Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sandbagging the Basement

Hello, Minnesota Spring.  Although I had been looking forward to you for a while, now, I didn't realize what an incredibly messy and expensive house guest you would make.

Sweet Hubby and I have been in the same house for 14 years and never had water rushing into our basement from spring thaw.  Until last night.

Around midnight, Ben told me "The laundry room has a couple inches of water in it."  With that, Levi instinctually sensed his moment to lay claim to our time.  I got him back to sleep and went to the basement, expecting to see some problem with the washing machine that my very competent husband had under control. 

Instead I found Ben squeezing out water with a sponge at the base of our upright deep freezer and extra fridge and stove looking perplexed.  (Yes, large families often have an extra appliance or two or three...) Since the laundry room floor was covered in a layer of clothes needing to be washed, he couldn't quite tell where the water was coming from. 

Side note - I am going to commend myself for having a layer of clothing on the floor to soak up some of the excess water.  If I had been all caught up with laundry, we might have had an even bigger problem. 

The water had spread from our laundry room into our furnace/storage room, which are both, thankfully, just a concrete floor.  Unfortunately, the water had also begun to soak into our carpet in the main room of the basement. 

We worked together till 2AM trying to get things away from the water and start cleaning the mess.  When we got closer to having things cleared out, we realized it was melted snow water, not any plumbing leak.  We have been taking turns since 2AM staying up to empty the water.  We used our shop vac till its motor wore out.  We also spent hours hunched over, cleaning up the water with sponges.  We are now the proud owners of another shop vac that will hopefully last till this mess gets cleaned up.

With my parents' help (they were here visiting) we managed to dig a trench to try to divert some of the water away from the house.  We also cleaned out a plugged drain in our egress window - a likely cause of some of this problem.

However, at this point, there is not much else we can do to stop the water.  It keeps pouring in by the floorboards in our basement.  We have sucked out hundreds of gallons so far, and I'm assuming will suck out hundreds more.  If we can keep up this relentless pace through the night, I am hopeful that the damage won't spread.

As much as I don't particularly enjoy this waterlogged adventure, it could be worse.  At least it is only melted snow water - not sewage.  Also, we were able to catch it before it destroyed everything in the basement. 

I have found the actual vacuuming with the wet/dry vac and subsequent dumping of the heavy 8 gallon container to be quite a good upper body workout.  Sure, I am hunched over something fierce because my back hurts and my arms and legs are tuckered out, but I feel like I have gotten quite a good bit of exercise.  Also, when I am vacuuming, I only use one hand.  I have been putting the other to good use holding a book.  This minor calamity is giving me hours upon hours to catch up on my reading. 

I've already had to cancel our family Easter dinner that we were going to have at our house tomorrow.  I am hoping that we can get this water situation under control enough to be able to go to church as a family and take a little time for Jesus and each other.


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