I meant to write a post for Veterans Day, I really did. In fact, I feel like a poor MilSpouseBlogger indeed for failing to mark the eleventh day of the eleventh month with a few words expressing the depths of my gratitude for the servicemen and servicewomen who have given so much that I might enjoy all the good things life in America has to offer. There it is, a few days late, but I promise I have a good excuse this time.
Let’s rewind back to Tuesday night. We finished dinner, loaded up the dishwasher, and enjoyed the prospect of an evening leading to a morning sleep-in. While hand-washing a few pots and pans, we noticed that the drain was a little slow, but we didn’t think much of it. We hit the go button on the dishwasher and toddled off to bed, to sleep the sleep of the blissfully ignorant.
Following a leisurely lie-in the next morning, we wandered bleary-eyed to the kitchen, where we noticed that the kitchen sink was draining even slower than we remembered. We decided that the day’s project ought to be solving the problem. It wasn’t until one of us went to grab something from the laundry/storage room that we realized the full extent of that problem. See, the kitchen and laundry room share a common drainpipe, so an issue with one can mean an issue with the other. In this case, the issue was that the clogged kitchen drain was rendered incapable of handling the onslaught of the draining dishwasher, so the dirty water went the only place it could: up the washing machine drainpipe, backwards into the washing machine itself, and for good measure, all over the laundry room floor.
The “storage” part of the laundry/storage room got thoroughly soaked, including cardboard boxes we had been saving for a future move (ruined), winter clothes and sweaters, and various and sundry other items that had to be moved out of the laundry room before we could even figure out what had happened. Lots of stuff had to go in the trash. The cats, fascinated and already dreaming up creative ways to get underfoot, were summarily deposited in their room, where they would remain for the duration of the day’s clean-up efforts.
Did I mention that the remnants of Hurricane Ida were just then getting freaky with a nor’easter and starting to bestow upon us the windy, rainy fruits of their unholy tryst? Because that gets important later.
Some panicked motivated Internet searching yielded a one-item shopping list for the hardware store, so off we went to obtain a drum-style sink auger. (If you live in a place that has pipes and do not own one, go spend the fifteen or twenty bucks to get yourself a sink auger. You won’t be sorry when you can bust out that bad boy instead of calling a plumber: plumbers like to get paid the big bucks, whereas the only thing your trusty auger will ask in return is a cleaning and lubrication before you wind it back up into its neat little drum.) My husband spent the rest of the afternoon and on into the evening being my do-it-yourselfer homeowner hero, disconnecting the garbage disposal and taking apart the pipes and probing the depths of the household plumbing with the occasionally unwieldy auger in an effort to search out the little clog that caused such big trouble.
Drainpipe foe vanquished, we ventured forth for a victory dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. It was already raining pretty hard and getting a little more blustery, but we didn’t think much of it until one of my husband’s classmates called to let him know that Thursday’s flight schedule was getting canceled entirely due to anticipated worsening weather. Still, we enjoyed our dinner and our break from household chores, then headed back home to attack the next phase of clean-up. We pulled in front of the house, parked, and prepared to mad-dash it through the rain to the door, but something unusual caught our eye.
It was the top to one of our attic vents, sitting in the front yard. Great. Now we had an impromptu skylight, and it was letting in more than light. It was, in fact, so dark and stormy that going up on the roof to put the bloody thing back was out of the question, so we had to drag the ladder in from the (detached) garage, rig a bucket under the great big hole in the roof, and hope for the best.
The attic vent runaround used up the last of our energy, so we were not able to finish reconnecting the garbage disposal or bailing out the washing machine as we had planned. No big deal, we figured, especially since we were apparently getting a day off the next day. We’d take care of those projects in the morning.
The storm got worse overnight, the wind and rain battering the house and making us very glad we were indoors. It was by far the worst storm we had experienced since moving here, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when the power flickered and went out. We called to report the outage, and a few hours later we had power back. It stayed on for twenty minutes or so, then died again. We called again, waited, got our hopes up when the power came back, and were disappointed when it went out again. Lather, rinse, repeat, until about half past four on Thursday afternoon, when the power went out for the long haul.
It was a rather longer haul than we anticipated even at our most pessimistic: we only just had our electricity restored this morning, after two and a half days in the dark. We lost everything — well, except for the booze — in the refrigerator and freezer. There was no way we could complete our clean-up efforts from the plumbing debacle without power to run the washing machine. And let me tell you, candlelight quickly loses its romance when there is no alternative. Probably the most frustrating thing was the fact that only one street over, power was restored days before we got ours back. I know it just depends entirely on which junction box or whatever is running to your particular street, but damn it was maddening to drive by all these cheerfully lit houses on the way back to our pitch-black street and into our cold, dark house.
We do consider ourselves extremely lucky that the power outage and one sheared-off attic vent cover comprised our total storm damage. A lot of people in our area fared much worse. Some friends of ours had a tree come down, taking out their fence and grill (but missing their house, thank goodness). Others are dealing with flooding and water damage from wind-driven rain. Picking up downed branches and twigs from the gigantic tree out front was a little sobering, coming as it did with thoughts of what could have happened if its roots had not been strong enough to moor it against the onslaught.
Even knowing how lucky we are, it still hasn’t been a picnic cleaning up both the plumbing and storm fallout all at once. I’m going to be running load after load of laundry well into the night, but at least it will get done. We cannot wait to get in the car, head up to my folks’ place, drop off the “grandkitties,” and… get on a plane to Disney World! My husband was able to take a nice big chunk of leave leading up to Thanksgiving, and we are using part of it to take a Disney vacation. I am ridiculously excited — I’ve never been, and I always hoped we’d get the chance to go at least once before we have children. Here’s hoping that the weather cooperates a little better down in Florida than it has up here.