October 4, 2005

Après la pluie, le beau temps

Sunday morning dawned fairly calmly. Matt went and rented a carpet cleaner at the earliest opportunity, and he had just finished and brought the cleaner back to the ground floor as the incident with Laura occurred.

Emily was just finishing a snack, around 10:30, and Laura was cheerfully bouncing around on the floor. Jumping up and down, actually. She stumbled, fell forward onto her hands and knees, and I heard a distinct "snap". She immediately started screaming/crying and calling for Daddy (not typical behavior for her for a stumble!) Fortunately, Daddy was nearby; she was soothed and asked where she hurt. "Ankle hurt", and pointed to the ball of her right foot. We took a look (she had on footie pajamas), and indeed, the area was already swollen.

Matt got her to sit still while he put on some ice (a major miracle! Glad she loves to read...) and gave her some Motrin, while I called the doctor's office. There were no bones sticking out or anything, and she could take a few steps before refusing to walk, but that snap worried me, so I wanted to check in with a nurse at least. When they were able to get back to me around noon--the nurses don't come in until 11 on Sundays, though I could have paged a doctor--they said it could be a ligament, or a bruised joint, probably not a break as there was no obvious disfigurement or bruising, she could walk, and she hadn't been coming from any height, but offered to x-ray if we were worried. But the nurse also mentioned that, considering where it was, there wasn't much they could do for her that we weren't already doing, even if she did break something. By then, we had established that the ice had reduced the swelling a bit, so we decided just to wait and see. I'm happy to report that she is still limping quite a bit, but the swelling is down and it's definitely better than on Sunday.

(And while I would NEVER wish her pain, it has subdued some of her more dangerous climbing tendencies temporarily; also she's been going to sleep amazingly fast. Pain is wearying. Poor kid.)

So, Matt got her down for a nap and went to take the carpet cleaner back and dash to the store for the week; dashing because his folks were coming down around 3 to celebrate his birthday. Matt had been gone about twenty minutes, when I noticed it was raining somewhat hard; not a gully washer, but hard enough that I figured I could see what might have happened to flood the basement Friday.

As I mentioned, the last time we had this problem was in May, when a veritable deluge soaked the city, and many storm drains couldn't handle the runoff. Our front downspouts "V" together underground in front of our house, and drain into the street (the back ones just drain onto the ground, away from the house). So, when the street floods, the downspouts can't drain down, and the water backs up and, in one case, overflows. Sadly, this happens right at one corner of our "spider closet", and some of that water (we're talking about a LOT of water) finds its way into the closet, down onto the floor, across it, down the sill, and into Laura's nursery.) So that's what happened in May, and I thought might??? have happened on Friday. But there were no reports of flooding elsewhere, so we thought maybe there was something going on with the gutters (even though we have gutter guards; we do live under a maple.)

So, it's raining, and I went over to look out the window to see what I could see. The downspout was, in fact, overflowing, although the street was in no way flooded. Hmm. Help! I called on our wonderful neighbor, Tamara, to come hold Emily while I braved the rain (I could have just set her down, but Laura was asleep, and already using the monitor. Did I want to wake up Laura (if Emily cried in her room), after the morning she had had? I did not!) Happily, Tamara was home and willing to drop everything and come over.

I went out into the elements, armed with a coat, a big plastic garbage bag, and a BBQ skewer to see what I could do. (wouldn't that make a great first line for a novel???) The coat was to keep me somewhat dry, since I was still wearing jammies. The bag was to wrap around the downspout strategically, to direct most of the water towards the yard and away from the basement (that worked, by the way, at least until better help arrived.) The skewer was to poke into the downspout and the outlet in the street, in case the blockage was nearby and easily dislodged. No such luck, but at least it eliminated one possibility. The coat didn't work so well, either, since it was now really pouring, but at least I hadn't showered yet so I didn't care that much.

I returned, poured my soul out to Tamara, and she kindly said, "Why don't I just take Emily next door for a half an hour or so, so you can shower and have some calm time?" (or words to that effect). I gratefully accepted, and got to shower away the showers. About the time I was done, Matt had returned with the groceries (having been briefed by cell phone on the issues), put the perishables away, and suited up to battle the elements. By the time I went and retrieved Emily, Laura had woken up (unhappily, of course), but Ross had come over to help Matt; he brought a short "snake" with him. Tamara and Ross's daughter, Molly, came over to run interference with the girls, too, and enjoy watching the men in the rain.

The "snake" found no impediments between the house and street, but it couldn't stretch the whole distance; I figure, best case scenario is that when the street flooded in May, some debris was pushed up into the pipe (possible, since the water level was well over the sidewalk and into our yard). Worst case scenario is that a root has broken the underground pipe, or something else has, and that's why it's blocked. I was already thinking of calling the people who fixed my mother's storm drains on Monday, but now I'm not so sure I will (keep reading).

About the time the men finished doing what they could, Matt's folks arrived. "What they could", consisted of disconnecting the downspout from the pipe leading underground, and connecting it to some flexible plastic gutter pipe we had left over from a project on one of the back gutters. Now the water was directed into our yard, which has a nice slope towards the street. An excellent, and very workable, solution.

We chatted with Pat and Bill for a while, and Matt got to enjoy his goodies. Among other things, his mom had found an old baby quilt of his for us to enjoy. It had Pooh characters on it. This explains a lot, to me at least. ;-)

Matt finally got to shower around 4, which he very much wanted to do since we planned to go out to eat.

By the time he was done, it was raining hard again. We stopped talking to watch, and Matt noticed the street starting to fill up a little. He went out to make sure the storm sewer on the corner of East and 14th wasn't blocked (leaves tend to collect there), and came back. More rain. The street began to flood! My car and Bill's car were both on the street, and looking like they were in imminent danger of getting wet inside. Matt got keys, moved both cars out of harm's way, and came back. Still flooding. At this point, I was immensely, HUGELY glad that our downspout had been redirected. (The basement stayed dry as a bone, at least on that side).

Since our cars were saved, we figured we could still get out to dinner, so we began "gathering weapons and ammo" as we call it (diaper bags and little girl gear). Matt came upstairs from the basement saying that the central "emergency overflow" drain--across the basement from the spider closet, near the back of the house in fact--seemed to be backing up. Ack! Call Noah! Build an Ark!

As it turned out, it was just the usual water we get; when it really pours, we get about a cup of water that runs in behind our washer and trickles a few feet over to the central drain. Mostly, I don't care; it's seldom, there's nothing that important that it could hurt, and it just drains right back out across the cement. Sunday, we got about THREE cups of water, and the drain just couldn't handle it all at once. But it did, eventually, drain away. So, no flooding from below, which was my fear when Matt gave the initial report. Phew!

We successfully got to dinner, ate, came back, and finally got to rest. Checked high and low, and no more water inside anywhere. In retrospect, I am so happy that the pipes got blocked when they did. We may put off fixing them; if the street continues to flood from time to time, which we really can't control, and our gutters do drain to the street, the basement WILL flood again. This way, we're pretty safe, which I much prefer. Talk about a cloud with a silver lining....Hence the title of the post; if you don't know French, it roughly translates to, "After the rain, the good weather."

1 comment:

Tami said...

Aahhh the joys of homeownership. ;)

Thank you for continuing to write in your blog, I enjoy it. If only I had a few more minutes to write in mine...