The Best Laid Plans

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We had best laid plans for Sunday.

A few little painting projects and a cookout.

We weren’t sure Saturday if we’d cook out or not because we were due some rain.

Yeah. It rained.

Our Sunday plans changed drastically by 1:30 am.

I’ll just go ahead and give you the run down in half hour increments.

Midnight: I had fallen asleep ridiculously early Saturday night, so when I woke up to pee at midnight, I was up.

The promised thunderstorm was raining down on us. The thunder didn’t start and stop, it was just one long, rolling thunder.

We propped open a bedroom window with a book because Gertie enjoys standing on the window sill and looking for lizards. I thought the book was probably getting soaked, so I got up and closed the window. Then, I continued playing games on my phone.

**NOTE** It is not a revelation that our driveway floods. It has flooded numerous times. But it was super late and my brain did not feel it necessary to remind me of this, so I continued to not consider the possibility the driveway was flooding. 

1:00 AM: Randy woke up and looked out the bedroom window. He asked if I could tell if the driveway was flooded. I still hadn’t thought to check.

Randy decided to get dressed and head outside to see if we were having an issue.

I had taken a double dose of xanax 20 minutes earlier in an attempt to get back to sleep and I was just getting to that warm, fuzzy ready-to-drowse-off feeling.

I asked Randy if he needed any help and he said no. That was definitely the right answer because I was ready to finally go back to sleep.

1:30 AM: I’m not sure if I had been asleep for 5 minutes or 25 minutes.

I just know I was woken up by Randy yelling up from the basement.

He sounded a little panicked. Mind you, any level of panic from Randy is cause for alarm.

My brain tried, for just a moment, to pretend nothing bad was happening and was ready to go back to sleep. But then Randy said something else and honestly, I hadn’t heard anything he said. I just heard panic.

I got out of bed and put on jeans and shoes. I have some amazing rainboots, but left them outside and, as hard as it was raining, I was pretty sure the boots were full of water. I put on my trusty Chucks. I hope they’re not ruined.

Randy was in the garage and the water was over his ankles. There was more to that story, but I was still assessing damage. The outside basement room where the washer and dryer were a good inch under water.

The middle basement room has a big drain in the middle of the room, but it was still pretty flooded.

Super funny side note. We’ve had boxes at my mother’s house since we moved in here a year ago this month. Joey just went a few days ago and brought them home. He put them in the basement. Mostly cardboard boxes. 

Anyway, I went out to the garage with Randy, he was trying to guide water to the driveway drain while preventing debris from blocking the drain.

The flood of water in the garage overturned a box filled with packing peanuts.

I would love to say what followed is funny, but no. No it is not funny. Mostly. I mean, it’s a little funny, but not at the fucking time. Holy shit. Not then.

When Randy went out the front door and looked down into the driveway, he couldn’t tell if there was any water backed up or not. He couldn’t see. He decided to go down to the garage, turn on the light on and open the garage door.

The amount of water that rushed in from the driveway actually moved the lawnmower from the front of the garage, to halfway in.

Between a push broom and taking turn holding the drain open while running interference against the seemingly infinite number of packing peanuts, we were able to drain the garage of most water.

2:00 AM: We had to start moving shit around in the basement. There are two large rooms and one very small room. We didn’t even consider the small room until the next morning. The only casualty there was rolls and roll of Christmas wrapping paper. It’s mush now.

The outer room’s drain just wasn’t doing it’s job. The water was around our ankles.

This room is also where the kitty’s litter boxes are. I took a litter box up to the living room and made sure both cats knew the location. They were not amused.

Joey told he was going to a friend’s after work and wouldn’t be home until the morning. We were in the basement when I heard the distinct sound of footsteps overhead. I called out to Joey and I was really hoping he would be the one answering.

Joey: What the fuck are you guys doing up?

Me: Everything flooded.

Joey: That sucks. We’ll get it taken care of tomorrow.

2:30 AM: The water had drained from the garage and driveway. The Basement still had standing water, but not much. There was a sea of drenched cardboard. Father’s day was not going to be fun. We went upstairs and I went to check the kitty’s water dishes.

Ants.

Motherfucking ants.

Nope. No, I don’t care. The ants can do their thing, I’ll do my thing.

I had taken my chucks off on the basement steps and my waterlogged, wrinkly feet barely had any feeling in them.

