Did you hear that Massachusetts got some rain a week ago? Like, a wicked lot. More than 10 inches in 72 hours. Anyway, I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures, especially if you’ve been taking them in your own basement and possibly also your yard.
Living on a very steep hill, we got off easy—the water level in our basement never got higher than three inches. Whoever built our house nearly 100 years ago had the foresight to cut a hole in the cellar floor with a drainage pipe that runs underground, down the hillside, and through a retaining wall that opens out to the street. In fact, I remember getting into my car in the pouring rain and noticing how much water was gushing out of that pipe. I briefly wondered where that pipe was draining from, since I had never seen any water come out of it before, then promptly directed my attention elsewhere. Like to my automatic umbrella that kept spontaneously opening inside the car.
Later that evening, when the fire department arrived to pump out our next-door neighbor’s basement (apparently there’s some sort of safety hazard with regard to rising water and the ancient furnaces and water heaters the old houses in these parts have), that’s when it all came together. That’s when we had the pleasure of discovering the raging river right under our feet. Unfortunately, that aforementioned drainage hole is located in the highest area of the basement, elevation-wise, in the corner furthest from the actual leak, and so the whole basement had to fill up before any actual drainage occurred. That is, until Husband and our neighbor busted in some temporary walls and ripped out an old shower stall to access a closer drain. Then the water level started going down despite the fact that water continued shooting in like a fire hose through a hole in the foundation all night long.
One week and 20 industrial-sized garbage bags later, the basement is mostly dry and the damage wasn’t that bad. It’s not a finished basement and most of the important stuff was up off the floor. The things that got wet and ruined were mostly boxes full of crap intended for the trash or a yard sale anyway, old insulation and wallboard we were never going to use, and a couple of rodents that appeared to have met their maker long before things got all biblical.
The basement needed some serious help, anyway. Some demolition, some organization, some decontamination now that both cats have passed on. Maybe now I can get to know my basement a little better instead of avoiding it at all costs. Maybe we can organize a real workshop for Husband. Perhaps cordon off an area that the kids can use as a clubhouse. Maybe there will even be something it in for me? Something besides laundry. What it would be, I don’t know.
Wait a minute. What do we have here?
A little closet-sized room. With three sides exposed to the cold, cold ground. And a door.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?