Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Six Inches of Standing Water...

Okay. Sometimes homeownership is heartwrenching and most of the time when I learn things about homeownership I can apply them to life, in general. Today was no exception, but I've had to wade through quite a bit of muck to get here. Yes, the puns are intended. Bear with me, I'm still traumatized.

There are several issues that you will note from the photos:
1. Being packrats does NOT serve you well in times of high water.

2. The silty black and whitish stuff - though you may not be able to smell it through the interweb - is completely disgusting.

3. Storing things directly on the floor, and even a little above that does nothing to protect it when the sewers back-up into your basement.

I'm sure that there are a number of other things you will notice from the photos and if they are disparaging in anyway, please give me ample time to rediscover my sense of humor before sharing them with me. Thanks in advance, really.

Now, that's the middle of the story. Here's the beginning and the update:

I had a lovely day today, had lunch in Evanston at Chipotle (yum) with a dear friend. We enjoyed some time sipping iced tea from Unicorn Cafe (a charming independent coffee place) on the grass amongst apricot colored Asiatic Lillies. And, by the grace of something we got to my car in time for the sky to open up and practically dump a LOT of water on the city and cause unbelievable havoc. I drove her to her office and proceeded on what is usually a 20-25 minute noneventful drive. Some of the roads were not passable, traffic was backed up, people were frustrated, there was a lot of wiper action going on and not a lot of effect. It took me over an hour.

I was blissfully in my car riding along thinking about the wonderful evening at Ravinia last night. We went to the Indigo Girls and Brandi Carlile concert. It was such a great time. I was listening to the Steve Cochran show on WGN Radio and they were chatting about the stoppage on Lake Shore Drive due to flash floods. I was glad to be off work today.

I got home - finally - after a blue station wagon cut me off just before I turned in to the alley (there's a picture of the alley after some of the water receded for your visual pleasure). When I got home there was a lot of water I had to drive through in front of our garage. I think that it was as I was turning into the alley that I thought, "I wonder if our basement flooded." Well, you know the outcome of that question so I will fast forward to what I did next.

As I unlocked the door to the house, I heard Miss Gracie tapping her little nails in excitement over my arrival (it's nice to be loved and greeted as such by a cute Golden Retriever). Then I opened the door and smelled --- eeeew.

I decided I would take a roll call of the Urban Zoo and make sure no cats were downstairs. When all were accounted for, I opened the door to the basement and nearly gasped from the nidorous smells wafting up the stairs. As I descended I really could not have expected what I saw. And, I wish I had taken photos before the water receded because it is almost difficult to believe it actually happened.

Now, as I am writing this I am gaining perspective. In the grand scheme of things, this was not a big deal. It's inconvenient - yes, gross - certainly, expensive - yeah very likely...but it isn't catastrophic.

Our insurance will cover clean up and replacement on any of the appliances (which we have up on cinderblocks anyway). I am concerned (a lot) about the furnace. We will probably have to bite the bullet and replace that now as well. Ah, well, it is 30+ years old and still kicking out the heat for us in the winter. Insurance will not cover any belongings. Which is too bad since - as you might imagine- there were many of those down there too. It is a LARGE basement.

We need to reseal the basement for seepage and repaint. We also need to build heavy duty shelving which we've talked about for a long time now. A sump-pump might also be a good idea.

They are coming to haul all of our ruined belongings out and clean tomorrow between 12 and 2. I will be at home. Perhaps there will be more updates.


  1. Oh NO!
    I know this moment and it is.not.good. My biggest sympathies are headed out there.

  2. That really sucks! Our basement flooded every year when we were kids, but I can't recall ever having the septic back up. Will your municipality cover what insurance doesn't? You live in an area where they are responsible for the sewer so maybe they will cover the stuff the insurance won't.

  3. Ouch! We have had our fair share of rain here in TX, but we haven't had any flood issues. Extra Big TX Hugs headed that direction! Hopefully everything will be resolved quickly and "normal" life can resume!

    PS - Eraser and Sassy are send Texas Kitty Love too!


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