Friday, April 19, 2013

Snakes in a Drain

Wednesday started out nice enough.  Worked my regular 8-4 shift, then headed to the Des Moines for Poison's puppy obedience and puppy agility classes.  It had been raining all day, but not excessively so.  I wasn't too worried about the basement, especially since the city had said they'd gotten the storm drain issues fixed after the last severe flood season.

The city lied.

I got home from class about 8:15pm.  I walked into the house and was immediately aware of the shrill beeping from the basement's water alarms.  Luckily the storm drains were barely overflowing at that point, so I had time to get the emergency utility pumps out from storage before anything in the basement got ruined.

I should probably explain our pump situation.  We don't have a sump pump, because our flooding issues all stem from the storm drains, not a leaky foundation. We have several utility pumps, but we cannot run them constantly because they will overheat.  We have to manually run them until the water level goes down to about one centimeter, then unplug the pumps and wait for the water level to rise again.  It's a tedious job.

Once the pumps were in place, I pulled out the camp cot and got comfortable.  I brought down my phone, my laptop, a few bottles of water and some fruit to snack on while I ran the pumps.  I sent a text to Steve, telling him that the basement was flooding and I was oh so happy he was at work and unable to assist.  (That's sarcasm, folks.)

As I stared dully at the pumps... I noticed something.  Something terrible.  There was a little face staring at me from inside the storm drain.  Slowly but surely, the little face emerged from the drain grate and worked its way up the side of the utility pump.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Was I stuck in the middle of a nightmare, unable to wake up?  Had I died, and this was hell?

That's right.  There was a snake coming up from the storm drain.

Now, I actually do like snakes.  They're fascinating little creatures.  I have a pet snake, and I love spotting snakes when I'm out hiking... even the dangerous ones.  (Remind me to tell you all about the time Aryn and I nearly stepped on a Water Moccasin!)  However, for wild snakes I draw the line at the threshhhold of my house.  Pet snakes in house = ok.  Wild snakes in house = not ok.

Samuel L. Jackson's voice suddenly entered my thoughts, and then this happened:

Eventually I managed to kill the snake.  I felt bad, but he kept clogging the pump and I figured a swift beheading would be kinder than massive internal injuries due to being sucked up into a utility pump.  I texted Steve to let him know what I was going through.

I didn't get any tacos or junk food.  Steve was very impressed with my "fantastic scientific advancements in pump hose methods" though.  I basically tied the end of the hose to a heavy rock, so the force of the water wouldn't cause the hose to jerk backwards and into the basement.  I was very proud of myself.

We manned the pumps for about 21 hours. Despite our efforts, we did lose a lot of stuff to flood damage but it's nothing we can't live without.  We learned long ago that truly valuable items in the basement need to be up on cinder blocks... or be waterproof.

The one good thing about a flooded basement is that it makes decluttering and deep-cleaning practically mandatory.  In my opinion, the basement was overdue for both.

1 comment:

  1. We turned the outside water on recently and guess what came out of the faucet? A snake.


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