/ people

Water

<p>This past August, my wife Brenda &#38; I became homeowners for the first time.  Last week, most of the east coast of the United States was hit hard by a major winter storm and we got lots and lots of snow.  Were it not for the former event, the latter would have amounted to nothing more than a snow day.  </p>

<p>Water.  It falls from the sky.  Sometimes it&#8217;s liquid, and sometimes it&#8217;s frozen.  When it&#8217;s frozen it&#8217;s called snow.  When it&#8217;s liquid it&#8217;s called rain.  When 2.5 feet of the former falls in one day, and 2.5 inches of the latter falls a week later, it&#8217;s called a freakin&#8217; mess.  </p>

<p>Prior to our having a basement&#8212;excuse me, owning a basement&#8212;we lived in ignorant, rental bliss.  Five stories above street level, we rented an apartment in Hoboken, NJ.  Leaks were the landlord&#8217;s problem.  Oh sure, we had a minor leak in the roof that stained our bathroom ceiling&#8212;excuse me, my landlord&#8217;s ceiling.  But it never amounted to more than a pendulous drip during even the most biblical of rainstorms.  Did I mention we were five stories above the street when it rained, and that we had absolutely no posessions below grade?</p>

<p>Cut to present.  I&#8217;m a homeowner.  The aforementioned snow and rain had to go someplace; we knew this was coming, as we had aqua events in the basement before this, following lesser weather.  I should explain:</p>

<p>We live in a condo, an end unit.  Realtors, family and friends alike will tell you the end unit is best, as it affords an extra exterior exposure, and is thus brighter and you have one less adjoining neighbor.  In our case, we also gain three large holes in our foundation.  The foundation is the thing underground that holds your house up and keeps the outside outside.  Underground is the place where the water goes when it falls from the sky. </p>

<p>These holes in our foundation?  Yes, they are conduits through which run some supply pipes for heat and hot water for the condo unit&#8212;not just ours but our neighbors&#8217; as well.  You know, the neighbors who got a raw deal because they only have two exposures and a neighbor on each side?  Let me tell you something people, we have two neighbors too.  A quiet, single man named Maurice lives in the condo on one side, and the evil bitch Ma Nature lives on the other side.  Those conduits seem to have some faults, some hairline cracks or somesuch.  When it rains hard, the ground gets soaked and the water all wants to come in to my house because it&#8217;s cold outside and we have the heat cranked up and the water knows that I always keep the fridge filled with <a href= "http://www.victorybeer.com">good beer</a>.  </p>

<p>The previous owner experienced this problem as well.  He rigged up a clever drain system which consisted of a bucket with a drain on it, to which he connected a garden hose.  This hose then led to the sump pump, which was, oddly enough, located at the opposite end of the basement.  This works quite well for the most part, but yesterday while checking on the performance of the drain I heard a noise.  It sounded like a drip, drip, drip.  But it was tough to tell the origin because water was flowing from conduit number one as if from a faucet.  Eventually I found the source of the noise:  </p>

<p>It was coming from conduit number two.  There was no clever drain at conduit number two.  It was time to go to Home Depot.</p>

<p>The do-it-yourselfer&#8217;s Mecca was bristling with activity.  As I got close to the entrance, I saw a few couples exiting the building with industrial-strength sump pumps and fire hoses.  They had the thousand-yard stare.  I felt like an extra in &#8220;Platoon&#8221;.  Time to go to work.  </p>

<p>The plumbing aisle was the center of all activity this miserably grey day, a throng of people gathering weapons for battle.  PVC pipe, plastic sheeting, mops, anything rubber or otherwise waterproof was being collected.  The sump pump area had the look &#38; feel of a medeival market, the peasants demanding more from the vendors.  A pallet of 1/2 horsepower (or &#8220;half-horse&#8221;, as the Home Depot worker lovingly referred to them) sump pumps was hastily left at the end of the aisle, in hopes that it would appease the unruly mob.  It had the look of a Thanksgiving turkey carcass&#8212;half eaten, with many bits strewn about the place. The people were demanding automatic sump pumps, apparently like the one I had in my basement (albeit poorly located).  But they were all out.  Had been since morning.  Sensing I may be targeted by the mob for my good fortune, I set about to gather the materials I needed and got the hell out of Dodge.  </p>

<p>Back at home, Brenda &#38; I assembled a makeshift second drain out of a bucket, a lovely brass spigot, and some quick drying waterproof epoxy, the fumes from which are still giving my esophagus a little trouble.  Once I got the siphon started, it worked a treat, and has all day today too.  </p>

<p>As I type this, the sump pump just kicked in again, singing its sweet, gurgling song.  Snow &#38; rain are in the forecast for tomorrow.  Got sump?</p>