Tuesday, September 6, 2011

FTT Off-Topic: The Season Of Flood



As always with FTT O-T, this isn't sports. Enjoy or not.

In the first 52 years that the house that I own, there were, as far as I could tell from an extremely thorough search of the premises, no floods in the basement. It was bone dry when I probed every inch of the foundation, didn't have anything from the home inspection, nada. It wasn't finished. and had any amount of asbestos tiles that were a problem, but in terms of finishing the mess and making livable space out of it, it was good to go.

In the first 4 years that I owned the house, there were no leakage issues in the basement. Not a one. So shortly after I moved in, we had it finished, carpeted, and used as the Man Cave. Put in a decent sized screen, loaded it up with a PS3, got the Web working down here and lo and behold, it's where the vast majority of FTT has been written.

Last year, the area got hit with a massive snowstorm, dumping some 25+ inches of snow in a week between two major storms, or more than we usually get in a year. This eventually manifested itself in frozen gutters melting over the pull-up rear access door, and voila, flood. Well, that well and truly sucked, but a once in a lifetime storm is just going to happen in your lifetime, and we reworked the gutter to make sure it didn't freeze again. We also replaced all of the carpet and more or less ate a $2K loss.

Two months ago, my eldest notices some moisture in the back of the room. Faulty pipe fitting on a pipe leading from the toilet. We take up the better part of a bucket of water from the ground. Kind of annoying, but a two-hour repair at most, and no structural issues. So.

Seven weeks ago, one of my regulars brought over a second AC unit to use during a poker game. It dumped water all over the area it was used in, and I wrote about that at the time. Not thrilling, but, um, well, I do own a dehumidifier and fans. So. Fixed in about five hours of work.

Four weeks ago, we have a strong week of storms and several inches of rain, all at once. Now the flooding is in three different spots, and takes about 72 hours of concerted effort to recover from. We replace the entire gutter system above the area to make it wider and longer, and chalk it up to me not cleaning out said system.

The day before the hurricane, I clean out the gutters for the whole house, and cross my fingers. The basement stays dry for the first six hours of the storm, then gives up around 2am, and the next 2 days are spent drying out in, well, all of the places we dried out before. This is, of course, a couple of weeks ago.

Five days ago, just before leaving for a Labor Day weekend off at Knoebels (a great old-school amusement park area in Elysburg, PA, which is to say the Poconos), my washing machine malfunctions and floods the draining sink. Well, joy. The contractor who I'm paying for his retirement (in, to be fair, slow and very reasonable steps) comes by, drains it with his thoroughly professional Shop-Vac, and shows me what I thought was the filter wasn't the filter, and here's how you clean that. So be it.

We go to Knoebels. We have a mostly great time; the eldest starts to enjoy wooden coasters, the younger shows a fondness for driving, we're up there with friends and family and getting lots of exercise and thrill rides in. When, around 9pm last night, the floods come in. Knoebels is littered with signs that show you how high flood waters have come in past years, but being in a situation where instant 4" high rivers develop under cloudburst thunder and lightning certainly brought the vacation to a thrilling close. It took us a long time to somewhat safely navigate our way to the car, then get back to the hotel, and more time after that trying to get laundry and possessions dry enough to take home and clean properly.

Which is, well, what we try to do this evening. But remembering my handyman's instructions and not wanting to run afoul of the filter problem on the washing machine, I open it up... and yuck, water running all over my floor. I tighten it back up and close the plate, start a load of laundry and hit the bathroom. I'm there for longer than anticipated -- let's just say flooding continued in other areas, and leave it at that -- and when I come out of the stall?

Yup, you guessed it. Flooding from the filter not being absolutely perfectly tied down before I started the load, so a fresh flooding situation and three hour cleanup.

Now, I'm not a particularly religious man, or someone with a strong interest in The Iliad. So if any of you are, please let me know how to appease JHVH-1's Noah issues, or what I need to do to pay off Poseidon. Because I'm really getting tired of using my freaking Shop-Vac this much, and I've already got enough jobs beyond full-time unpaid basement drainage engineer...

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