep.
The next morning, in Dallas, I drove to my meeting. In Kansas City, it began to rain. No, it began to pour. It rained raindrops the size of soup cans. Some time that morning – I don’t remember if it was before my meeting or after, messages started hitting my Blackberry. The first one read:
Water coming in on all sides….Pouring in walls like you turned in a faucet in a few places. Water on both sides. It sounds like a waterfall in the old stairwell. Massive water in there. You may want to stay in sunny TX awhile 😉
It had rained so hard and so fast that the basement filled with water to about the six inch level. Fortunately, friends pitched in and helped pump it out. ServiceMaster came and cleaned up. Then, as they started to leave, water started coming back in….through the drains. We pumped it again.
I came home Sunday night. It started raining about 12:30am on Monday. My mom was awake and turned the pump on just in case. When I checked at 4am, the water was 5 inches deep, pump or no pump. By 7am it was higher than it had before. Entire gallon cans of paint sat submerged. Two spare fridges sat with their workings under water. A lonely, barely used elliptical machine (don’t ask) looked like some self propelled jet ski. We had ourselves a mess again.
For a long time, I thought our pump had quit. Later I found out it just couldn’t keep up. I added a second pump and pumped with them both from 7am until 3pm with little change. We were taking on water as fast as we could pump it out.
Around 3pm, a contractor we’ve used a number of times came to the house. He was mystified. Water was coming in through the walls, but rather than going down the drains, it was coming up through the drains as well. Turns out we had two unrelated problems.
1) It was raining like a 100 year flood.
2) The sewer line (near where we’d repaired it months ago) had been crushed by the pressure of ground water, which clogged the line, preventing downflow, and forced ground water uphill 170 ft through the sewer into our basement. Good heavens! It’s raining up!
The contractor cleared the line and the basement drained with this great sucking sound that only gravity can produce. He called to city – in his estimation, it might be the cities problem.
Last night, a friend texted me a warning of an incoming storm. I reacted as if I were on the French frontier and saw the Goths and Vandals approaching.
Pumps? At the ready!
Power cords above the water line? Checked and rechecked!
This time, instead of the great deluge, we got a little wall dribble that ran down the drain unchecked. No flood. That said, still no fix. We heard we’re on the list…but aren’t sure how long the list is.
Meanwhile, we stand at the ready, weather pulled up on the laptop, our eyes to the west, plunger in hand. Bring it on. We will not raise the white flag.
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