Sunday, May 06, 2012

Lessons from a Flooded Basement - 1

Our basement flooded two weeks ago. The day that Marc left for four days. The day that we started two weeks of standardized tests for homeschool. Flooded. We've had dampness before, a little bit of water. But these were small lakes.

I'm determined to not miss the lessons that that this experience is continuing to teach me. It is costing too much emotionally and financially to not get some squeezed benefit. Over the next few months, this will be an occasional (and my very first) blog series: Lessons from a Flooded Basement.

We have options in these unexpected life crises. We can cry. We can deny. OR, we can blog. 

Lesson #1- It didn't look THAT bad - or SOMETIMES my perspective isn't enough

My first step of action on flood day was to email Marc. "There is water in the basement. I am going to ignore it until tomorrow." Based on our previous small amounts of wet in the basement, and based on the fact that I just peaked into the dark and didn't do a thorough exploration, this made sense.

My second step was to buy a shopvac - surely a 5 gallon one would be plenty (200 hundred gallons later, I'm not so sure). I vacuumed the water in small bits of time, determined to help the kids and I have as normal a week as we could without Marc at home.

The third step was to call the plumber and ask him to see if we could get the sump pump to work (it has never worked in our 7 years of living here - and it has been okay).

(This used to be a laminate
wood floor .)
By Wednesday, most of the water was not visible. I could hear it under the floating floor in some places, but it was under control.

Friday the plumber came. After a quick look at things my new superhero said 'you need to find out if you have an insurance rider for this'. Marc (home now, thank God), called insurance. Yes, we had purchased a rider. In the next thirty minutes the disaster cleanup company was at our house pulling up the floating floor and assessing the damage.

All weekend fans, dehumidifiers, and filters have run in the basement. The bottom foot of all the walls has been cut away. Everything in the basement was on foam blocks.

I had NO IDEA. No. idea. It was so wet. There was so much under the level that I couldn't see.

I needed to get someone who (1) wasn't me or married to me and (2) who knows water and basements to tell me that this was a big deal and it needed immediate and radical attention.

I'm learning this in life, too. 

When I look at life through my lens or by myself - maybe it's not the most accurate picture. The person who may have the most important feedback might be the most expected or unexpected individual. If I don't invite them into my life, and have my heart open to what people have to say, I am left only with my own blurry myopia.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Letting my Roots Breathe

Friday afternoon. The car is getting some quick work done, and I have escaped from the house to the teahouse to settle myself for the weekend. It has been a crazy couple of weeks with standardized testing and basement flooding/asbestos fiascos. The kids and I are tired.

All week, I've started my days with imagining/planning which part of the day had time for me to write. Each day other things have filled that time. I know about time management and priorities – I DO. I know about giving the important more value than the urgent. I know about setting boundaries. And I'm actually quite good at them and the kids have grown to respect my quiet space and times.

But there are some urgent things you can't put off. I remember the season of diapers and nursings. At least those 'urgents' were attached to 'importants'. I feel like our life is full of new 'urgents' that I haven't quite connected to 'importants' – but there must be a connection, because these things have an incredible impact on how I feel and how I operate.

I'm in a new season of What is Important. The last time I did some serious work on a 'mission statement' was when Anna was an infant. She'll be 10 in May. Part of that is because I really like what I wrote. I wrote it to have longevity. (As I look at a new mission -quest- statement, I'm determined to not study that old statement until I have a fresh 2012 perspective.)

I don't do a lot with potting plants,
so I'll include one of my sunflower pictures from
summers past. 
Beyond all the big important questions of life as I get closer and closer to 40, what matters most is an hour in a teashop as I end the week/start the weekend. Surrounded by comfort, smell, sound – that frankly isn't me, my kids, my home. 

It's a bit like repotting a plant – only putting it back in the same pot after letting it's roots have time to breathe.