A Midsummer Night’s Disruption

So, long story short, this actually happened two months ago, but I didn’t want to post anything here until we had new appliances in place. We’ve got two of the three though, so I’m going to count that as “good enough” for now.

To set the stage, on the evening of June 24th, we were forecast to get some rain. Some. Rain. Not all the rain, but some rain.

Instead, we woke up the morning of June 25th (happy anniversary!) to find that we had, in fact, received all the rain. It rained over 10 inches that night, and moreover, we had seen some rain in the days preceding. Suffice to say, 10 inches overnight was not the expectation, so when we went to bed and it was raining, we didn’t think anything of it.

Fast forward to the next morning, when Brooke got up early to go to work and looked downstairs, only to find over a foot of water in our basement. Now, when it rains 4-5″, it isn’t uncommon to find water down there. Usually, we just use the pushbroom and sweep it toward the sewer drain and it’s fine. A few times per day, while also keeping the dehumidifier active, is typically just find to keep things under control.

Not this day! All of the water was in our basement, for reasons we didn’t know at the time. The first issue, though, was where Charlotte was. Brooke came and woke me up when she discovered the basement issue, but her concern was that she couldn’t find Charlotte, and because the water level in the basement was above the furnace and water heater, she was concerned that the water could be electrified, in which case she could have hurt herself if she had touched the water somehow overnight.

We called our fathers and our plumber to get a sense of what our risks were in the basement. It was still pouring down rain outside, so getting into the basement was still going to be a challenge. I put on rubber boots, after being assured that I should be fine, and waded through the water to get to the circuit breaker, cutting power to the HVAC system and the water heater. After I took care of that, I looked for Charlotte.

It ended up taking a few minutes to move about the basement (again…a foot of water down there…that I really didn’t want to splash into my boots…), but I ultimately found her on the air ducts in the ceiling where she would commonly climb around. She’d gotten stuck up there and had a deer-in-headlights look to her, which to this day, we think traumatized her (she has climbed up there since, but it took weeks before she tried that again).

When we first talked to our plumber, all he could tell me was that a). I probably wouldn’t die if I walked in the water, and b). it was an issue all over town, but at the time, we didn’t know what had happened. He called back mid-morning to ask if things had resolved, to which I replied “no.”

Apparently, the water treatment facility on the Salt Fork River had been breached. Water on the river rose above the levee, threatening the treatment facility, so they had to shut it down. When that happened, all of the storm water that would have left the treatment facility and be dumped in the Salt Fork, instead, backed up into everyone’s houses! And when I say “everyone,” I mean just about everyone in town. It depended on a variety of factors, such as how close to the sewer line you were, how high your house was relative to the line, etc. In our case, it backed up a foot into our basement, whereas our neighbor “only” had a few inches. Some others in different parts of down had 3 feet of water, rising up to the top of their beds as they got up that morning.

Once they were able to turn on the treatment plant again, then water receded quickly, with the water level in our basement dropping to puddles by 10:00 am or so. Still, by then the damage was done.

We had a lot of stuff in the basement, some of which was raised off the ground, but certainly not everything. I lost a few guitar amplifiers, some VHS tapes, and an old KitchenAid mixer we weren’t using. Our guitar cases were down there, but in the intervening weeks, I’ve mostly “rehabbed” them (I need to glue the padding back in, but considering I don’t really take our guitars very many places, I figure I’ll see if I can’t use the cases moving forward).

We waited for the folks who installed our HVAC system to come by later that day to check and make sure it would still work, as it was only a few years old. Against all odds, even though water had made it into the system, they only had to dry off the mainboard and get rid of some moisture around the blower and the thing worked! Brooke went and picked up a new air filter, as the one we had was soaked with storm water, but at least we’d have A/C again that night!

Other things, like our chest freezer, survived unscathed. The upright freezer, though, wasn’t getting a good seal. It was cold and keeping things frozen, but it kept beeping at us. After 3 days, the beeping stop and the freezer decided it was fine.

Sadly, our expensive washing machine wasn’t so lucky. It wouldn’t turn on at all. Our dryer turned on and “worked,” but its motor made a whining noise, indicating it was not long for this world. After we set up the insurance claim, we got the dryer ordered in early July.

It was just delivered last Wednesday. Turns out trying to get new appliances amidst a global pandemic isn’t great.

To that end, we lost our extra fridge downstairs and are still waiting on it to come in. Hopefully in the next few weeks, though! We need that extra fridge capacity, as the one in the garage isn’t going to be as usable once cold weather sets in later this Winter.

As far as outdoor damage, there were branches down, but everything was just so soggy, to such a degree that one of our apple trees actually fell over! I had to go out twice that day to prop it up and try to tie it down. Shockingly, the tree has survived and we should be picking apples in the next few weeks!

I went for a run the next day and found this scene at the bottom of Indian Foothills Park. It was blocked off for almost a week after the flooding, as the Salt Fork River passed near this space and encroached on the disc golf course, as well as a shelter. There is still yellow tape up down there to limit people walking around in that area, but at least you can drive through it now.

So yeah, it was a pretty big deal that threw off Summer chores around the house a bit. I finally cleaned up the garage this past weekend, putting away the last bits that were salvageable, and setting up the rest of it for trash this week. It just took time to get things ordered, get things cleaned up and assessed, and put things where they belong. We had tools from our bathroom project downstairs, so we moved those outside to our garden wagon….where they remained until this past weekend when I finally put them back where they belong. It was just a confluence of lots of stuff going on that kept taking up time, so it took awhile to finish up.

Thankfully, things are almost back to normal. We received our homeowner’s insurance check pretty quickly, so getting all of the new appliances replaced was doable, though we had to wait for shipping. The fridge is probably the last piece yet to be resolved, so things are now, finally, closer to normal down there.

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