Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fanning the Flood Waters Away.... Away... And Away Again!

Friends and family are taken aback over the fact that I'm still smiling with 2" of water in my basement. They don't understand why I feel so LUCKY that my basement is submerged and my very expensive carpet is floating. Admittedly, flooding 3 times in 4 weeks sounds incredibly UNlucky to most. But not so much to me. It's all a matter of perspective!

Flood #1 was the result of the cumulative meltdown of multiple 10-15" snowfalls in the month of February. Two consecutive, very warm and welcome sunny days and an inadvertently unplugged sump pump resulted in an uprising of the ground waters and voila, our basement went under for the first time since the 9 days of rain back in 2005, just a few months after The Boys were born. After a week of pushing and pulling a rented and very heavy, commercial-grade carpet cleaner/vacuum, sucking up 50+ gallons of water, the Sarge swapped it out for 2 huge drying fans that ran non-stop for almost a week. Literally 24-hours after he returned the fans to the rental shop, we went under for the second time.

Flood #2 was the result of a massive wind and rainstorm that shook down most of the huge pine trees all over Long Island-- including my mother's and sister's -- and knocked out electric power for hundreds of thousands of my neighbors. Our lights were out for 18 1/2 hours. No electric = no sump pump. No sump pump = 2" of water in our basement. So the Sarge borrowed a pseudo-commercial grade carpet clearner/vac from a colleague, sucked all that water out AGAIN, rented the fans AGAIN and dried the whole place up AGAIN. Though it was raining AGAIN the very next day, Sarge returned the fans while we squeezed in one quick little indoor play date where the Old Soul and her friend were able to jump on the trampoline and kick the balls around our spacious, finished basement playroom. But it continued to rain hard all that day and even harder the next.

By day 3, Flood #3 was upon us. Despite a functional sump pump, the basement carpet was and is currently afloat once more. Darn ground water!

Yes, I'm still smiling! Laughing even. Because the whole thing is just bizarre. I know that I live a Murphy's Law kind of life. One in which resistance is futile and acceptance is the only way to go forward. Things that don't happen to others often seem to happen to me. And that's cool! Consider for a moment that I have identical twins with Down syndrome -- that's nearly a 1 in a million occurrence. And while that's been a great blessing, my basement flooding 3 times in the last 4 weeks is pretty unusual and not so much a blessing... though I've accepted it nearly as willingly.

So what's the trick?

  • Overflowing garden hoses snake out of basement windows and wind down every fifth driveway in my neighborhood so I know I'm not alone in this "misery". It's not a "misery loves company" thing so much as sharing the experience COMPLETELY negates the whole "woe is me" attitude thing (which I'm not prone to anyway).

  • The local news channel is showing folks just 40 minutes from here kayaking through their backyards. And the poor folks in New Jersey are standing in waist-high water in their living rooms... with high tide on the way so there's no sign of receding. I've got just 2" of water in my basement and I know -- because we've already cleared it twice before -- that this is totally manageable.

  • The curbs are lined with my neighbor's personal belongings, damaged and destroyed in the floods. Furniture, carpets, cabinets, tables, boxes, trunks, you name it. But because we flooded back in the Fall of 2005 -- thankfully before our basement was finished -- we played it safe and put 3 of those huge plastic utility shelves down there, put everything on the shelves, and plastic bins on the bottom shelf... Literally no damage except for the 2 pseudo-disposable, hand-me-down couches. We're good!

  • And finally, after much difficulty clearing the original 12" of flood water in 2005, Sarge and I had the wherewithal to finish the basement with 100% INorganic materials. The Owens-Corning basement finishing system (walls) installed by Alure Home Improvements (as seen on Extreme Makeover Home Edition... still waiting for that call) and Home Depot's next generation green, porous carpeting and rubber padding has proved -- 3 times over -- to be a GREAT investment! YES, it cost a little more (actually it cost a lot more) but it has now saved us thousands of dollars over the cost of refinishing and recarpeting our basement three times using traditional wood, sheet rock and carpeting... all made with organic materials that feed mold and mildew. MY walls are guaranteed not to mold or mildew FOR LIFE and the porous and INorganic carpeting and padding allows us to vacuum straight through without having to remove and dispose of them. NO smell. No stains. No stress. TOTALLY worth it.
I'm actually kind of sitting here doing Eddie Murphy's SNL "I got my ice-cream" dance despite the 2" of water STILL soaking into my basement carpet downstairs. And even if the proverbial scoop of ice-cream falls from the cone and plops on my basement floor with a big splash AGAIN, I figure I'm still ahead of the game. I know it's nothing a vacuum and a few fans can't fix. Oddly, the whole experience is making me feel sort of SMART! LOL! How's that for perspective?
And from the Old Soul's POV: As I explain to her and The Boys that they can't go downstairs to play because we're flooded AGAIN, noting, oddly, that we've flooded within 24 hours of Daddy returning those fans 3 times, the Old Soul says:
"Mom, maybe we should just keep the fans this time!"


  1. Now, what you want to do is contact Home Depot and see if you can't parlay all of this into a great commercial for that carpeting! You never know what perks may be waiting just around the corner. Flooded basements are a horror but I can understand how hard it is to complain with neighbors faring even worse.

  2. great attitude, but geez! What are the odds?!?

  3. oh my! I hope you are all dried out by now. sending prayers and good thoughts. I am like you and look at the positive and laugh when most would be so upset.