After our basement flooded five years ago, I had a waterproofing company come here to give us an estimate. It was one of those scary large numbers that one thinks long and hard about before going through with the project. We ultimately decided not to spend the money on it because as the waterproofing guy said to us, “how often does a storm with three days of solid rain happen — every 30 years?” Yeah, he’s right, we reasoned — we’ll be living somewhere else by then anyway. Our house was only a few years old and it is perched up on a little hill. Basements aren’t supposed to flood in brand new houses. This was just a fluke. The chances of our basement flooding again were slim to none. So, we didn’t invest in any type of waterproofing nor did we even install a sump pump. We instead acquired this dinky temporary pump that we kept handy “just in case.” Fast forward three years later and there we were ripping out the carpet, and drying out the basement with giant fans. This time we bought a bigger and better pump, and figured we were well prepared for that “rare”, “every 30 years” storm that now seems to happen every three years. Fast forward again to a few days ago….heavy rains and 70 mile an hour winds. A Nor’easter as they call it up here but as my friend in Florida said to me, “Hmm, sounds vaguely like a HURRICANE!” She was right! Huge oak trees demolished cars and houses and of course knocked out many power lines, including the one that supplied our house. It was frustrating but almost comical to drive around the block and see our neighbors with lights, heat and cable TV, having parties no less — while we were living like the Amish, brushing our teeth by candlelight. All of that would have been fine, except for one thing. No electricity meant no sump pump…uh oh. Did we not learn from storm #1 or storm #2? No, we did not. Because with those storms, our power remained ON. With this storm, our power remained OFF for 30 hours, which was about ten hours too long for our basement. We tried, desperately, to keep that water out. Our bucket brigade started Saturday night, when we put the kids to work too, carrying bucket after bucket of water from the sump pump “well” over to the bathtub. My husband and I kept up this effort until 1am, way past our bedtime. We woke up to a miracle: the basement was still dry. We thought we had won but we knew more rain was coming. We continued again on Sunday emptying buckets of water for hours at a time, while taking breaks to call Home Depot, plumbers, anyone who might have a generator. Finally, a plumber came to our rescue on Sunday afternoon but alas, it was about two hours too late. Our basement rug was now soaked but we bought that generator anyway — paying waaay above market price. But, we didn’t care. Once we heard that baby’s engine chugging away and saw the water flying out from the hose, we still had a chance to save our basement. And save it we did, along with our remaining sanity. Who knew a person could love an inanimate object — a generator — so much? The sun is shining today, the fans are still going strong in our basement and the rug is almost dry. To celebrate, my husband and I went to look at a house for sale. On waterfront property. For real. No, we still did not learn.
Okay, so here’s my first post….I have a dead Siamese Fighting fish (aka Beta) floating in its bowl in my kitchen. He has been there for about two weeks now. Yes, it’s hideous and just plain gross. And no, I don’t have attachment issues like that guy on Jerry Seinfeld’s new show “The Marriage Ref” who insisted on stuffing his dead dog. Believe me, I didn’t want this fish in the first place. We have a cute, cuddly Labradoodle so why would we need a slimy fish? Well, because my son begged of course. And then my other son begged. So, we came home from the fish store with two Siamese Fighting fish in two separate bowls because if you put them in the same bowl, apparently they will kill each other. I can’t remember when their day of adoption was but I think it was some time in late Fall 2009 so as far as I’m concerned they’ve lived a good, long life for fish. They both survived Christmas vacation when we left them here with unclean water and no food for a week. So, when we left again for February break, I did what I did last time: put in a little extra fish food and hope for the best. Well, this time one fish survived and the other decided to go for the big sleep. I could tell he was a goner as soon as we walked in the door from vacation. I told Jason right away but acted more matter-of-fact, rather than sad, hoping this would lessen the blow. I must say Jason handled it well and wasn’t extremely sad. But, this is my son who takes after me in so many ways, including his freckled cheeks and sensitivity to others. The way we are most similar? We both have great difficulty with change. An example: My oldest son got his braces off his teeth the other day. I thought Jason was going to cry because he was so accustomed to seeing his brother one way that he couldn’t imagine seeing him in another.
That brings us back to the fish. After a day of seeing him laying at the bottom of his bowl, I asked Jason if we could bury him. That’s what we did with the bulgy-eyed goldfish we once had. “No, not yet,.” Jason replied. I asked again a week later. Still a negative. My husband came in the other day, looked toward the bowl and asked, “is that fish alive?” The fish corpse had now floated partially upward and almost looked like it was swimming. Oy, I think it’s time to take it out of there. But, see, now we’re all so used to having him on the counter next to the other fish that I’m in no rush. Frankly, I’m also dreading the actual disposal of him (her?). I can’t stand handling any kind of scaly animal, dead or alive. There’s no fishy odor as far as I can tell so for now, no harm done by letting him “rest” in there. I know, I know, change is good but in this case, what’s a few more weeks?