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Bucket Brigade

Well, the plumber just left. That’s never a good thing. What a miserable night. At around 11:30pm I ran to the basement to put a few things in the freezer for my wife. What do I find? Water–1 to 2 inches of water. Our 2-year-old sump pump went out, probably due to an electrical storm Sunday afternoon.

bucketSince Lowe’s isn’t open at midnight, I called our plumber & several friends in search of a pump. No luck. (Perhaps they all have caller ID.) So for the next 4 hours, my wife & I bailed water. (She’s a trooper.) I’ve got the trail memorized: 8 steps from the crock in the basement to the steps; 13 steps up; 7 steps from the stairs to the kitchen sink. Sploosh. Repeat. We made the trip around 100 times, each time carrying a 5-gallon bucket filled with water. Lori was exhausted & turned in at around 3:00am, bless her heart. I finally caught a few winks from around 5-7am.

Perhaps the most disheartening thing was watching how quickly a gas-powered pump did the same work this morning. (It’s all about the tools.) Anyway, our sump pump is working again…and the boxes of clothes & books & “stuff” in our basement are soaked. All for want of a $120 sump pump.

I’m sure there’s a sermon illustration in this somewhere. (sigh)


24 Responses

  1. That’s why you should have all of the stuff on shelves if you’re going to store them in your basement (REALTOR® advice).

    I feel awful for you, but that’s not so bad. What? Not so bad? HA! Try this for size…I have a friend with a 20+ year old home. His wife had to get up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water for their 5 year old son (note…she could not understand why there was no water pressure when she turned on the faucet. Very little water came out, but it seemed to be enough to quench his thirst) . She kept hearing a “bang…bang…bang” sound coming from their basement. She thought maybe she left the dryer on, and there was something in the dryer making that noise. When she put her son back into bed, she decided to investigate. HA!

    The incoming valve on the water meter in the basement had rotted away causing the water to pour into the home. The pressure from the incoming water was pressing against the meter causing it to bang against the valve making a loud noise. The water would push against the meter sending it swinging forward, then after the meter swung to the furthest point, it would crash back into the valve, and then the water pressure would start the whole process over again causing the “bang…bang…bang” noise. She went upstairs to wake her husband who was oblivious to the whole thing. They had over 8″ of water in their basement with no means to shut off the water. It was pouring into the home! So, they called the water department to come out to the outside shutoff valve at the street to shut off the water. HA!

    It was dead of winter, and the ground was frozen. The water guy couldn’t dig into the frozen ground, and the water company has a policy not to enter anyone’s home, especially at 2am! What are they gonna do???? HA!

    After about 3 hours of this non-stop “bang…bang…bang”, the water guy was “nice enough” to go to his truck, and place a cap on the end of the water valve just to stop the water from continuing to pour into their basement. After the water-line was finally capped, it left over 14″ of water in their basement after everything was said, and done! Her wedding photos, honeymoon photos, baby photos (both kids), and their summer clothes were soaked! She cried for a long time. My friend had to take off work for that day to tear out carpet, clean pictures, wash clothes (once the water meter was replaced that afternoon), and do general maintanence around the basement. His sump pump wasn’t working either, so he had to do the same thing with a bucket!

    Count your blessings that it was only 2″, and NOT 14″ of water in your basement! Maybe Lori won’t feel so bad if she reads this comment!

  2. Thanks, Doug, for the…er…encouragement. The occasional “HA” makes me wonder how empathetic you really are. You’re right, though: it’s not so bad.

    Only one sad box so far: some old hymnals & a high school history book from 1917 that belonged to my grandpa. I’m working on drying those out. Oh: I also sorted through some old college stuff and came across some sermon notes from a message Andy Henderson preached in society during my freshman year. It’s deep. I’ll post it later unless he gives me some compelling rea$on$ why I shouldn’t. (Mu-Hahaha!)

    I’ve learned an important lesson through this ordeal: it’s easier to throw out wet junk than dry junk. This may be a blessing in disguise. Some of you fellas may want to go shut off your sump pumps. :-)

  3. I’d say post it. It’s not like you’re going to get any money out of him anyway…

  4. The hot water heater last month left several inches of water in our basement. We had to remove carpet and boxes, etc. What fun!Unfortunately, it was a bit more than $120. So, be thankful, my man.

  5. You guys all need to take sensitivity classes. Sheesh.

  6. Well, my friend’s wife was in tears laughing when she was telling the story to my wife and I, so that’s why I was putting those “Ha’s” on my comment! After all was said and done, that’s all they could do was laugh. I was in tears laughing!

  7. Hi guys

    A little after the fact advice… if you have a good shop vac, you can get an attachment to fit a hose to the drain set everything up and suck all that water out of there. It is not an unattended operation, but it beats the bucket brigade all night. This is only a backup solution, of course.

