Sunday, July 03, 2005

Shakin' It Up - 1

I can't believe all the things that have happened in the last week and a half.

First, the deck building project is coming along as well as can be expected, considering the other bits of news to follow. The fence is mostly up, aside from a few boards that need to be ripped before they will fit. ('Ripping', for the uninitiated, means running the whole board lengthwise through the table saw to narrow it.)(This squirrel AIN'T touching the table saw.)

The lower deck is taking shape, but still needs joists and planking. The upper deck by the back door is finished, albeit without a set of stairs to it. The cedar planking smells wonderful in the rain.

Did I say 'smells wonderful IN THE RAIN', you ask? Oh yes. Yes I did.

The second week of deck building started off well - two hot clear days, with successful runs to the bakery for chocolate croissants, and no industrial accidents. Then Wednesday at 3:30 a.m. it started to rain. And rain, and rain, and rain. We had 3 inches of rain between 3:30 and noon, and basements all over the City flooded. Including ours. Quelle drag.

City Park, our neighbourhood, is known for having leaky, heaving basements due to being so close to the River. We were counting ourselves lucky because many of our neighbours had basement floods 3-4 times in the previous two weeks, and we didn't have anything. Aside from water in every post-hole we dug for the fence, if you remember. This time, though, the water table just couldn't get any more saturated, and we ended up with a lake in the backyard and two inches of rainwater in our basement.

Jim immediately went outside to try and bank dirt against the foundation, and avert the water away, but to no avail. The whole back yard was under water (including our sad little deck foundation). And no one is ever ready for rainwater in the basement, right? Ours is an unfinished basement, but we still have stacks of crap all over the floor waiting to be culled and organized. Most of it was wet. After four hours of pushing water towards the drain with a broom, and running around trying to avert disaster, we decided that the only thing to do was - my favourite solution to everything - SHOPPING.

Off we went to Peavey Mart, where we purchased rubber boots for Floyd (deck-builder turned emergency-plumber), a heavy duty drying fan, two sets of metal shelving to organize the crap, 30 feet of hose, and the last sump pump that Peavey Mart had. Were we ever lucky. I happened to have a shopping cart, and we just got the sump pump into it before the other shoppers started circling desperately and staring at it. And what a wise purchase that was.

When we got it home, we decided to look under those boards in the basement floor that we never quite got around to looking under - there is a rectangular hole in the cement floor that is the size of a bathtub down there, and it was full of water (and a few rusty iron pipes). All the pushing water around didn't do anything to clear the basement; new water would just fill the void. But dropping the sump pump into this 'bathtub' (I always wanted a second bathtub!) immediately took a lot of water out and cleared the whole basement. Jim spent the rest of the day hovering over the sump pump, nurturing it to success.

I had to take all the computer equipment apart and move it upstairs (alas, without Internet access for days - no blogging outlet for the boredom!), put together all the metal shelving, and drag soggy crap around listlessly. All in all, a very tiring day for two people who would rather be finishing their deck project.

The next day, the newspaper made us feel like we got off lucky. Lots of stories of neighbourhoods where the sewer system couldn't handle the water runoff and basements were full of sewage. I'll take two inches of clear rainwater over four feet of sewage any day.

Sprout is awake from his nap now and is insisting on playing on the computer - the downside to the computer being upstairs. More later.


Blogger liz said...

I think people should have to sign an affadavit that they read this account (or similar) before signing the mortgage papers for a house.

5:14 pm  

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