I recently recovered from an all-nighter. No, it is not the kind that you do in college, up late studying for a big exam. Nor was it hanging out with friends later into the wee hours of the morning. No, I was busy vacuuming water from my basement floor, into a shop vac and into a sink.
As many of you know, it rained Wednesday, March 13. Mother Nature’s big plan was to dash our hopes and dreams of spring by piling on another snowstorm, but this time with rain. Many of us braced for the worst, namely another 6 inches to a foot of snow. Instead, only rain struck the Fergus Falls area that evening.
After completing work, I was looking forward to a nice, relaxing snooze until the next workday. As I entered the door, I could hear the whirring sound of the vacuum coming from the basement. My first thought was “Gee, weird time to get the cleaning bug.” So I made my way down to my basement. There vacuuming up water was my wife with a look of panic on her face.
Water was springing from a corner of our house and she was doing her best to prevent it from getting all over the basement. Knowing that we both had to work in the morning, but I could go in later, I told my wife that I would take over the duties and tag her in several hours later to keep up with the flooding. So off she went to get a few hours of shuteye before she returned.
I was ready for this. I had downloaded a few podcasts, my phone was fully charged and I had drank a cup of coffee to take on the next few hours. It seemed easy to start with. There was only one spot in the basement that was leaking and another that just had a little runoff — no problem! I kept a pretty good pace for the first hour or so, sucking up water when necessary and allowing it to pool a little before going back to work.
But as I had a system down, the other corner (the one that I mentioned that had a little runoff) began to flow. This wasn’t too bad as I would be able to suck up the water from one corner, dump it and return to suck up the water from the other corner.
While I seemed to have the best plan all laid out, I notice that from behind me there were two spots on the back wall that began to pool about 5 feet from our basement drain. After managing the two initial corners, I grabbed the squeegee and began to push the water toward the drain. I tried to establish a path that the water would flow into the drain from, but the tilt of the drain was not steep enough.
I began to feel like Mickey Mouse from the movie “Fantasia,” constantly battling all the water that the brooms kept bringing in. I became frantic, running from one spot to another with the shop vac. I felt like I was keeping up, but I prayed that the rain would stop and give me a reprieve. It did eventually stop and the water seemed to engross the floor, but never rising any higher.
Doing what I could to clean up the rest of the basement, it was now 3:30 a.m. and my turn to sleep. I went upstairs to tag in my wife for a few hours of fun vacuuming. The bed and my pillows never felt so good.
Waking up from my slumber, my wife told me that she had it under control. The water had stopped flowing, but we needed to shovel and sandbag by the house (that is a whole other story in and of itself). Finally, after multiple hours the water had subsided.
I noticed that this weekend’s forecast predicts rain. Time to purchase more sandbags and hope the water cascades into the road.
Zach Stich is the managing editor of The Daily Journal. His column appears each Thursday.