January 11, 2005

Well, Now.

That was lovely: nothing like spending two hours with your husband on a Monday evening, trying to guide the water out of the basement, as it seeps in through the little "weeping holes" in the wall. I've never seen the basement so flooded, even during that much-hyped "El Nino" year.

Plastic sheeting is horrible, since there's always a seam between the pieces, and the water makes its way in between them. This frustrates us, and makes our tempers fray. (There were difference in tactical notions: is it better to cover a wide area with the plastic sheets, or a smaller area that acts more like a funnel for the water? Each was convinced his/her own ideas were correct, so as I recall we alternated in whose got implemented.)

All I can think of is to make a hollow in the basement floor and install a decorative little streambed right along the middle. It would be a conversation piece, and it would impart bitchin' feng shui to the place. And it would come handy on years like this, when all of SoCal turns into a large fish bowl.

Somewhere, in Florida, I hear people laughing.

Come on in; the water's fine. And you won't even need your shades.

Posted by Attila at January 11, 2005 12:04 AM

oh, goodness! Where was the water coming from? The rain? I thought CA didn't have basements (my sil lives there and that was her account, though maybe I misunderstood.) Could you have a sump pump installed (or is that extremely costly and not efficient)

Posted by: Rachel Ann at January 11, 2005 02:20 AM


No, we don't laugh at Mr. Water. We may allow ourselves a quick grin when we think no one's looking - but even that's a grin of fellowship, laughing with ya not atcha. It's that shared fellowship of human misery. Sandbagging is definitely not fun.

I think I'd rather do hurricane preps any day. It's warmer. Plus it's more or less over at some point - once the cleanup's done, and all the plywood or shutters up, everything battened down, there's nothing much to do but sit and wait it out. And I like it being flat ground, slides are so unpredictable, scary.

The weather's so intensely beautiful before and after, too. Around a hurricane we always need our shades.

I like your streambed idea. Very much. We've been thinking about putting one in the back yard. You could put a little bridge over it. Some steppingstones. Koi. A little trellis with flowering vines. A nice gazebo or pagoda. It's a great place to lounge about with hot chocolate.

Uh, how big is your basement again? We don't have basements here. I'm trying to cram half my back yard into yours and I think I'm running out of room.


Posted by: k at January 11, 2005 06:20 AM

Our house was built in 1963 by a woman whose husband was a bridge engineer. She was a small-time real estate developer, but they made this house to live in themselves. The construction is bizarre, but it stands by a steep hillside: we have a bridge for the driveway and one going up to the front door. And the house itself is bulit like a bridge that doesn't go anywhere: it's a platform that uses cables, concrete columns and I-beams.

There are two living levels, and below that, a workshop/basement that's two rooms, small ones (let's say a bathroom and a half for the workshop, plus another bathroom). And lots of cubby spaces and cabinets around.

It's nice to have the storage, but it's yet one more area Attila the Hub has to patrol for rats.

And there's a wonderful view. Living in this house is like driving a Masarati: wonderful most of the time, but the bills come due every now and again—usually during windstorms, but also in flooding weather.

Posted by: Attila Girl at January 11, 2005 08:45 AM

Rachel Ann, our "basement" is above ground level (well, part of it's under the slope, but part is not). So we were just trying to guide the water to flow out the workshop door and onto some plastic sheeting we used to try to get the water away from the foundations of the house.

The husband's goal was not to have the ground around the foundational elements (in our case, concrete columns) become saturated and start to liquify.

Posted by: Attila Girl at January 11, 2005 08:49 AM

I feel for ya. I know what that is like, with all the hurricanes NC has gotten over the past 10 years. Good luck, and be careful. Without being patronizing, don't drive through flooded areas. Seen too many bad things happen that way, too much tragedy.

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