It started raining Friday morning. And it rained. And then it rained. And then it really rained.
In the wee early hours of Saturday morning the wind became frenzied. An endless whistle punctuated by roaring gusts. The kind of wind that either mutes all other sounds or distorts them into something ominous.
Is that the trees moving? Or is there an army of ninjas crawling on the roof?
Our backyard and the suburban crap sprawl beyond it inclines toward the house. Not the smartest groundbreaking move but it’s really fine as long as you have a french drain around the foundation.
We do not have a french drain.
We do however have a lovely lakeside view.
From the basement you feel as though you can reach out and touch the lovely lake.
Our basement flooded the first spring we lived here. That’s how we learned about french drains (and the lack of) and sump pumps.
The backyard lake sweeps toward the foundation into the well in the laundry room. The sump pump handles the flow and spits it back out.
Unless the ground is saturated to the consistency of cottage cheese. Unless it keeps raining and raining and raining.
Then the sump pump needs help.
After our inaugural flood we bought an industrial type pump and yards of hose and yards of extension cord.
My son pumps the lake before it gets to the well. The well is grateful and keeps the water from entering the laundry room.
It is a fine makeshift system that requires minimal manual assistance. Just position the pump correctly, lay down the hose and plug it in.
Then the power goes out. Then the dark creeps in. And the wind picks up.
My son bailed the water out of the well and into buckets. Then he heaved the buckets up and out the little window.
Armed with the biggest broom ever made I stood outside the little window. I pushed the giant puddles away from the house and toward the slight dip in the concrete that would send it out to the driveway.
Not since we put up the Christmas tree together has there been such camaraderie.
”You have to push faster! The water is coming in too fast for me to bail”
“I’m pushing as fast as I can!!”
“Don’t shout at me”
“I’m not shouting. The freaking wind is so loud I can’t hear myself think”
”Well you’re shouting”
There is a huge crashing sound and something flies by my head. A giant tree limb lands at my feet and does a dance before moving on.
”What are you doing out there?”
“What? There are ducks out there?”
He continues to bail. I continue to sweep. We are just barely staying ahead of the water.
A clank. A sickening tearing sound. A huge bang.
The wind has lifted the latch of the pool ladder. The ladder crashes open to the ground.
I had been standing there a moment earlier. Thankfully I had taken a second to drape myself across the BBQ. My ankle was swelling and the muscles in my back were burning.
”What the hell was that?” says the voice from the basement.
“The ladder fell down”
“The pool ladder”
“Can you latch it up again?”
“Why!? In case some child wanders by in the dark during a freaking hurricane and decides to swim in a covered pool?”
Silence from the basement.
Even deafening wind can not drown out the sarcasm of my last nerve.
Three hours and then … let there be light.
The pump started up. I could hear Jeffrey thanking God and Jersey Central Power & Light.
I don’t know how to even begin to describe the conditions under which the utility people and the police and fire people have been working. Thank You!!
We lost the sweet little tree I’ve been mothering. I had hoped she was getting better but her roots were too weak and the ground was too wet and the wind was too strong. She showed her appreciation by just missing the pool, the shed, and my neighbor’s fence. She fell gracefully.
It’s still raining …