“The sky opened and rain come pouring down on the earth, and the basement of our house flooded.” -Genesis 7:11-12 (Modified)
It’s happened before, but that hardly lessens the impact. First a little rain, then more. Then a torrential downpour assaults the saturated earth with rivers it cannot contain. At first, we receive the rain joyfully. At Meredith’s beckoning (I’ve raised her right), Emily, Alex, and I cast off what we are doing and join her for an evening frolic. We splash in the gutters. We dance in the street. We return- soaked, shivering, and happy.
Then, the inevitable. Meredith ventures downstairs to discover that the cracked foundation has yet again failed to hold back the waters. Streams have washed across the concrete of the “creepy basement,” soaked under the wall, and saturated Meredith’s carpet. We remove all the valuables to the other side of the room and call Shelley, not expecting much. In our two years here, landlords have not exactly jumped at our complaints.
This time is different. Shelley has a friend visiting from Oklahoma- his name might be Frank. I’ll call him Frank. Frank from Oklahoma is a godsend. He comes with a truck, a shop vac, an industrial broom, and a willingness to work. He is more eager to fix the problem than any maintenance man we’ve ever come across, and he isn’t a maintenance man. Frank vacuums, sweeps, pulls the carpet back, attempts to caulk the leaky window.
Then he goes out and cleans our gutters- no joke. In the middle of a storm in the middle of the night in the middle of the ghetto. He discovers that our gutters are not only clogged, but split open- releasing a waterfall directly over the ground-level window where the foundation is hopelessly cracked. I help him rig a tarp to the outside of the house, funneling the waterfall off the gutter out towards the gravel drive instead of straight into the basement. It actually seems to help. Frank is amazing. He shows up around 11 p.m. and doesn’t leave until after 1 a.m. When he leaves, he still isn’t satisfied, but he is full of ideas to tell Shelley to solve our dilemma.
I offer Frank coffee cake, but he says he’s trying to drop a few pounds. If I had a beer, I’d give it to him. I don’t know how long Frank is in town, but I’d like to send him some sort of thank-you gift through Shelley. Talk about above and beyond the call of duty- it isn’t even his duty!
Of course, the basement is still soaking wet. I spent over an hour sweeping water away from Meredith’s room and towards a poorly placed drain. The pads of my hands are developing calluses. Now our rabbit Bianca is displaced to my room, and Meredith will be sleeping on the futon in the living room. Hopefully this time our landlord will find a viable solution.
The rain still pours.
It’s been quite a night.