Water related catastrophies have been a big topic in the news lately. Hurricanes, flooding, ships stranded at sea...and waking up to almost two feet in my basement.
Let me begin by emphasizing that in no way was my disaster as bad as what victims of natural or man-made catastrophies go through, including those of recent Sandy and the stranded cruise ship. My situation could have been so much worse and I'm grateful that it wasn't. No complaints here, but I did want to let all of you know why I disappeared long after January ended, and hopefully save anyone with a sump pump in their basement from dealing with a similar mess.
If you live along the east coast, you probably recall the heavy, flooding rains and high wind storms that blew through that last week of January. I woke up the morning it had tapered off and smelled something funky. It smelled like electrical burn, but we hadn't lost power. All the lights were on, so in my rush to pack lunches and get the kids to the bus, I brushed it off as lingering smells from dinner the night before (note: I'm not that bad of a cook lol). I saw the kids off and was about to hit the writing, but a nagging voice in my head told me to check it out. Fine. I figured maybe one outlet shorted from lightening or something. I started down the basement steps to check the fuse box and...was met with what turned out to be 21 inches of water. The entire basement was a pool.
I didn't touch the water, given the electrical burn smell. No one could, so the power company had to shut power to the house in order for the water clean up crews, plumber etc...to do their work. This meant no heat and the wind chill was single digit those few nights. We had no power, no house phone, no internet (all went under), no septic, no heat, and no water (we're on well) for days. The flood had caused our water pump tank to fall over and break. The heating elements on the water heater had shorted and melted. The furnace for the main floor...same thing. We got the heat going upstairs by the second night which helped tremendously. The rest of the week we used jugs of water. I'll spare you the details. We're still cleaning the basement weeks later...but it could have been worse. To make a long story short, we survived.
MY WARNING TO ALL:
1. Check your insurance plan. Many have sump pumps listed as an exclusion. Ours denied the claim. In fact, take a sec to read all your plan's exclusions. You might be surprised.
2. Get a quality battery back-up installed if you have a sump pump. It's so worth the cost.
3. Watch your back. These water clean-up companies charge more than plumbers, electricians and shoot, even doctors, combined. Their clients are in desperate situations. Do what you can to avoid the situation.
4. Don't store anything in cardboard boxes. We had a mix of plastic bins and old boxes of things from way back. Take the time to put everything in plastic bins...before it gets wet.
Thankfully, our basement isn't finished, but it is full. We use it as if it's finished...treadmill, toys, bookshelves full of books from our college days, an extra fridge and tons of things in storage. Some of what was lost was sentimental, but again, no complaints because it could have been worse, especially with that electrical burn smell. At least I still have my house and family. We are fine. I really feel for those who have lost everything to natural disasters and fires.
Anyway, I'm getting back in the swing of things. Last week, we had the stomach flu and strep go through the house. Yep, when it rains, it floods (pun intended). I'll try to pop by blogs later this week and I have an interview on Monday with author Nicole Flockton. I hope to see all of you around soon!