Not My First Rodeo…or Flood
April 22, 2013 by almostakiss
We’d been looking forward to a fun weekend and had just the opposite happen. Unless you call having your basement flooded fun. In that case, we had a blast! The best time ever. Not. We’ve lived here since Sept. 1995, long enough to have lived through this horrendous experience not once, not twice but probably a dozen times. I used to be able to recite the month and year of each flood we’d had here. That was until the 6th or 8th time and then I lost track. Now it doesn’t really matter how many times it’s happened. It just sucks.
We woke up to a flooded backyard
Nothing is as devastating as your first flood. Ours was the end of March 1996. I don’t believe in the theory that 3 bad things happen in a row but it would seem true in this case. Within a few short weeks that month, 3 life changing things happened. 1.) My hubby was demoted from the job we’d moved here for (at headquarters) to being back on the road. 2.) Our only dog at the time, Nookie, had to be put to sleep and I had to do it alone since hubby was gone. 3.) Our basement flooded while hubby was gone on the road. At the time, I’d lived 33 years of my life and had never lived in a home that had gotten a drop of water in the basement. It really wasn’t given a second thought when it rained. If anything, we had to worry about placing pots and pans all over because the roof leaked. At the time we were told it was a “hundred year flood”. It’s amazing how many of those we’ve had in the 17 years since. I wouldn’t wish flooding on anyone, it is just one of nature’s cruel tricks.
Instant swimming pool next door
We had moved here and stored a lot of stuff in the basement which is typical. Our house is only 1189 sq. feet so it’s small by a lot of standards. The first time it flooded, I was literally sick at everything we lost. I’d kept my favorite books and hubby had made 2 hutch type bookshelves which he hadn’t hung yet. They were just sitting on the floor until we decided where to put them. Paper doesn’t fare well in water, neither does cardboard. Wood isn’t much better. Along with the tears and gnashing of teeth, so much had to be thrown out. I’m not the type of person to throw things out so it hurt like 100 times as much. Stuffed animals, record albums, mementoes from childhood, pictures, so much more. Things that hold memories, things that can’t be replaced. I’m not going to inventory everything I lost then or now because it’s just too painful. Some things you don’t even know you had so you don’t really miss them. Other things you just want to hold onto even if you don’t look at them everyday. Then there’s the things you got rid of after the water damage and to this day you mourn their passing. I’m not even THAT material of a person, yet it still hurts.
Instant lake in other next door neighbor’s yard
Each time we have to deal with the hassle on top of the loss. There’s an emotional cost, a monetary cost and then the loss of time and effort to try to bring the space back to a state that won’t offend the senses when you descend the basement steps. It never gets any easier to have it flood. We’ve learned some things but apparently not others. Many times we’ve been warned by the weather forecast of “possible flooding” only to pick everything up off the floor or carry a ton of stuff upstairs only to have no water come in. Sure that’s a good thing but it still puts your nerves through the wringer for nothing. The worst floods we’ve had, we were given NO warning by the weatherman. There’s been times we’ve gotten a little water (an inch or two) and then times we’ve gotten 18″ or more. There’s been times we’ve caught it in time. Like once it was 9:30 pm and we saw the water start to come in so we carried everything upstairs in time.
Oakton St. in Des Plaines, IL 2 days after the flood–submerged car
The worst has to be when you lose appliances. Three times, we’ve had to replace our hot water heater. The last time it happened, we got a tankless hot water heater. Not because we wanted constant hot water or the latest thing but because it was the only unit available off the floor. It sits on the wall and it is the ONLY thing I don’t worry about when we flood. Of course it cost like $2,100 which I would never pay under other circumstances. It beats having to go without hot water for a week at a time and replacing it every few years. We’ve also had to replace the washing machine. We’ve been lucky that everything else has kept working. Sadly, this extra expense every few years keeps us from ever getting ahead.
Oakton St. in
2 days after the flood–underwater city
People suggest moving and we’ve thought about it. It just isn’t feasible for many reasons right now. A lot of our neighbors have invested in flood prevention systems that cost $10,000 or more and they still flood. It’s so depressing. We had a carpet installed with no pad many years ago in the basement. Everyone else in the neighborhood gets a nice thick pad and then has to tear it up and put it out at the curb every time it floods. Instead, we use our Bissel rug cleaner to suck up any remaining water in the carpet, then let it almost completely air dry and shampoo it. It’s worked well that way. The fact that the basement keeps flooding keeps me from ever wanting to invest more money in the house via improvements or remodeling. Hubby knows I want a bigger kitchen but spending $30,000 for that and still having a basement that floods is not the solution.
If our house was bigger, we woudn’t put ANYTHING down there. It would be that simple. Instead we still end up having things down there that get wet. We learned early on not to store things like extra toilet paper or paper towels, etc, down there. All we can do now is not get too upset when it happens and deal with it methodically.
Teens carrying kayak
This past Wednesday night’s flood was the first EVER that the ENTIRE Chicago area was hit. Usually it’s just in the Northern suburbs (by us) or the South suburbs or up by the WI state line or the Western suburbs. This time it hit everyone, everywhere. Even in the city, it got so bad they were rescuing people from their homes by boat. They closed the schools on Thursday and Friday. On Friday, I saw 2 teens carrying a kayak, probably out to ride the waves on the streets of Park Ridge! 🙂 The rivers have all reached historic heights and overflowed, closing streets in every town/city for days. Watching it on the news, it seems surreal. Even though misery loves company, it doesn’t lesson the pain knowing that others have flooded too. I’m including some photos. I would have taken more but we were told to stay off the roads and we obliged.
One man’s flood damage is another man’s garbage
We have to be thankful for small favors like having electricity this time. That makes life and cleaning up after a disaster much better. The last time it flooded was July 2011 and hubby was gone to Indiana for work. The day he left it happened and he was gone for 3 days and we were then without electricity for 3 days. I was home trying to get the water out of the basement and running to the gas station for gas to run the generator. We had just gotten it the month before when we’d lost power for 2 days. It’s only big enough to hook the freezer, refrigerator and one tv up to but it helped.
Thrown out across the street after flood
We were planning to go on our first mini-vacation of the year this week and cancelled it. We wanted to go away for 3 nights up to Green Bay, WI to celebrate my mom turning 92 tomorrow. Instead we’ll be making the most of it here. Too much to do yet to leave town plus this year’s Spring is so late getting here, I was afraid we’d freeze if we went now.
Carpeting ruined down the street
Our next door neighbor’s had twins about a month ago. I can remember when the nice young couple moved in–back in Aug. 2008. The reason it’s so easy for me to remember? Because we (and they) flooded right after they moved in…like the next day. What a sorry welcome. Now they’ve got 2 babies and have flooded again (also in between the 2 times but who’s counting). My most recent amusement is saying “Baby’s First _____”. I am speaking now of Baby singular, not plural and I don’t say this to anyone outside of hubby (and now the entire Internet). Like “Baby’s First Buffet”, “Baby’s First Leaf Blower” and now “Baby’s First Flood.” I guess you had to be there. It’s only funny if your sense of humor hasn’t been drowned in a flood. 😉