The saying is normally, “When it rains, it pours.” Except when it snows. Because, apparently, arctic vortex weather and snow is worse. Much, much worse.
J and I got home from work late last night. After leaving the office, we popped over to the local pub and had a drink and dinner with some friends in town from one of our offices in Wisconsin. We don’t get to see them all that often, so we took advantage of the time we had to have a beer, share some stories, and get a few laughs in. Ah fate, you cruel mistress…you were truly getting the last laugh.
J and I got home around 7:30pm. I walked into the house from the garage, and IMMEDIATELY noticed the sound of rushing water…on par with a large waterfall or a rapidly rushing river. I turned to J (standing behind me) and was all, “do you hear that?!” Obviously, standing behind me and still in the garage, he did not. Then, it clicked! The sound of rushing water was coming FROM OUR BASEMENT!
I dropped my shit and flew downstairs…only to see that the entire ceiling was missing from a large section of the room, and the basement was flooded. Keep in mind, this is a finished basement, so our chairs and pool table were standing in about 3-4 inches of standing water. Normally, my crisis mode is “ZOMG, we’re all going to DIE!!!” but apparently the crisis gods were with me last night, and I immediately moved into task mode. I ran through the basement (barely avoiding busting my ass as I slid on flooded tiles with my non-traction UGG boots…which are now ruined) and turned off the water. Ripped open the door, and started pushing water out to the patio with a giant broom that I’d found in the utility room where the main water shut-off was located. Unfortunately, in my panic addled mind, I didn’t realize that I was effectively creating an ice skating rink on our patio…but oh well…details be damned!
Meanwhile, J was upstairs, frantically calling everyone we could think of. The insurance agent, the plumber, the Pope. Hell…no one was exempt from our frantic dialing! It was like drunk dialing gone bad! I whipped out my iPhone (seriously, how did we survive apocalyptic snow-mageddons prior to smart phones?) to search for the closest emergency water extraction company, and frantically tried to explain to the person that 1) yes, this was indeed an emergency, and 2) yes, I realize that a blue million people are also in this situation, because apparently -40 degree F. temperatures aren’t good for water pipes. Oh, and yes…I could wait until tomorrow for someone to show up. It was honestly the best they could do, so we just went with it. I kept brushing out the water (and thickening that ice rink) and Jamie ran to Lowe’s before they closed to get something to do a quick fix on the pipe work that had burst (the plumber also couldn’t show until the next day).
After I’d done all I could do with the broom, it was time for the shop-vac to make an appearance. Thankfully, it’s a wet/dry vac, so it sucked up the water. For FIVE LONG HOURS I sucked up water and debris…constantly filling the shop-vac tank and emptying it outside (again, after nearly busting my ass the first time as I slid around on the ice rink I’d inadvertently made outside. At least this time I was wearing my hiking boots, or I’d have been screwed). While I was busy being the vacuum queen, J was fixing the pipe, and then ripping down all the soggy drywall that hadn’t been so heavy it had collapsed on its own.
Around 1am we finally did as much as we could. J had fixed the pipe “enough” so that we could take a quick shower each, and then shut the water back down. Which was a good thing, because not only was I covered in drywall dust, but also fiberglass insulation fibers, so I was itching like a 1st grader covered in Chicken Pox…and Eczema…and Poison Ivy. All in one. I mean, come on! When you clean up disaster sites, don’t you also wear a spaghetti strap tank-top and running shorts? I do. Because I’m brilliant like that.
This morning, I woke up, hoping it was all a dream. The minute I opened the door to the basement, I quickly realized that this was, in fact, reality. And…my entire basement STUNK of stale water/air. Ugh! So…hopefully, the emergency water extraction team (hell…screw team, I need a freaking battalion) can help out with the moisture, because if not, we’re going to have serious mold issues. It’s their profession though, so I’m going to leave it to them…I’m sure they know what they’re doing.
But hey…what’s a post without photos, right?? So here you go! Keep in mind, this was AFTER 5 hours of intensive clean-up from us. About 75% of the drywall from the walls and ceiling is already in the dumpster by this point, but since it was now full, we just left the rest on the ground for the water extraction team to deal with. We’re awesome like that.
Wish us luck! We’re definitely going to need it.