August 12th, 2014

8-pointed Star

We're safe but what a mess

We had one heck of a lot of rain today and for the first time in the more than twenty years we've been in this house, the sewers backed up to the point our basement flooded. Not just our house -- every house in our immediate neighborhood and quite probably every house within the square mile surrounding us. Outside, on the street, water was up past the curbs (I've never seen that happen before) and our old neighbor who was here checking on his renters told me that water was coming out in geysers along 13 Mile.

I was home when the water started to come up in the basement. It was at the bottom step when I heard strange sounds coming from the basement. It went up at least three steps, so between two and a half and three feet from the concrete floor. Our freezer, washer, dryer, hot water heater, and furnace were all drowned in the flood. We're probably going to have to tear down the paneling as if there is any drywall or insulation it will have to go before it turns into black mold. I started the claim process with my insurance company when the water was just 8 inches or so because I wanted their advice on what I'm supposed to do or who to call. They were not much help as they said to call a plumber (but all circuits were busy and no calls could be made. Come to think of it, I never did get in touch with any of the local plumbers, just the one work uses and all he could advise me was to get the water out of our basement as soon as possible.

Tomorrow's tasks are to call a plumber to inspect (and probably replace) the water heater and the furnace guy to inspect the furnace and tell us what it needs. What a mess. All things considered, I'd rather spend the day at work fighting with my new accounting software.

We got the pump we use for cleaning out the pond out of the garage and used it to get as much water as we could out of the basement. The drains/storm sewers didn't clear until after midnight and most of the rest of the water drained away through the floor drains. I have no idea how bad the damage is to the stuff we stored down there -- I suspect much of it is ruined. I know shelves were knocked over and things were floating and crashing into one another -- the sounds coming from the basement were frightening and I took refuge in my car thinking that it was safer there than it was here in the house.

So anyway, if you don't hear from me for a few days you know why.

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8-pointed Star

Two years of watching Hoarders did not prepare me for this shit

Subject says it all.

We still haven't heard from the claims adjuster. The heating/cooling guy is here now. The hot water heater guy was here this morning but when he was here it was impossible to reach the hot water heater (and at that point it appeared to be working). It is now accessible (or will be once the heating/cooling guy leaves) but in between these two events I discovered that our enormous chest freezer had floated during the flood, flipped on to its front side, had the door fall open. I spent the last hour or so fishing mushy packages of once frozen meat and containers of Jebra's home-made chili out of the mess and hauling it all up the stairs and outside. Where we are taking photographs for the insurance claim. There's no telling, at this point, what our insurance will or will not cover. The good news is that our home equity line of credit is still active and we can borrow against it.

I've been plugging away since 9 am and honestly it barely looks like we have removed anything. I started at the side of the basement with the pantry (and peeked inside -- lots of topsy turvy stuff in there too -- but no where to pull it out to look at, clean & disinfect or anything else. So I moved forward and retrieved the cat's dishes & litter pans, scooped up as much soggy litter as I could manage, and started collecting clothes from the various spots they fell. We own an incredible number of t-shirts, kilts, and work shirts. I think *everything* needs to be washed just to be on the safe side, whether or not it was immersed in water.

Speaking of washing clothes, the washer & dryer are currently nonfunctional. We bought them at Sears so I called them up to ask what to do. Or I should say I *tried* to ask -- first I got lost in voicemail hell, then I got to a person who would only repeat things from her script. All I wanted to know was if there is a typical scenario -- fix or replace -- and all she would say was we had to talk to our insurance claims adjuster. Which annoys me because if the proper solution is to replace we'll do that even if we have to foot the majority of the bill. After that round of frustration I called the local Maytag Repair service and learned that it may be possible to just dry out the machines, not replace them. Right now we have no room to disassemble the washer & dryer nor is there room for a fan to run, not without setting it on the still very wet floor (no flooding, just so saturated with water it is refusing to dry). And I expect there are many storage boxes and bins holding water as at least 75% of the ones I've laid hands on so far did.

I have yet to enter the downstairs toilet, which perhaps strangely is also the gateway to the husband's office, nor have I tried to clear the approach to the weight room and musical instrument storage area. Or done more than put one foot into the pantry.

I keep thinking about Tiny Houses and wishing we'd done a clear out long ago. Except I also keep looking at stuff and thinking "but I still like my CDs, DVDs, and million and a half t-shirts."

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