Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A game of what's that sound?

10 pm last night: Mike and I retire to our bedroom for some, you know, alone time. We firmly close our door, secure in the knowledge that both children have white noise machines on in their rooms (BEST INVENTION EVER) and are blissfully ignorant of any sounds about to be made in the house.

Some time later: Our door re-opens. I want to use our upstairs bathroom to finish getting ready for bed, so Mike heads downstairs to use the lower restroom. As I'm washing my face, I hear...

10:45 (?) pm: "Sweetie!"

I panic. Why is he stage whispering up to me when he could wake Anne?! We all know that waking Anne is a crime punishable by death.


"Something is wrong with the sump pump, it's making a funny noise. I'm going down to investigate."

And see, we had just been reveling in the driving rain outside, saying how romantic it was. It *is* romantic, if you have a working sump pump in your basement. Oop, getting ahead of myself...

10:46 pm: I hear Mike in the basement swearing. This is a very bad sign.

10:55 pm: Mike comes upstairs.

"The sump pump is broken, I can't get it to restart, and there is water pouring into the basement."


We both rush downstairs. Mike heads down before me and when he reaches the bottom I can hear a horrible *sloshing* sound. I quickly see that the water is about ankle deep in one half of the basement and is stealthily making it's way across the floor. This is very, very bad. Mike works to get stuff up off the floor and attempts to bail some water while I call the hardware stores to see if anybody is still open. They aren't.

11:05 pm: Meanwhile, the water bailing in the basement is going poorly. Our ancient laundry tub can't drain the water as fast as it is coming in. It's still raining.

11:10 pm: Mike mumbles something about a submersible pump and calls his dad and a few friends. Nobody has aforementioned submersible pump. We come to the terrible, but inevitable, conclusion that we're going to have to call an emergency plumber, and we can't imagine that's going to be cheap.

11:15 pm: We call the emergency plumber. They charge $79 to come out, and then of course whatever the repair and labor costs. And I imagine they charge double their usual daytime rate. They say they'll call us back with an ETA.

11:30 pm: Mike is downstairs torturing himself by bailing water. We only have 1 bucket (we're so lame in emergencies), so I'm up in the kitchen waiting for the plumber to call, sipping chamomile tea and praying a rosary. 

Near midnight: Mike comes up to tell me that the rain has stopped and the water is receding a bit. We check the local radar and find that the storm has passed and we're not expecting any further rain tonight. When Mike goes back to the basement, the water has completely receded to the sump pump well.

Personally, I credit the power of my prayers. :)

The plumber still hasn't called with an ETA, and we make the decision to cancel the request. With the rain stopped, If we can just make it to 6 am when Home Depot opens, Mike can get and install a new sump pump in the morning.

Shortly after midnight: Mike goes down to secure the basement for the night and make sure everything is a-ok. I head upstairs to find...

12:05 am: Anne is crying.

*long suffering sigh*

When I retrieve her for a cuddle session, she pushes me away and throws her stuffed animal.


12:30 am: Anne is unhappily back in her crib but going to sleep, and we are finally in bed trying not to worry and fall asleep.

6:20 am: Mike wakes and heads right to Home Depot. I get Henry up and ready myself for work. I have to call in for the morning since I need to wrangle Anne for Mike to install the pump, but I'll be able to go in in the afternoon.

7:25 am: Henry heads to school, unhappy that he is missing all the excitement.

8 am: Mike returns from a second trip to Home Depot for an additional part. He commences sump pump work.

9 am: We have a working sump pump and a dry basement.



  1. Too funny, okay, not really funny.. But our sump pump is only semi-working, so I go downstairs and plug it in 4 or 5 times during the day. I totally feel your pain.

  2. Oh my! This is the reason why Mississippi doesn't have basements .... soggy weather combined with high water table and clay layers which move during storms equal no basements. My parents walls would separate at corners because our foundation would shift during storms. Ive never had to deal with basements so I can only imagine. I have had to wade through thigh high water to get to class though and have had to move my car to higher ground b/c of the flooding.


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