a foot of water in the well

Like many of my neighbors, I came home to a basement full of water last night. First thoughts – all the stuff that would be ruined; we quickly abandoned the pile of childcraft books, the old rugs, some boxes of breakfast cereal that hadn’t been put away yet. But my tools, some lumber, the leaf for the dining room table: it would be a shame if they were destroyed. We lifted them up out of the drink onto plastic tubs, tables, whatever. Later we’d assess the damage.

Then, a bucket brigade. My girls chipped in mightily: one in the basement, filling buckets with a bailer from the boat; one carrying up the stairs, and I was the anchor leg, carrying and heaving out into the street, while it continued to rain and sleet.

Finally the water was down to the well: a little-used foot-deep pit in the basement where the sewer pipe can just be seen poking up from the surrounding dirt. “Just five more minutes, girls!” I encouraged them. We got the water down about six inches. OK, time to eat some hot stew.

Sadly, after dinner, we found the water had risen almost to the top of the well again. Calls to all the late-night, big-box, home improvement stores were met with “Hello, this is Home Depot. We are all out of sump pumps, in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.” I guess we weren’t the only ones. I pressed a little electric pump from the dehumidifier into service; it produced a thin flow, but seemed to be just holding its own: the water level held.

Update: this morning the weather is fine: sunny and dry. The water is receding. Time to begin the cleanup!