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Sunday, May 15, 2011  

Indoor Pool Part 2

Here's what you need to know about our basement. It's half finished, with the TV and the furniture and the bar and the video games on one side of a dividing wall, and the washer/dryer/laundry tub on the other side of the wall, along with the catboxes, the chest freezer, and the area under the stairs that Trash's mind gravitates to when she runs across an episode of Hoarders on TV. The floor on the finished side is carpet, with painted concrete on the unfinished side. The unfinished side is also, thank God, where all of our past basement floods have been confined to. Until now.

This time, there was so much water on the floor that it was spreading out of the utility area and into the TV room, soaking the carpet -- and the area rug that we have covering part of the carpet (it sounds dumb, but it really makes it warmer down there in the winter). I knew I was going to have to deal with that, but before dealing with the width of the water, I was going to have to deal with its depth.

Enter the wet-dry vacuum, called upon to live up to the first part of its name in a big way. I sucked up enough water to fill the tank and dump it out several times, and then had to stop for a while because the switch got wet and touching it started to make my hand feel really funny. Not something I wanted to do too much of while standing toenail-deep in water. Then I switched to using big plastic cups to scoop water into empty 35-pound cat litter bins. While I was doing this, I wondered when the puddle would start shrinking. We all know how tall a gallon of milk is, but how wide were the forty gallons of two-inch-deep water I'd already dumped down the laundry tub?

Under the laundry tub is a floor drain, and the bubbles I saw rising from it while the laundry tub emptied gave me my answer: moot, because all the water I was dumping into the laundry tub was just ending up back on the basement floor.

It was at this point I started hauling kitty-litter bins full of water upstairs, out of the house, and to the curb, where I dumped the water out for the city to pick up later. I could tell this was going to be exhausting and time-consuming even if the puddle had finally begun shrinking, but on my third or fourth trip I caught a break: the floor drain had opened up and let out most of the water's sheer depth, at least, Now instead of a lake, my basement was a swamp. Yay!

But that was only the beginning of the good news. Other happy-making items included:

1. Thanks to all the basement-drying I'd done recently, there was relatively little cat litter scattered on the floor to turn into gross gray sludge like it usually does when it gets wet!
2. Because we've had a leaky basement before, most of the stuff stored on the floor is in waterproof plastic bins. They might even float if they needed to, but the water didn't get deep enough for us to find out. Maybe next time!
2. Water has never gotten into the storage area under the stairs before, which contains large cardboard boxes, our older luggage, and several guitars in cases. It did this time. Most of the bags and all the guitars were salvageable, although the suitcases now smell like unused cat litter. In fact, I discovered an acoustic six-string I didn't even know I owned. Bonus!
3. While wrestling the sodden area rug out from under the furniture and the TV room, I also found 29 cents!
4. I used to only have one or two bath towels that were dirty enough to use on the basement floor, but now I have four or five!
5. I know how much it costs to rent one of those giant, snail-shaped floor fans when I need to ($21 a day)!
6. Certain areas of the basement are now cleaner and better organized than they've been since before Christmas, thanks to all the ruined crap I had to throw away!

I can laugh about it now, because my basement is dry again, and has been for weeks in a row. And it has occurred to me that we live in a world where water alarms exist and can be purchased for a lot less money than it costs to clean an area rug.

posted by M. Giant 8:18 PM 3 comments

3 Comments:

Yeah, about those water alarms... We finally installed one in our basement after our third Major Flood. (Also put all the boxes/bins that weren't on shelves up on wooden pallets by that point.) Now, *one* of the two grown-ups in our house wanted to buy and install one of those spiffy water alarms after the first flood, but the *other* grown-up waited until after the third flood. Apparently it took him a lot longer to get over the fun of drying out the basement than I'd've thought it would.

Since installing that water alarm, it has gone off twice, both times for sump pump failure. Both times, we managed to get the sump working again before there was any actual water on the floor. Whew.

May you never have to dry your basement again!!

By Blogger Heather, at May 16, 2011 at 5:35 AM  

Just for your future reference (although I hope you never need to know it), a gallon of water is equal to 231 cubic inches -- that's a puddle just under 2 square feet, 1 inch deep.

By the way, I hope you lifted the carpeting and set that big fan to blow air under it for a couple of days. If you didn't, either get the fan back and do so, or set a dehumidifier in that area and run it continuously for several days. If you didn't, and don't, the carpet backing will still be wet and you're setting yourself up for mold.

By Anonymous rabrab, at May 16, 2011 at 11:06 AM  

If you REALLY want to think about the bright side, you can consider that in many places in the world, that water would be better quality than the available drinking water. And that's _with_ the cat litter dissolved in it ;)

Damn. This sounds really really douchy and I don't mean it that way at ALL. Truly not - it totally sucks to have a flood. But in some ways it can make me feel better to think about how my own misfortune would feel like a blessing to others. :)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 16, 2011 at 7:12 PM  

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