We all say we want to be independent, but I’ve had to wrestle with that problem, and in a way eat my words. One Thursday morning I helplessly watched water flood the lower floor of my tri-level.
Struck numb and dumb, I called my neighbor, Julie, who immediately went into “Holy cow! We’d better do something quick! Call the plumber.” I did, and I lucked out. Dave, the plumber, (bless him) was on his way. I muttered, “Thank you, God.” Funny how I got religious then. Water covered the family room, the bathroom, the utility room, and was still pouring out the crawlspace. I watched a clothes basket float by. Not good.
Another friend arrived with a wet vac–water still rising. In shock I called my son, knowing he was loaded with majorly important work projects and wondered what he would do. Within an hour he was here. Dave had connected a pump through the window of the utility room. Moveable furniture was raised, and everyone was emptying wet vacs.
My sump pump had died of a cracked pipe. And the battery-operated backup thing couldn’t handle the water. The rain stopped, but one look at the skies and I was literally “dead in the water” if it came down again. I was fortunate. Believe it or not, Dave’s father located a sump pump and spent almost two hours driving to get it. Would we beat the next downpour? You bet we did. I owe Dave’s father a free dinner or two.
I cannot possibly relate the blood, sweat, and tears of that day; I hardly remember everything. It all mushes into a big blur, but by 5:00 p.m. we were pumped out, the junk in the crawlspace sat in the garage (several cold wet hours on our knees spent dragging and shoving basic crap), a new sump pump was miraculously installed, and my legs felt encased in concrete.
I found out an interesting fact that I will share with you for your future reference: insurance does not cover a broken sump pump unless you have a special rider. Another blow, and as I listened to the giant fans, I knew this was just the beginning of the story. Bit by little bit, I would learn about mildew and mold spores and that my lovely wooden floor and walls and, yes, even the insulation would be gutted to a concrete shell.
I discovered disasters have a pattern to them. The learning experience starts right after the flood. I checked on the Internet for products, people, and processes. One night feeling sorry for myself and quite alone, I broke up a bit and cried. I really wanted someone to do it all for me. Being independent has some sharp, dark places. You know what I discovered? It was all part of the process.
Where am I now? Rugs are at the cleaners, my living room and dining areas are jammed with couches and tables and everything under the sun. I believe the house is free of mold. Luckily my major appliances (furnace, etc.) suffered no harm. Amen. New insulation is up, and the dumpster is gone. I progress one step back to normal. I know I’ll have the thrill of drywall dust. Heck, my house needed a spring cleaning anyway, but I prefer cleaning and painting under more relaxed conditions.
I called this a learning experience. It really is more of a continuum of self discovery. I needed the support of family, friends; but no one wants a steady diet of flood talk. Most of the time I was busy learning what to do next. My living quarters are quite reduced, and it’s okay.
In fact, I’m okay and rather proud of myself. Young or old, a person has to do what she has to do.