Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Proof that I can hold down the fort

Today started out as a totally great day. Jackson slept in until 8:00, a nice morning rain watered my lawn, and I got to hang out with good friends all afternoon. Even better, my baking-goddess friend perfected a cereal bar recipe that I just couldn't get to work. We were off to the store to buy some more dried fruit when I noticed it was still overcast and I mentioned that it would be nice if we could get just a little bit more rain so I wouldn't have to water my plants again tomorrow. If only I would have seen the radar:

So, this is now,10pm. The rain started 6 hours ago, so it's looked like this all night.

Driving home from our errands was slow, going 30 mph on the highway because it was just raining so hard. We exited, came to the intersection right close to my house, and noticed that the stoplights weren't working, the gas station and pharmacy were all dark inside and it hit me-- the power is out. And immediately I began to stress out.

See, we have a basement that has suffered significant water damage in the past. We have since cleaned it all up, poured a new basement wall, and replaced the sump pump-- a sump pump that is run by electricity. We once talked about having a back up system, but it was forgotten and didn't  make the list. So, I come home, immediately go to the basement to find that our sump pump is full of water.

For those unfamiliar with sump pumps- it's a hole we have in the basement. Water from around the house flows into it, and when the levels get high the sump pump turns on and "flushes" the water out of the house. Think along the lines of a toilet. But in my case, the pump wasn't going to turn on and the water was rising steadily. And soon enough, the basement would begin to flood.

First thing I do is call Derek and we decide that I should go down and empty as much water as I can into some buckets that we can dump outside. Of course, we don't really have buckets just lying around so I gathered up several trashcans and began scooping. I was only really keeping the water at bay because water was flowing in just as fast as I was scooping. Derek is 45 minutes away from being home- CRAP!!! So, I call Dad.
Dad: "You don't have a battery back up!?" 
Me: "Uhm. No, we never did that"
Dad: "You should."
Me: .......
Dad: "I think I have one of my generators left in your garage still" (from when he helped remodel the house)
Me: "Okay, what does it look like?"
I go to the garage
Dad: "It's black and red, it's pretty big"
Me: Looking around the garage. Find a sticker and read it, "Do not use generator inside it will kill you in minutes... Okay, I think I found it"
Dad: "Okay, you'll need to blah, blah, blah and then hook up an extension cord from the generator to the sump pump."
Me: "Hhmm. Okay. I am gonna see how far Derek is to see if he might be able to do this."
Nope. He's still 20 minutes away based on non-rainy traffic. Can't wait. I try my father-in-law. Nope. He's getting Chipotle for dinner since they don't have power either. Can't wait for him either. But, we ask for him to pick up dinner for us too. Okay, so it's just me. I can do this, right!?

I dig the thing out and drag it outside. Thank goodness for the step by step directions, including pictures, as I try to figure it out. It still took me 15 minutes in the pouring down rain but eventually I got the fuel valve turned on, the power switch on, made sure it was choked and had to pull the start cord thing about 7 times- and it roars up... and dies. I switched the choke to run mode, so I don't really know what happened. So, I curse to myself and try it all again and it takes another 10 minutes and 15 pulls of the cord to get her up and running. I run downstairs to see the water even with the basement floor, the sump pump kick on and then the water level begins going down. HECK YES!!! And then, Derek walks in the door.

I won't lie, I am pretty impressed with myself. When big things come up, your mind just focuses on the problem and I did well- but then, after it was done- I was just exhausted. I didn't really know I was so stressed out. But I just could not let the basement flood- not after all of the work we've put into it.

Woo hoo! I did it- even though I looked like a drowned rat. Why am I smiling?!?

So, the power came on about four hours later and the sump pump is down there doing it's job all on it's own. We've added a new thing to add to the list: organize plan of action for when we lose power in the midst of a thunder storm. Thank goodness for the Chipotle the in-laws brought over- and thank goodness for my friend HanNah who was here to entertain a whiny Jackson while I magnificantly saved the day. :)

Though it would have been nice had Derek been here and he could have saved the day. It's kind of an encouragement to know that I stand a chance of managing this house on my own while he's gone!


  1. Great pic- and yes, you can hold down the fort!!!

    And welcome to TMC!!!

  2. Oh lady, you are a ROCK STAR! I love that picture, but I love even more that you figured the entire thing out by yourself in the middle of chaos! So incredibly impressed!

  3. OH no! We finished our basement and that summer it flooded 3 times. I am totally impressed by your skills.


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