The other day I told you about our basement flood and how even just several inches of water can cause major damage.
I titled these posts “When it Rains it Pours” because often when challenges strike, there’s hardly just one at a time, right? You know when you think you can’t handle one more thing and then something else happens? You thought you were overwhelmed and then you realize you weren’t quite as overwhelmed as you were about to feel? That was our April and May.
I have to admit that I did fairly well on “flood day”. I was dazed, yes, but for the most part, we didn’t lose a lot of belongings. Almost all the storage we had in the basement was in plastic bins, so nearly everything was fine. Nearly.
Yes, it was difficult watching everything get carried out of the basement and haphazardly put all over the place. But, the thing that knocked my feet out from under me was when my hubby and I finally sat down to get a bite to eat in the afternoon. Just as we were about to eat he said, “Oh! I forgot about those two boxes under the basement stairs.” Boxes? What boxes? I had everything in bins. Well, evidently I did not.
For some reason, don’t ask me why, I had two boxes of the kids’ memories stored under the stairs. I must have put them there several years ago and Christmas bins got put in front of them. I had no idea they were there. When he said “boxes” I realized I had better check immediately.
That was the low point.
Of all the things that were removed from the basement rooms, those two boxes sat in the water the longest. Nearly every piece of paper was soaked. As I pulled baby footprints, ultrasound images, birth announcements, and precious little handprints on Mother’s Day cards out of those boxes, I could not hold back the tears. That was rough.
I could kick myself for not having those things in plastic bins. Why I would ever have put those precious memories in a box, I cannot fathom.
The only available space to dry everything was the first floor – literally the floor. Everywhere else was either being torn apart, or had boxes stacked. So my hubby and I carefully pulled apart all the soaked memories and set them on old sheets to dry.
But, sometimes we need little reminders about what’s important in life…
Two days after our flood, some good friends from our church got a call that would change their lives. Their son, a husband and father of four young children, was in a terrible car accident. As a pastor, my hubby often gets called when tragedies strike, but this one was just so hard. I went with him to the hospital and we met our friends there struggling in deep grief, not knowing if their son would survive. It was difficult to see him in such a fragile and broken state. We prayed with them and encouraged them with words of hope and comfort only Jesus can truly give.
We were there with them for a while and eventually the conversation turned to how things were going in our lives. In the face of that tragedy, our flooded basement suddenly seemed so insignificant. It helped me to look at it from a different perspective. Yes, I was heartbroken when I saw those little footprints on the hospital birth record sopping wet, but then I realized I still had the little feet that made those footprints. The handprints on the Mother’s Day card may have gotten smudged, but I still had the hands that made those prints.
How trivial those things seemed in the face of our friends nearly losing their son. It was an excellent reminder that these are all just things that we cannot take with us when we die. Yes, they bring back wonderful memories, and I will always treasure those reminders of precious times, but I was reminded not to hold onto things that are not eternal.
Happily, our friends’ son is much improved after several difficult months and recently was able to come home from the hospital. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and they are still in the process of discovering his abilities, but overall he is doing remarkably well, praise the Lord.
So, with a fresh perspective on the important things in life, we set to the task of restoring our basement. Our insurance company was phenomenal (shout out to Amica!). After having some time to evaluate the damage and look at the things that needed repair or replacement, we decided to do the work ourselves. #DIYersatheart
I came to terms with the fact that it was going to be a long haul and chose to be okay with that. What a difference in perspective I had been given. Which turned out to be wonderful considering that we weren’t done with water issues…
About a week after the basement flood, I was in the kitchen washing dishes and was planning to work in the basement after I finished. I thought about cleaning the sink first and almost decided not to, but then grudgingly made the choice to just do it. It was such a good thing I stayed.
Just a few minutes after I started scrubbing the sink, I felt some water on my toes. I thought maybe I had splashed some water over the front of the sink, so I didn’t think much about it. But the dripping didn’t stop. I looked down to find water all over the kitchen floor. I had started the dishwasher just before I washed the dishes. Apparently the drain pipe under the sink had burst, pouring all the water from the dishwasher and all the water from washing the dishes and sink into the cabinet under the sink which then leaked all over the floor.
If I had not stayed to clean the sink, I would have been working in the basement unknowingly as my kitchen was being flooded, which would have leaked through to the laundry room and guest room which were already in the process of being restored.
You may remember why I’m embracing our outdated kitchen. It’s very old and we are really looking forward to the day when we can renovate it. The water had damaged the cabinet so badly that the floor of the cabinet had to be torn out and repaired, but it wasn’t enough to warrant another insurance claim. #opportunitytoreorganizeallthestuff
And that’s not all. A few days later we discovered that our trusty old dehumidifier quit working. You kinda need a dehumidifier after a flood in your basement. A couple more days passed and the water softener died. When you live with extremely hard water, a water softener is a must or your pipes will get corroded with mineral buildup like cholesterol clogs arteries.
Then, the fresh water faucet at the kitchen sink got clogged with rust from the pipe that burst and caused the flood. The plumber had to fix that one. And just in case you’re thinking “at least the toilets were fine”. Nope. We even had a toilet clog. When the water softener was replaced, it also loosened rust in the pipes which clogged the upstairs sink faucets and filled the tub with rust. Pretty much if it had anything to do with water in our house in May, it broke!
But it’s amazing how God puts everything in perspective for us when we’re feeling that things are worse than we can handle, isn’t it? Although our home was turned upside down, these are all fixable things. And frankly, I’m going to have a lot of fun putting it all back together.
If you’re still reading, you’re the best. Thanks for sticking with me through a long post, and more importantly during such an upheaval. I’ll be giving you updates as we renovate and show you how I’m organizing our stuff along the way.