This photo is from Google Images; not sure which street in Burlington.
Thankfully our home does not have a finished basement, as in carpeting and sofas; being a small family we've never needed the extra space to escape one another. One thing most people do need though is a place to store those skates you use a couple of times a year (or never), extra kitchen chairs because they came with the table, and tote boxes full of every crayon scratching your children have ever created. And the beer fridges and chest freezers. Apparently, North Americans worry about running out of food...I digress.
Now, our basement has three areas that display a wet mark on the concrete should we have a prolonged rain. On Monday, I checked the basement every half hour while my dear husband took a nap. After ninety minutes or so there was a distinct drip, drip, drip sound coming from behind our electrical box. The downspout at one corner of the house could not handle the flow which then caused it to stream over and pool down below. Then the water seeped through the foundation wall and into the basement.
Grabbing dog towels, buckets, pots, and eventually flannel sheets, we sopped up the small puddles that formed and dumped the water outside on the driveway. At one point my husband said 'stop shoving the water over here!'...but I wasn't shoving water anywhere and I told him just that. 'Well, where is it coming from then?'...when I stopped and had a good look I could see it coming from the hairline cracks in the floor that form due to settling. Then the water started bubbling up through the bolt holes in the floor that anchor the load-bearing joists. The drain to the sewer main was gurgling and we could see water mere inches from the grating. This is when my husband's voice took on a slight falsetto tone. This was the point that I just upped my pace with the mop and towels.
Grabbing our wellies and sloshing through roughly 5 cms of water we started dragging our stored belongings and the dusty exercise bike up onto our daughter's dance stage. It was for hard shoe practice during her Lord of the Dance faze and thank goodness we had it! That feeling of prioritizing in seconds what to save first while your adrenaline is pumping is actually quite exhilarating. Well, perhaps that is a statement which is comfortably made after the fact.
After a crazy hour and a half, shall we say, we noticed we were making headway and the drain below the floor had stopped gurgling. My husband and I stopped for a minute to take stock, cross our fingers that the worst was over and exhaled. Then he said 'I'm surprised by how calm you were'. I told him it was down to all of the WWII literature and blitz diaries I read. As long as you are not hurt, the walls can crumble around you and what choice do people have but to just keep going?
At just after 9 pm, my husband and I ventured out to see how our neighbours had fared and to witness the fury of the stream breaching its bank. The roar was deafening and if you had the misfortune of falling in you would stand absolutely no chance against the raging water. Quite the juxtaposition from the gentle trickle we usually see.
We were extremely lucky. People who live in the houses one block away had sewage seep into their homes and restoration vans dot the driveways along the street. Someone in this family (photo below) managed to hold on to a smidge of humour because yesterday they had placed a child-sized stuffed ET doll right on top of their pile of damaged belongings. You couldn't help but laugh when you saw it. Looks as though someone has made off with it in the night though, go figure.
Lots of families in my community have a ton of work and a load of headaches to come in the days ahead. I wish them well and count myself very lucky.
The stream across the street. You can see just how high it rose - it cascaded over the bridge!