    Sorry to hear about your troubles. I have been spending a year messing with a wet crawlspace in my rental duplex. It sounds all too familiar…

    BTW, I am back home now, after a marathon trip to get back over the last couple of days. I will be haunting the blogs shortly…

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  8. Chris,

    If you post the notes to any sermon of mine from college it will be no-holds-barred. That’s just being ugly. There is no brotherly love in that. I ran across an old pulpit speech message not long ago. It literally made me sick to my stomach. I absolutely had no clue.

    I think I remember the message that you have in mind. It was an old Dave Doran sermon I preached.

  9. My wife and I have owned our home for quite a while now. We stacked all of our “stuff” we accumulated over the years in a corner room off the back of the basement: kids’s stuff from when the kids were little, family momentoes that didn’t make it to the walls or mantle, our kids’s baby clothes, and etc. It rained so hard and long just a few years back that we did not realize that it was time to check our basement for leaks and cracks in the foundation until it was too late. Now we didn’t lose much stuff, but what we did lose made such an an impact it was heartbreaking. And the odor of water and soggy stuff in the basement!

    I sincerely mean this when I say I am praying for you in this time for this specific difficulty. Though it may not rise to the level of life/death, the woman who lost her coin was delighted enough when she found it, I’m sure the folk who were assisting her and praying for her didn’t demean the concern. Jesus certainly did not when He related the story. My prayers are with you and your basement. May God keep you calm and not weary in this situation.

  10. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

    It’s a good thing the Cavs are winning, because I just found another sad box. Three fiction sets from the early 1900’s, obtained from my Grandfather: a Mark Twain set, a Robert Louis Stevenson set and (gulp) a Charles Dickens set. All pretty wet. I have them all opened as tee-pees to dry. Any suggestions?

    I’ll probably have to post Andy’s sophomoric sermon just to make myself feel better.

  11. Chris,

    Of course , if you post my sophomoric sermon just to make yourself feel better, I will have to pray for another electrical storm to hit your area again just to make myself feel better. My suggestion is just to cast all of that care on the Lord, brother.

  12. Buddy, maybe there’s someone out there praying for a painstakingly-alliterated sermon on prayer. Ever think of that?

  13. P Plead

    R Request

    A Ask

    Y You’ll get it!

  14. If you go any further, I am going to personally bring all of the buckets that I can find on the way to Ohio and fill your basement back up again.

  15. Andrew,

    You’re messing with the wrong guy. Your college years were essentially 4 years of “blackmail me” requests. If the worst I do is the sermon, you should thank me.

  16. I should probably mention at this point that Dr. Henderson’s college-time antics were not illegal or immoral…just comical. I may try to embarrass him, but I’m not trying to ruin him. Not yet, anyway. :-)

  17. “Dr.” Henderson? Where’d that come from???

    You might want to wait until he finishes raising support for his Tampa ministry before you post those sermon notes.

  18. If my life only had a rewind/erase button…. :(

  19. I hear you.

    Here’s the good news: as I intimated earlier, I could at least apply an “erase button” to this particular sermon if you give me some good rea$on$.

    Think it over.

  20. Chris,

    I am at your mercy. You have the control. If I were, say, to take you to a nice restaurant while we are at the church planting conference next month, and buy you dinner, would that cause you to sort of forget about those notes? Or even better, would you consider shredding those notes if I bought you dessert as well?

  21. Andrew,

    I paid good money to get Chris to say nice things about my ordination council yesterday, and what did I get for it? I was photoshopped by Perry and Chris posted it for everyeone’s enjoyment! :-) So, while you’re buying his dinner at that nice restaurant next month, just keep Prov 23:8 in mind! hahaha

  22. Now Dan, a breach of integrity in the few days between your Ordination Council & actual Ordination is a bad idea. I’ve yet to see any “good money,” or even any bad money, for that matter. Hmph.

    Andrew, buddy, I’ll get back to you. Tough call. As much as I love to eat, the sermon notes have been just about burning a hole in my pocket for the last several days.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you, whether you have a bucket or a burger to offer me. :-D

  23. Well, the clean-up continues. I've lost or had severely damaged some old hymnals & beautiful fiction sets. I was okay with this…until today.

    I go through an unknown box (I told my wife that the process is like a strange mix between Christmas & Holloween), and what do I find? Peretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness…perfectly dry.

    (sigh) :(

  24. […] others I picked up during college for the low, low Wal-Mart price of 2/$1. (Murphy’s law: our basement floods and that box stayed dry, even as a box full of sets by Dickens, Stevenson and Twain—all from […]

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