I was stomping ants in my bare feet and willing myself to not cry. Randy was already in the bedroom peeling his wet clothes off.

Randy: What are you doing?

Me: Getting water for the kitties.

Randy: It sounds like you’re tap dancing.

Me: I can’t tap dance.

Randy: I’m going to get in the shower.

I didn’t even tell him about the ants. I knew I was at my limit and pretty sure his was all full up, too.

3:00 AM: Randy finished his shower and was in the office on twitter and ranting about something. I have no idea what.

I was in disgusting water for hours. Filthy, nasty garage water. And basement water. Kitty litter water.

I got in the shower and it is possible that was the first time I’ve ever showered in the middle of the night. I mean, it’s possible when I was young and got home from the clubs all hot and sweaty, that I might have showered, but I don’t remember ever doing that.

I’m not really fond of the 3:00 AM shower.

3:30 AM: Randy and I got in bed and turned the TV on. We stared at it for 30 minutes and decided it was time.

4:00 AM: I think we were both asleep by 4:05 AM.

I decided by late afternoon on Sunday that I wouldn’t be going to work on Monday. I texted my boss to let him know.

We have a sort of dry basement and garage. We have many, many contractor bags full of debris. We still have work to do.

Plus side? It would have probably been months before we got around to unpacking the rest of our boxes, and now? We have no choice. Yay! I guess.

Randy and I had to stop working by mid afternoon. His knees were killing him and I felt like I had an ice pick in my back. Doordash is on the way with some Nashville hot chicken. I guess Randy will eat, I’m not sure. He’s snoring as I type this.

We’ll finish up tomorrow.

I’m not going to complain. Two days of physical labor is two days where we aren’t immersed in whatever bullshit political stuff is going on.

And we really did need to get those boxes unpacked.

 

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22 comments

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  • Oh Michelle I’m so sorry! Flooding basements suck! But now you know you need to put in a perimeter drain and a sump pump. Also grade that drive away from the house. It will be worth it, trust me!!

  • I’m so sorry, Michelle!!! That really fucking sucks. We learned the hard way a little over a year ago about storing anything for any length of time in cardboard boxes. We now store EVERYTHING in those big, clear Rubbermaid containers. We have slowly built up collection of them. We buy them whenever they are on sale. You can almost not have too many of them. I use a label maker to put a label on the outside of either what family member it belongs to, or just a general statement of what it is. If you feel REALLY anal retentive about it, you can write down everything that is in the box on a piece of notebook paper, and put it in the box, facing out against the side, so you know *exactly* where everything is. We have also lent them out (our extras), to other people when they were moving. If they end up wanting to keep them, we just ask for the money that we paid for them (if they can). We got the idea when we were moving. Someone lent some to us, and we wanted to keep some, so I think we paid them like $6 a box or something. As for the ants, temporarily, you can make a deterrent so they don’t go where you don’t want them by mixing (real) peppermint oil and either rubbing alcohol or buy the cheapest vodka you can find, and put it in a spray bottle, and spray it anywhere you don’t want them. This also works for hornets, wasps, mosquitoes, and other annoying summer bugs. I also use ant traps because they work well, and I don’t have to worry about my dog or 3 cats getting into a poison. I hope this helps a little! Also don’t forget to take some time to do something nice for yourself after all this stress. Reward yourself with a pedicure. You deserve it!!

  • You are right.
    Not funny, now.
    I lost my baby books when the walls of the trailer we were living in didn’t quite absorb all the snow from the roof.
    The damage wasn’t discovered til the next move and I was simply devastated.
    I consoled myself with, “At least it wasn’t fire and smoke damage.”
    I’ll take a flooding any day.
    I’m glad to hear you called in to work, some catastrophes need room for sobbing :'(
    I’m so sorry, Michelle and Randy. That really sucks and I cannot find any humorous ‘go get ’ems’ that would be appropriate right now, but I am surrounding you with calm and positive thoughts for the cleanup and inevitable drain fixes <3

  • I hope nothing in those ruined boxes was water-logged. We’ve been in our new ‘dump’ for about 2 months now and I can’t bring myself to unpack the 28 cartons of books I have. Well, I unpacked 4 of them that carry my favorites, but the rest can wait. Maybe until my next move as I really dislike this place. We’re into Florida’s rainy season, so we’ll see how being on the 2nd floor works. I’ve always been on ground level and had to put towels at the base of the outer doors to prevent water flowing in. Being in an apartment complex is new to us and am hoping that any hurricanes pass Tamarac by so I don’t learn first hand all the unfortunate possibilities.
    Look out for mold – make sure that your basement walls are really dry or you’ll find yourselves with a new project that you didn’t anticipate.
    Good luck with the cleaning and sorting. Do you guys have a rainy season?

