Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Floods, Hurricanes and Homelessness

Hello All,

We are on day 5 without power at our house. On Sunday, which would have been night 3, we packed up and headed north to my mother-in-law's condo. She and her fiance generously offered to have us stay there as they are in FL right now. Their place got power back on Sat, so here we are- warm, have toilets that actually flush AND when you turn on the faucet, water comes out. WOW! And we have a beautiful view of the Merrimack River, which is flowing right outside the back door, about 20 feet from the house. All in all, outside of worrying over our house and how to get the kids to school on time 45 minutes away, we're very comfortable. Once the power comes back on our place, we've got a hella mess to clean up in our basement.

On Thursday night, with the winds howling, rain pouring down in torrents, we lost our power. And along with it the sump pump that was keeping some of the basement water actually leaving instead of entering. The land around the basement is graded very poorly and the water literally pours down the bulkhead stairs. Most of the time, not a problem, it just goes right into the sump pump and back out again. We just don't put anything where we know it will get wet there. When you've got rain like we had, the other foundation weaknesses show up on full force. Water was coming in all walls, up through the dirt floor in the root cellar, and flooded Music Man's office. This house came with a nicely finished office space in the basement, so he was all set up down there, about literally 1,000 cd's out, album, musical instruments, and a bunch of boxes of books, photos and other assundry things that were going to be sold on ebay. Much, much, much of it got wet and ruined. Luckily some instinct took over in him prior to the actual flooding and he got his instruments up off the floor as that would have been the most costly of problems, he's got a lot of them and they're not cheap. And, of course, renter's insurance doesn't cover flooding, so yah, oh well.

Once the sump pump quit and Music Man was bailing with buckets for all he was worth and couldn't keep up, I made a mad dash to the landlord's house about a mile up the road. As I was driving out of the driveway, wind blowing the van about, trees crashing in the road all around me, power lines falling, I drove like a little giddy mad woman to get there in one piece. It was a feeling like the world was ending and I was the last person on earth trying to flee the inevitable. Very weird sensation. We had winds that were sustained at about 65 miles per hour here, though I did hear a report that the winds on the Isles of Shoals off the coast of NH were clocking at 91+ miles per hour. Ummm, we live in New England...and it's FEBRUARY...we don't get hurricanes in New England in February. It was purely crazy. I was driving to the landlord's because we figured, he owns a construction company, perhaps he'll have a portable generator we could use. After waking him up...I don't know how he was sleeping in that, it was insane, we found no, he didn't have a generator. He called the fire department to come pump it out (we were not in that dire of a need, so I called them back to tell them not to come since I was really sure there were people who needed them worse then we did that night!). We were more then a little disappointed at his lack of regard for our plight, he didn't really care and told us, well, that's why it has a sump pump. Umm...that is great if THE POWER IS ON. and it doesn't work on the whole basement because the floor is not graded towards the sump pump, it's totally uneven, so you could have 4 inches or more of water in some places before it would even reach the sump pump. It would have been nice to be told that the basement floods so badly in heavy rain, and why is there a finished office down there if it floods? The previous tenants built it and only stayed a year...we're beginning to understand why.

So, since our town is on two separate power companies (don't ask, we have no idea why), the folks who have PSNH lost their power for about 12-18 hours. We're currently on day 5 with no power. I don't know about you, but I'm seeing something seriously wrong with this picture! As we are driving on our roads we can see houses in both directions that have power, and we do not, it's infuriating. BUT, it also makes you really take note of how dependant we are on electricity and all the comforts it provides. For me, I can basically live without most everything except heat, a way to cook and water. When we were living in our condo and lost power for the ice storm of '08, we had a propane stove (cook, check), we had a little propane heater (heat, check) and we were on city water (water, check) so it ran even when the power was out. It was cold, the little heater could only keep it at about 48-50 degrees, but we were okay for the 6 days we were powerless. Here, where we have a well pump, a basement that floods and the little propane heater can't keep up even with the help of the fireplace, our patience wore thin a whole lot faster. Creature comforts sure do make the world go around.

In any case, Casa de Peaceable Kingdom is moist for the moment, when we get power back we'll survey the true damage, it's hard to do that in the dark. Until then, we are warm, dry and comfortable in the condo that people who love us welcomed us into. We are eternally thankful for that. As before, when the ice storm took out our power and eventually our spirit, some angels gave selflessly of themselves and helped us out. Grace happens even in dark times.

Wishing you your own creature comforts, ~Peacemom

No comments: