Saturday, July 6, 2013


Anytime there's a good, sustained rain, my basement floods.  Not just any rain, of course, and there are plenty of rains that hammer this area and my basement is none the worse.  But when the ground gets either saturated or overwhelmed, I end up battling the waters down below.

Logic, of course, says, Bob, why don't you just get your basement waterproofed?  Yeah, we'll, we are headed there, but we've only lived in this house for 20 years, so it isn't that surprising that we haven't fixed it yet.

As I write this, I'm sitting down in that basement, though the water is only coming in one particular rivulet to this room.  There are several in the room beyond.

The first few years we lived here, we were incredulous when the basement flooded.  There was carpet down here at that time, and while we set up a series of floor fans to try to dry out a blue rug that was turning increasingly brown, we couldn't help but wonder if the homeowners before us had never had a flooded basement.  We were naive back then.  We didn't ponder the possibility that someone might put down carpet to cover a house problem and then put the house up for sale in the summer when it didn't flood, at least back then.

For the weather has changed, hasn't it, my friends?  If you live your life trying to avoid a flooded basement like I do, it isn't difficult to chronicle the radical changes in weather patterns that occur increasingly.  I am just saying.

Back then, the basement only flooded a couple of times a year, and so it seemed manageable, always came as a bit of surprise.  These days, I watch the weather.  Whereas before the basement might get wet only during winter months when what wasn't cold enough to become snow soaked the ground and came in, now global weirding means that Tennessee might string together a stretch of excessive rains pretty much any time.  It's almost guaranteed to happen in the spring when, some years, we get all of the rain that we aren't going to get during the summer droughts.  

The worst was a time when a hurricane came up this way and unleashed on us.  That time, the water in the basement  was 4 or 5 inches deep and I drove through a torrential downpour out to the Home Depot late that night to see what kind of an electric pump I might find to get some of the water off of the floor and into the shower where it might drain away.

Most times, the water doesn't cover the entire floor.  It just comes in where it does as moving streams and eventually exits somehow from the backside of the house.  We can dry out most of the basement in a couple of days and follow-up with the dehumidifier and return to normal in 4-5 days.  

But it takes a toll.  There is no doubt.  My man cave, which I have probably bragged about in some previous post, always has to have a temporary nature to it.  I have to watch the weather and proof the room so it doesn't get befouled.  Right now, I'm looking at a rolled-up rug, a bunch of guitars and amps off the ground for safekeeping, and some wooden cabinets and other furnishings that are going to get wet each time the water comes in.  I got the room ready when we left for the 4th, but last night was feeling confident and put it all back together.  By 11AM this mornng, as it became obvious that the rain was finally going to settle in, I packed it all up again.  I feel like a Bedouin sometimes.  Without a camel.

I don't know if there's a lesson here.  If so, it may be that adage that with a house it's always something.  Which means that you're going to have to decide which "something" you're going to tackle.  Or it may be, fix something when you have chance because later on you won't have the money, but then you probably didn't have the money back then, either.  We didn't.  Or it may just be that an occasional flooded basement is one of those things that we learn to live with, like so many other oddities and embarassments that a family hopes no one else will notice, at least not very often.


Gail Wallace said...

I suggest waterproofing your house. You can choose to live with a flooded basement whenever it rains and save a few dollars, but aside from the hassles of regularly cleaning up, it could weaken the structure of your house, which in turn would cost you much more eventually. An alternative would be to focus on prevention. Maybe you can put some rain gutter down spout extensions on your house to divert rainwater away.

Gail Wallace

Barry Chavez said...
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