March 30th, 2010


Down in the Cement Pond...

Joy. All the rain has caused the local water table to rise to where it is now higher than my basement floor. There's a good solid inch of water down there now with another couple of days of heavy rain to come. This past weekend I'd just managed to dry out the smallish amount of water that seeped in during the last big storm. Bother.

The one silver lining is that Sunday I got motivated to apply polyurethane to the two cabinets I've been building, and put them up on saw horses to make it easier. Thus they are currently high and dry. Go me! I did have to slog around down there picking some other boxes and pieces of wood up out of the drink, but I seem to have caught it fairly early.

Now off to Home Depot to purchase some sort of pump. I don't think the wet vac is gonna do it this time.

What Would Tim Taylor Do?

So, both the Depot and Lowe's were fresh outta sump pumps. I was able to get a little drill-powered plastic pump at Lowe's. It's sort of one step better than siphoning out the water through a soda straw. More on that in a bit.

What was even worse is that when I finally gave up at home and headed for work, I had trouble getting there. When I'd gone to the Depot earlier, I'd had to go through a huge puddle just up Rt. 2 from Schartner's. It was more than a foot deep, and my truck was just barely able to negotiate it.* Coming back I tried a side road and hit similarly deep flooding. When it came time to head into work, I figured that maybe I could head south on 2, then take the side road that goes behind Schartner's. I ride there quite a bit, and it tends to be a slight upgrade all the way, so mo places for water to pool. Well, except for right where it connects with 2. That one wasn't even negotiable. A town truck was blocking people from even trying. Bother.

* On the other side of the puddle was a funeral procession, presumably heading for the Veterans Cemetery a couple of miles south on 2. What a day for a burial.

Finally I tried one last desperate attempt. Lafayette Road is a winding, up and down side road with several of low lying spots, so I didn't hold out much hope. But I was wrong. The were puddles on the side of the road, but no deep ones blocking it, so I was able to get to Rt. 4, the main highway hereabouts. From there the trip to Quonset is all superhighway, which was reasonably easy.

When I left for work the water downstairs was 1½" deep. When I got home from work, it was 3". Time to try out the drill pump. Now drill pumps are meant to be used when you want to transfer, say, the contents of a 55 gallon drum, or some such. They are not meant to be used to drain basements. They are cheap plastic, and electric drill, though they are marvelous multi-taskers, aren't meant to be run continuously for very long. I hooked it up, snaked a garden hose up the stairs and out a window, and then powered it up. I ran it for about ten minutes and saw no obvious change in level.** Went back upstairs, made myself a sandwich for dinner, then tried for another ten minutes after I ate. Not only did it not seem to be making any progress, it was noisy as all get out, including much sympathetic vibration from the staircase that the drill was resting on. There had to be a better way.

** Of course, as long as the water table is this high, it's probably wasn't going to work no matter what I did.

I thought to myself, facetiously, if only I could spin the thing with the table saw motor, that would probably do the trick. Sigh. Then I though a little further, and remembered that I own a drill press.*** Thoughts of what would Tim Taylor or Alton Brown do in this situation ran through my mind, so I figured what the hey. What's the worst that could happen?

*** You can see where this is going, can't you...

So I hauled the press over to the staircase (where the hose was), which was a job in itself. I realized that I hadn't moved it in ten years FOR A REASON. It's really quite heavy. Anyway, I got it into position, fitted the shank of the pump into the chuck and flipped the switch.

Turns out that the worst thing that can happen is that the pump immediately breaks from the excess torque. But OTOH there were no flying pieces or cut fingers, and not too much water got sprayed around, so not too bad apart from the loss of a $7 pump. Sigh. It could've been glorious.

The rain is expected to peter out around midnight. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to attack the flood with the shop-vac. Or maybe Lowe's will have received a shipment of pumps.