Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Rain in the first world

 A couple of weeks ago, we got rain. Deluge, build-an-ark rain. The water table was already high; flood warnings out for the nearby Sangamon River. The front stalled above our house and dropped inches of rain. Epic proportions. 

Our basement flooded. The two lowest boards of our staircase dropped; disappeared. Not just under the water - no longer part of the stair. There was now a two-foot drop at the end of the staircase, though we didn't know this at first. Bill went down to explore, scraped his leg badly as his foot dropped into nothing. Bill is prone to cellulitis infections; it was obvious he couldn't go down again.

My turn. I put on my pink camo rain boots and headed down. Held tight to the rails and cautiously lowered my left leg down into the water. My boot instantly filled. Hmm. These boots are calf-high. Time for a different tack. I backed up the stairs, emptied my boot, and steeled my courage. In swimsuit and water shoes, armed with a walking stick, I tried again. Down the stairs and into the abyss. Shocking cold water. Up to my hips! Oh my!

It's never flooded this badly before. We have a submersible sump pump and a back-up; neither seemed to be working. In fact, the back-up was also submerged. Worse, the water was half-way up our furnace/air conditioner (which sits in a lower recess) and 2/3 of the way up our hot water heater. Bill had already turned the electricity off to the basement, of course. As I made my way slowly through the water by flashlight, hunched over from the low ceiling, growing increasingly chilled, my throat started to close. I could feel panic rising in my chest as I inspected the damage. I finally turned and rushed through the drag of the water from a full-blown panic attack, banging my head on some duct-work on the way out. The walking stick helped lift me to the now-bottom step, though I painfully wrenched my knee in my haste.

It took a week or so for the water to recede; but we're still using fans (no air conditioning) and washing dishes and showering in cold water (no hot water). We don't have money at the moment to have someone check the appliances out before bringing them back online, and didn't have a safe way for them to access the machines even if we had the extra funds.

Enter my parents. More specifically, my Dad. An industrial engineer by trade, he can fix anything. In my naivete, I thought all men had this gift. Bill didn't even bring tools into our marriage. I was gifted a tool kit at one of my bridal showers; we had that and a socket set Bill inherited from a great-uncle that neither of us knew how to use. He has since gained knowledge from on-line videos and we've slowly amassed more tools, however... My Dad is a Godsend. Thanks to him, we now have two sturdy new steps on the basement staircase. The back-up sump pump has been repaired; the submersible sump-pump has been replaced. My Mom has offered great comfort and distracting chatter. They've bailed us out more than once and we love them beyond measure. We  thank God for them daily.

And each time I take a cold shower I think of those who would love to have a shower, no matter what the temperature. Or those who have to carry water; they have no ready tap in the house. I think of my first world problems, and am grateful. 

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