    • Oh, I’m sorry about the new place. 🙁

      We did lose a few things, but it wasn’t horrible. We got anti-mold stuff that we sprayed after we bleached everything. I hope it does the trick.

  • Man, you poor guys. I’ve been there, done that, it sucks big time. Cleaning up? What a bitch! We also had a lot of stuff in cardboard boxes that was ruined after our basement flooded. After we had thrown almost everything out, I read an article that said if you keep stuff stores in cardboard, you really don’t care that much about it. I know your situation is different in that you recently moved, but I do keep stuff, things I really need to get rid of included, in plastic now. I was pretty upset at the things I had to throw away, but, you’re right, flooding does make you do the shit you put off. It was kind of nice having the decision to keep or get rid of something taken away from me. Best of luck with the ants.

  • Flooding inside is horrible! I remember looking at a home that had a basement, few have any around here, and there were wood pallets with plastic boxes on top. The realtor spun it as the owners were neat freaks. I knew what it really meant and we passed on that home.

  • Oh, Michelle! I’m so sorry that happened to you guys. Operating in “emergency mode” during the unexpected is a physical and emotional wrecking ball.

    So you know you’re not alone: This winter, after 5 years in our house, we paid a shit-ton of money to have the walls and ceilings skimmed and painted in the main living area. They looked beautiful. No more nasty half-assed patches or cracks in our 1947 bungalow.

    Then it rained – a hard, wind blown, driving rain – and for the first time since we bought the house, the roof leaked. In four places. The first leak was coming through a new light fixture in the kitchen (John got to hear the panic in my voice that you heard in Randy’s), two were in the ceiling in my son’s room (bad, but at least we hadn’t skimmed it yet) and one was coming right through the new, hella-expensive, skim/paint job in the dining room.

    My six-foot-two husband crawled into the attic with a flashlight, while I handed up buckets and pots (one is still MIA). Then he climbed on the roof to patch each hole he found. One hole was in a place that was too narrow to put a pot or anything under it, so John tacked a funnel to the underside of the roof and ran a long plastic tube through the new hole in the dining room ceiling, which drained into a big bucket on the floor. My husband is MacGyver. Now it looks like we have a giant IV drip in our dining room. Still. My son’s ceiling looks like the before pictures in a varicose vein treatment ad. The roofer we called out to inspect the damage and found one, tiny roofing nail had popped up in the shingles, over the IV drip contraption. One. Tiny. Nail.

    Water can fuck you up. But like you said, you needed to unpack those boxes anyway, right? And now we have all of our summer projects all lined up, don’t we?

  • When I was reading about all of the flooding in the Midwest, it did occur to me to wonder if you were OK.
    Ants do like to wait until it floods to invade. Little fuckers. They sometimes attack the cat’s food dish, and we have some food-grade diatomaceous earth that we spread around his bowl (and under the baseboard) to keep them away without endangering the cat.
    The foundry where we used to live had multiple leaks in the roof, and I used to just cover my computer with a tarp when it stormed, and place buckets strategically to catch the water before it ran anywhere too damaging, and even our house in Richmond had leaks in the kitchen and bathroom.
    This house doesn’t seem to leak, although we haven’t been here in storm season yet.
    No, instead we just got past a mini-heatwave. The thermometer on the upstairs thermostat was pegged at 99 for three days. I’m assuming it only has two characters in its display as it was 107 outside, which felt cooler than the upstairs did.
    May you and Randy be feeling much better (and drier) very soon.

  • There is nothing worse than a flooded basement. Okay, there are some things that are worse, but when you’re in the middle of it…I hope the chicken was good. There’s nothing better than some Nashville hot chicken. Okay, there are a lot of things that are better, but after what you’d been through the only thing better than some comfort food would be that Xanax fuzz.

    • Maybe a few things worse, but this was no fun at all. Not at all. And it’s still raining. So far, we’ve had a little water in the garage, but it’s manageable

By Michelle

Michelle

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