Basement Leaks and Eternal Beginners

It’s been a weird few days. Saturday was rainy on top of the significant snowpack we’ve got. Late that afternoon I was headed to the basement to put something in the freezer when I saw a puddle on the floor on the front side of the house. I cleaned it up but it returned that evening. I wet-vacced it up a time or two overnight, but Sunday it stayed just warm enough that we had a hellacious rainstorm and the trickle became a flood. Now I was wet-vaccing on the hour and using a rotation of towels to sop up the ice-cold water so it wouldn’t run amok in the basement.

I was up pretty much all night cleaning up the water and cycling towels off the floor, through a spin-and-dry cycle upstairs. I tried to work Monday, but little got done. I called a contractor who was recommended, but he was busy and didn’t get back to me till 5 p.m. And rather than come over, we Zoomed a home visit and he offered some thoughts on how to determine what was happening.

Monday night was much the same, except Virginia took the first overnight shift (god bless her) and I got 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep, then took the 3 a.m. shift. By dawn, the flood had returned to more of a trickle and by the evening it had all but stopped.

But the contractor still hadn’t come over, I had chopped into our dry wall to see what was happening behind it, and eventually he and I determined (I hope) the source of the leak and it will be addressed next Tuesday.

Anatomy of my leak, shared with contractor. God, I’m getting old.

The funny thing was that the contractor and I developed a very Karate Kid relationship. He kept instructing me as if I was going to solve this issue. He asked if I was handy, I said no, and then he told me what to do anyway. He never said, “OK, then I’ll come over.” He just said, “Do that and get back to me about what you see.” Wax on. Wax off. That might sound like a critique, but I appreciate that he trusted me to say when I couldn’t do something.

By Tuesday afternoon, we were finally talking about costs, he ran me through what he would handle and what others could help with. He asked if that was OK. I said something like, “It’s fine. That scream you heard Sunday was my wallet realizing what this was gonna cost.” He stopped and he said, “You know, I’ve been dealing with assholes for two days straight. People yelling at me and arguing over everything. You’re the first person to make me laugh. Thanks.”

We’re all beginners, the class can be hard and, my god, if we’ve ever needed a laugh, this past year has been that time. A bow to you, Mr. Miyagi. And pray it doesn’t rain before next week.

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