When the Power Goes Out… So Do the Sump Pumps

So we had 2 power outages last week.  And it totally never occurred to me that our sump pumps wouldn’t work… until my mom mentioned it.  That was a total DUH moment for me!  In the 6 years I’ve lived here we’ve never had a power outage lasting longer than an hour or 2.  And never during a record-breaking storm surge:


As I showed you in my last post, I tried my best to prepare for the storm surge by patching holes with hydraulic cement as the water was coming in [FAIL]:

Despite my best efforts, when I checked the basement at 2am [9 hours after the power outage and 2 hours after the storm surge high tide] I found the entire thing was flooded.  Here’s a shot of our cage and a wider shot of the main basement:


It was so strangely quiet down there.  So weird.  And dark.  So dark.

As you may have noticed in the pic of our cage, a package of Kirkland [Costco] toilet paper had fallen into the water.  I figured it was a goner, but when I picked it up the next morning I realized only the outer plastic wrap was wet – the 18 rolls inside were dry as a bone!  Now I Costco even more:

We still had no power as the day turned into afternoon.  I kept checking the basement but there wasn’t much I could do.  It was staying about 3″ deep under water.

Our poor fish babies almost froze to death.  It’s a miracle none of them died!  Their tanks are usually 82° but during both power outages their tanks dropped to the low 60°s:

The power came back on at 9:00 that night and the sump pumps cleared the water in under 5 minutes.  That made me happy!  I took a ruler and measured the water line.  It was 5″ at the base of our stairs:


And 4¼” in the middle part of the basement where the water heaters are up on blocks [due to being ruined during past floods]:


I spent the entire following day trying to air out the basement with fans, and also hauling all the wet and damaged stuff up to the driveway.  I already had a big stack of crap I was planning to take to the dump stored in the back hall of the basement:

So that went up and out, too.  The things I was most concerned with were the 3rd condo owner’s furniture.  They had a mattress – you can see the very wet drag marks where I hauled it to dryer ground:

And a plush pink couch and blue chair:


I emailed the condo owners and asked about their furniture, but they said they didn’t have a pink couch or blue chair, and they must belong to their tenant.  She said they weren’t hers, so I had my husband help me haul them out to the driveway.  By the end of the day I had made quite a huge pile:

Then I tried to find someone to come haul it away.  I had 2 recommendations for people that haul as a side business, but they were swamped with work.  Thankfully one of them recommended a local family owned and run operation called Junk Junk Baby.  I called them and said they’d be there in the morning to haul everything away!  I was so excited.  I took an “arial” shot from our 2nd floor hallway window and texted it to the company:

They wrote back and said “what a LOVELY pile 😛 ” which cracked me up!

But then my phone rang and it was the wife of the 3rd condo owner.  She was VERY, VERY upset.  Apparently the pink couch had belonged to her grandmother and it was very special to her… ooops.  So hubby helped me haul it back down to the basement.  Then the next morning she called her tenant and had her move the blue chair back down cellar.  Ugh.  Nothing like wet furniture to help dry out your basement…

Even with those losses, the junk pile had grown by morning!  I had let the tenants of the other 2 condos know that the junk truck was coming and to add whatever they wanted:

I like the junk company’s philosophy – they go through everything they collect and recycle what they can and donate what they can to worthy local causes.  It made me happy to know that some of the stuff could help other people.  Like I said, not all of it was wet – some was just junk that’s been collecting down there.

One good thing is that my chocolate orchid has bloomed for the first time since 2011!

Last time it bloomed was when I still lived in Gloucester, right around the time I met hubby:


Now we’re getting ready for our 3rd snowstorm in 2 weeks, which is supposed to hit Tuesday.  AWESOME!

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  1. Unbelievable – and now the third Nor’easter in ten days is supposed to hit your area tonight! There’s no justice!

  2. That picture of the river is crazy. Apparently those condo owners are too. Keeping that furniture in the basement after is sustained water damage is ridiculous. I wish I knew of a junk removal company around here as good as the one you found.

    • Hopefully the owners of the furniture will take it away from the basement soon. They hinted that they might… but they don’t live around here in the winter. If it gets wet again, it’s going OUT. It’s great to know of a good junk removal company! Or person. Ask your painter, contractor, plumber, etc. – that’s how I found the company we used. They also tend to know of guys with trucks that do it as a side business for extra money, who are probably cheaper than a junk removal company. We paid $380 to get rid of our stuff, which I thought was a very fair price for the amount, and mostly for the convenience of not having to rent a truck and haul it to the dump myself!

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