The Flood

There's a street and sidewalks under all that water.
After a couple of rainy days we got hit by a huge storm last night two nights ago, a relentless downpour that went on for hours. Such storms used to be called 100 year rains, as in torrential downpour that took place about once a century. It seems we get one about every 5-7 years. Was the century mark always a bit optimistic or is climate change causing extreme weather patterns?

I woke several times during the night. I'd listen as the patter of raindrops changed into heavy drops slamming the window and maybe a distant bit of thunder. I should go unplug my computer, I thought to myself. It's a precaution we like to take. The chances of our house getting hit by lightning are slim, but they are greater than our chances of winning the lottery, so there's that. Also, it doesn't matter if you computer/phone/big screen TV is plugged into a surge protector which in turn is plugged into the house's electric box which is also plugged into a surge protector. If lightning strikes, your gadgets and appliances will fry.

The lull of the siren song of sleep was stronger than the pull of acting like a responsible adult at 1 AM, so I  fell back into slumber.

The next thing I know, I'm down in the basement watching water seep in and slowly work its way across the room, cursing at my husband for insisting we install the pricey overhead sewer flood control system (see video below). The overhead sewer system provided us with a false sense of security, so we left items sitting directly on the unfinished basement floor. There was nothing of monetary or sentimental value at risk...yet.

I was worried about the water making its way to the cabinet where we keep our scrapbooks. Yeah, I'm old enough that my babies have their early years preserved on film, not to mention the wonderful vacations hubs and I took during our 6 or so child-free years. The photo albums would likely be okay, but I wanted to move the books to a higher shelf just in case the water began to rise.

I started the relocation process, glaring at my almost-teen sitting on the couch in a pair of pajama pants, a fleece blanket wrapped around his bare chest. "Get off your butt and come help me," I snapped.

"But I'm cold," he whined.*

And then I woke up.

You know how if you have a dream that you really, really have to pee, it's best to wake up and head to the bathroom post-haste? Well, I considered this vivid dream a sign. It was not yet 4:30, but I popped out of bed and ran around the house inspecting the basement, the sometimes leaky windows and the airy porch.

It was hard to see what was happening outside as the rain was still pouring down. Everything looked fine inside the house, but I saw an 18-wheeler roll down a nearby street where they normally don't drive and figured this meant bad news for a major artery in our town. I was right. I headed to the back and saw that our next door neighbor's yard had turned into a pond whose edges reached into ours.

I grabbed a sturdy jacket and a hat and headed into the dark wet morning to investigate. The elbow joint connecting one of our downspouts to a rain barrel had been blown off in the wind leaving water pouring down to where the sidewalk meets our foundation. Ugh.

Our backyard, though faring better than our neighbor's, was rather marshy and our sump pump kept churning out water. Thank goodness we didn't lose power or our basement really would have flooded. We haven't yet installed a battery backup pump. Note to self, call a plumber next week.

I had this idea about digging a small channel in our yard to deal with some of the runoff we were receiving from our other neighbor, but decided I should check with Hubs before altering our landscape (at 4:30 AM in the dark in the middle of the storm). Of course, he advised me to hold off. He's always so logical.

At any rate, thank goodness the basement water was only a dream. Our town was crazy with water today. Every large open space had turned into a pond overnight and the nearby North Branch of the Chicago River has overflowed its banks and then some.

I'm thankful that we and most of our friends stayed dry. A quick drive through the neighborhood tells me that not everyone was so lucky. I've seen trucks for plumbers and clean-up crews as well as piles of carpet and household goods that fell victim to sewer backups.

*We have this conversation just about every day as he lounges about the house shirtless, but cold.
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