Yesterday, we drove my husband to the airport for a week-long trip. Hours later the skies of Colorado opened up and the prayers of many in our State were answered. Rain, and lots of it.
At first, as I watched it come down, I thought, oh good, the wildfires are going out. But then I heard gushing water just outside our front door.
Our basement has flooded twice in the last couple of years – all during storms like this one. After the first, we had the gutters cleaned, loud fans for a week, and all new carpeting installed. After the second, a smaller flood, we replaced the relatively new carpeting in one room. Anyone who has suffered from flash basement flooding knows what this costs and how it adds to family stress.
I was not about to do it all again.
If I believed in a Goddess of Rain (it would have to be a woman to display this much rage), I would have looked up at the sky and yelled, “This is my house! You are not getting in this time!” Of course, I would have had to worry about the neighbors looking out their windows at the rain and thinking I had lost my mind…. But I would have felt empowered to beat the imminent flooding.
I ran outside to find that not only had our gutters turned into Niagara Falls, but some of the main drains from them were filled with holes, water spouting out in torrents.
All of it heading for my basement windows… again.
I dashed inside, grabbed the biggest bowl I could find and placed it under the first major gutter failure. Then back inside for a large cooler, which I placed under a waterfall beneath our highest gutter. Back inside for another large plastic container to put in the backyard where another gutter overflow poured directly into a window well…
…yelling the entire time for towels and help.
Help, of course, from my nine, eight and four year old boys. If that expectation is not a sign of desperation, I don’t know what is!
Back to the front yard with rounds of thunder coming in constant waves and non-stop lightning filling the sky – and it seemed, the yard – around me. Again my thoughts ran to the Rain Goddess that I do not believe in, because I am a perfectly rational person. But just in case…“If I get struck by lightning, I will get my revenge, missy!”
My eight year old eventually arrived at the front door with one towel. My nine year old peeked out to watch.
While I was able to capture some of the water spouting from holes in our drainage system, I could not fit the bowl directly underneath the drain. And I had since realized the towel was going to be useless until the tide was turned and I could take a hot shower.
“Get me a big cup!” I yelled in the direction of the door, as lightning threatened from much too close and I carried the metal bowl to the middle of the yard to dump it. (Apparently, I am not terribly smart in an emergency.)
Too many slow seconds passed waiting for the cup as gallons of water dumped into the window wells at every side of the house.
I ran to the now filled cooler and dumped it into the middle of the yard again.
“Oh, thank god!” (Not you, you wench of a Rain Goddess.)
My nine year old stood on the doorstep, wide-eyed, afraid to step out into the storm, and holding the smallest, most delicate coffee cup we own.
And the water kept coming.
I am not sure if the laughing or my shivering in the cold made me drop the cup.
The boys disappeared.
Another many too-slow seconds later, and “Mom! Will a pickle jar work?”
Yes, honey, I failed to say, a pickle jar is perfect.
And our basement was saved.