Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Laughing at the Rain

Many of you may remember the basement flooding fiascos. If you don’t remember, here’s a refresher. After heavy rains, we discovered that the city’s run-off waste water fountains up through a drain in our basement and floods it. What makes the flood even nastier is that it ruins the circuit board of the heater ($500). We called the insurance—they laughed. We called the city. An engineer came over. His schematic of the underground pipes does not contain diagrams of the pipes that our drain led to. But he assured us it was irrelevant because our drain was illegal. Uh huh. All the houses built in the 40s have this kind of drain if they have basements. Clearly, the city dealt with a problem by out-lawing it. Convenient for them. Not for us.

After a couple more episodes of flooding, plumbers were called. We were told to call the experts. “The experts” came. Since no one knew where the pipes were or how deep they ran, they couldn't put a backflow valve on the pipe. But they came up with a plan.

The specialty plumbers came with concrete and a thing that looked like a chainsaw on steroids. First, they poured concrete into the drain. HA! Take that City of Chattanooga. Now you can deal with your own water issues. Then the plumbing dudes revved up the concrete saw. I thought that with the door to the basement closed, we’d be golden. I was wrong. Within fifteen minutes, the house was enveloped in a concrete dust fog. And the smell of burning cement isn’t pleasant. In Matt’s words, “It’s stinks!” Matt and Jake ended up in the master bedroom with the HEPA filter cranked.

Despite everything, by dinner the basement was fixed. We are now the proud owners of a sump pit and an uber sump pump. I can now laugh at the storm clouds. I can shake my head and tsk at the water spouting out of the city lines. And I can say, “Neener” to the city engineer. Of course, he doesn’t care. He’ll just be telling some other home owner that their basement drain is illegal. You just gotta love the government.

1 comment:

  1. In Political Science last night that by looking at old laws you can see a chronicle of all the problems we've had since we started making laws. Of course, he added that seeing the law doesn't mean the problem was fixed later, just that it existed in the first place.