Friday, August 24, 2007

Seriously, Enough Already ...

Yeah, you're seeing the time stamp on this post correctly. No, my Blogger settings didn't somehow default to the time zone for Kazakhstan. It's 2:36 in the morning (as I write this sentence; it will be later when I finish this post) and I've just gotten caught up with the situation in my basement.

This morning, my favorite plumber, Chuck, showed up bright and early to rod out my sewer line. He asked if I've had any trouble for the past few days.


He scrunched up his face. It could have been the city's problem, he suggested. Maybe the city wasn't keeping up with the sewers and that's why I was having a problem. (It wouldn't be the first time.)

Yep, that's right: My plumber was trying to save me money, suggesting that the service he was there to perform might not really be necessary.

I know! It's craziness! An honest tradesperson? No offense to all the honest tradespersons out there, but you know how it is: You need your oil changed, and the next thing you know, the mechanic is telling you that you need a new transmission. Sadly, it's hard to find service people you can trust.

Which I why I love Chuck The Plumber.

I told him to go ahead and rod anyway, as long as he was here. I figure, I'd rather spend a couple hundred bucks on a service that might just be preventative maintenance than have to rip out all my carpet and drywall in the basement if, in fact, there really is a problem.

So Chuck did his thing, and I chatted with him while he rodded, and he did in fact get a decent pile of little tree roots out of the line. I'd rather have them outside of my sewer line than inside.

He went on his way, saying he'd have the office send me a bill.

It was sunny while he was here. And it was sunny for a good part of the day.

And then it wasn't.

Christ on toast, as Stacy would say, the rain hit with a vengeance. Then a second wave hit. And then, because I am extra lucky, a third wave hit my area. (Is still hitting, actually. How much rain can there be?)

I went downstairs from time to time to make sure everything was OK.

Yup. All good.

Still, I was hesitant to go to bed. The storms kept storming. (I turned on the 9 p.m. news on WGN, as a storm raged above my house, and Tom Skilling spent both of his weather segments talking about the weather from earlier in the day. Uh, hey, Tom. See those massive red splotches on your weather map? Let's talk about those, shall we?) I checked the radar on my computer. Rain, rain, and more rain.

Finally, about 12:30, I thought I'd head off to bed, but I made one last trip to the basement to quell my concerns.

Hmm. Yeah, I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that water coming through the basement wall is a bad thing. I peered into the crawl space to see if that sump pit was OK. Um, nope. Water in the crawl space. And my main sump pit was going crazy.

Shit. Shit, shit.

So, I ran outside, got my garden hose unhooked, crammed it through the little basement window screen, went back in the house, hooked up the hose to my submersible pump and got that in the main sump pit. Ran back outside to find no water coming out the other end of the hose. Kink in the hose. Got it. Back inside. Another kink. Got it. Crawled in the crawl space. (Ew! There are, like, spiders in there. Funny how I get over my fear of spiders when I'm afraid my basement's about to flood.) Duck-walked over to the sump pit through the water. The floaty thing that's supposed to trip the sump pump on and off was stuck. Unstuck the floaty thing. Backed out of the crawl space. (Did I mention the entrance is kind of high, so I have to step on a chair then hoist myself through the opening to get into the crawl space, then reverse it to get out? It's very graceful.) Checked on the main sump pit. Now that I was pumping out the crawl-space sump pit, the main sump pit was having trouble keeping up with all the water. Oh, and the culprit behind the weeping wall? (Check me out, being all smart here:) Hydrostatic pressure. As in, too much of it. There's a low point between my house and garage and water pools there and when it's rained for, oh, a year and a half straight, the drain tile around my house can't keep up with all the water around the house, hence why it was coming through the wall. Path of least resistance, and all that. So, back outside, I grabbed my squeegee-water-pusher-thingee and started trying to shove water away from my house. And nature, being the helpful gal that she is, decided that that was the perfect time for another round of thunderstorms. So picture me, in the rain, squeegeeing, then periodically stopping to run in the house to check the sump pit, to plug in or unplug the submersible pump, check on the crawl-space, then run back outside, move more water, etc. For more than an hour.

Let me tell you, kids: big fun.

So now it's nearly 3 a.m. My crawl-space sump pit (which is almost directly below where I'm sitting at the moment) is still cycling on and off, catching up with all the water in the ground. I've obsessively checked every radar I can think of and it seems (knock wood) that the worst is over for the night, though there's still plenty of rain headed this way, just not massive crazy storms like earlier. (And as I wrote that, I heard thunder rumbling as if to say, "Not so fast, missy. I'll leave when I'm good and ready.")

So maybe I'll towel off (don't want to take a shower and add to the water in the system right now) and try to get a few hours of sleep, though I think I'll be half asleep the whole time, listening for sump pumps kicking on (a good sound right now) or not kicking on (which would be bad).

I love owning a home, but some days, I hate being a homeowner.

Still, I'm proud of myself for handling the situation and not freaking out (entirely) and beating on my neighbor's door at 1:30 in the morning. Because he couldn't do anything, really.

Unless he knows how to stop the rain.

Update: Stayed up until 5 a.m. (Hey! Local morning news starts at 4 a.m. now! Who knew?) Went to bed until 7 a.m. Crawl-space sump pump is still dealing with water, though it kicks on and off at a much greater interval now. More rain on the way, but I'm ahead of the curve now. All should be OK. And ... exhale.


Blogger Marc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Here in SLC we get about 15.3" of rain...annually. What's a sump pump? ;-) We had a similar night like yours one August when we lived in CT. You have my condolences.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

Well, the good news is it is raining here in Little Dixie. Sounds like the bad news is its still raining in Chicago!

Living on a hill, my basement only flooded once, and that was because the city apparently didn't bother keeping the sewers cleaned out. At any rate, flooding in the basement once was enough for me...

3:01 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Wow, I'm impressed. You handled the situation well.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Well, thanks, boys.

Thankfully, it's been dry here today. More rain is due overnight, but not the crazy storms that we've had the past few days. Sheesh. 'bout time.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Ethan said...

I told him to go ahead and rod anyway, as long as he was here. I figure, I'd rather spend a couple hundred bucks on a service that might just be preventative maintenance than have to rip out all my carpet and drywall in the basement if, in fact, there really is a problem.

Sorry, I just watched The Big Lebowski the other night and it is still "top of mind". Anyway, I was reminded of this:

Sherry in 'Logjammin': [on video] You must be here to fix the cable.
Maude Lebowski: Lord. You can imagine where it goes from here.
The Dude: He fixes the cable?
Maude Lebowski: Don't be fatuous, Jeffrey.


Stay dry!

9:44 PM  
Anonymous girlanddog said...

Holy cow, what a nightmare!! Somehow, living in rain-starved So Cal doesn't seem as awful now.

5:20 PM  

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