Thursday, December 20, 2012

It can't rain all the time

In a drought, rain is a blessing. When it never seems to stop, it is a curse. We experienced record days without rain in Seattle during the summer and fall. It is making up for it now.

The consequences include an unplanned indoor swimming pool in my basement, frequent mud slides that have blocked the tracks of the train I normally commute on; and I broke down and purchased a pair of rubber boots that I normally wouldn't be caught dead in.

I attribute the flooded basement to a curse triggered by cutting down our own Christmas tree this year.  You would think I would have learned my lesson about cutting down trees. The contractors are still rooting around (pun intended) trying to find out why the water all of a sudden began flowing into my basement. This was after we had to pay $1000 to have the wet carpet and half of the walls removed and sprayed with chemicals to prevent mold.

So far they have determined that the problem is not with the French drain that already exists in the basement. Before this I didn't even know what a French drain was let alone that I had one. The only way they determined that the French drain was okay was by punching a hole in the cement floor. So now we have a working French drain, but a hole in the floor that matches nicely the demolition motif we've got going down there.

Apparently the problem has now been traced to one of the outlets for the French drain that snakes under our deck and down to the slope that was slipping last winter due to the rain. The retaining wall we had repaired so far appears to be holding despite the efforts of the rain and the mountain beaver to compromise it. I have a hunch the mountain beaver has something to do with the plugged drain outlet as well. We won't know until they rip up some of the deck to get to it.

The irony in this all is that none of the damage or repairs are covered by our homeowner's insurance. There is some clause that doesn't pay out for damage caused by ground water coming into your house. It would be different if a pipe had burst. And the claims adjuster said it wouldn't have been covered by flood insurance because we aren't eligible for flood insurance since we don't live in a flood plain.

And the rain continues. It turned to snow briefly yesterday which added to the fun of my daily commute that used to be a pleasant train ride along the shoreline of the Puget Sound. Now it involves driving to a park-and-ride lot, parking next to a guy who is living in his VW van and catching a packed bus for a 45-minute bus ride into downtown Seattle.

Now is the winter of my discontent.


Helen Baggott said...

Had to Google 'French drain' - something akin to a soakaway? Maybe not. I know nothing about drains.

It's of little consolation but in deepest Dorset - southern England - we've had torrential rain and much of the county is soggy, if not flooded.

Homes have been lost, families moved to temporary accommodation.

But on the bright side, we won't have a hosepipe ban next year.

Time said...

I have a French drain and I don't really know what it is. I believe it is a drain that is rude and doesn't like Americans.

I had to Google hosepipe. We just call them garden hoses. So I assume you won't have a watering ban.