When it Rains....it Pours

One week ago today we moved out of our home and into Jason's grandparents house. Our house sold quickly and since we have not been able to find a new home in the area of our town we want to live in, we decided to camp out in his grandparents' (who are both deceased) empty house across town.

It was not an ideal situation, but we were thankful to have a place to call home while we continued our home search. So we packed up and moved in. We also rented a POD that would hold our non-necessity items such as a few pieces of furniture and things like garage items that we wouldn't be needing during our short stay at grandma's house. Everything else came with us.

Grandma's house is big enough to fit us in terms of bedrooms, etc but not all of our stuff was going to fit so most of it stayed packed up and was stored in the basement. The house is a split-level with the garage going under the house. There is a family room even with the garage (which is half underground) and then a sub-basement that was unfinished where the laundry was. That is where we stored all of our crap.

I will admit, we were well aware of the times grandmas house had flooded in the past. The last time it flooded was in 2010 and it was bad enough to cause damage to the sub-basement, family room and garage. As we were carrying all of our possessions down into that basement when we were moving in, Jason and I both kept repeating this basement better not flood. I know, we are stupid. Why would we ever move all our stuff in a basement that we knew had filled with water in the past? Well, honestly, we had no choice. There was no where else to put it and it hadn't flooded in years and the city surely had better control of the faulty sewer system by now....I know. We should have listened to our gut.

When the weatherman warned of the rain coming and of the possibility of flooding, Jason and I went down and made sure that only our rubbermaid bins of items were on the floor and that all our boxes were stacked on top of the bins or on tables. I made sure that all our super important, precious items were in bins, such as pictures, kids artwork, Christmas decorations, all our personal "office" documents, etc. I figured if we got any seepage, our stuff would be dry in those bins.

We moved in on a Saturday. The very next Wednesday the rain started. It was pretty much non-stop and we kept a close eye on the basement and it was dry. We went to bed at 1am on Wednesday night feeling confident that we would be okay since there was no standing water in the yard, the street or pooling at the bottom of the driveway by the garage door (remember it slopes down to the house like underground parking.)

Joey woke us up at 5am on Thursday morning telling us that we were flooding. Obviously with us both being half-asleep we told him we weren't and that he should go back to bed. He just kept telling us he could hear water. We told him it was just the rain. At 5:20am Jay's cell phone rang and as he ran downstairs to answer it I have never heard him scream like he did that morning. Needless to say, by then the water was pouring into the family room through the garage and the entire garage, family room and sub-basement were under water. The street and both our front and back yard were completely filled with water. We had both our cars parked in the slanted driveway and both of those were also filled with water.

I have never seen anything like it.

Our garage.

Our cars after Jason tried to save mine by pulling it up out of the driveway.

Jason's car after he rescued mine.

Our street.

 Looking into the family room.

Family room

 Pumping out the driveway, then garage.

 Starting to pump out the sub-basement.

 All my stuff floating around the basement.

 What was left after the water was gone.

The first (there were two like this) garbage haul. 

Needless to say, the weathermen were right. There was a great chance of flooding. Once again, Elmhurst's city sewer system couldn't keep up with the amount of water we had and the result was total disaster for many, many people around town. 

The kids were scared and freaking out about their toys floating by in the family room, unable to save any of them. They knew all their toys, books, Wii and Legos were all down there. I knew that every art project they ever made, every journal I ever wrote in and every photo I had saved since junior high on were in that basement. My computer and both back-up hard drives were down there and every piece of sports memorabilia Jason had from all his years of playing and coaching were trapped in the water as well.

There was 6 1/2 feet of water in our sub-basement and between 3 1/2 to 4 feet in the family room and garage. We had to haul the kids out of the house through the deep, cold water while Sugar just splashed and swam along with us. There was nothing but the sounds of sirens and helicopters in the air and people were being taken out of their homes by boat. Like I said, I never have seen anything like it.

By the time the water went down in the street we still had several hours of pumping to do in order to reveal the disaster that was now our house. We lost 80% of our stuff and both cars were badly damaged / totaled. To make things worse, our insurance company gave us the blow that the renters policy I secured for us prior to moving in did not cover flood. If I think about it in terms of all we lost, I literally feel like I am having an anxiety attack.

Instead, I am thankful that between my Mom and I, we were able to lay out thousands of photos and dry them. They aren't perfect and many were lost, but we saved most of them. We were able to wash most of the boys plastic toys and could save items like dishes that could be washed.

I am still heartbroken that I lost the contents of my computer including the videos of the boys first steps, first words and clips of them with their beloved Papa that we all loved watching so we could hear his voice again. I lost every Mother's Day and Father's Day project my kids had ever made amongst a ton of other special projects I had saved through the years. 

It sucks. It was the worst timing for us and although so many people had flooding in their basements, they didn't have their entire life stored in it as it filled. 

We are slowly getting back to normal and we were able to move back into the house last night. We are still cleaning up the mess and figuring out what was lost and how we can replace the necessities. It is physically and emotionally exhausting.

As always, we are feeling the love of our family and friends who have done so much for us. I am certain I would be curled up in the fetal position in a corner in my wellies if it wasn't for all the support we have gotten, so thank you so very much.

Next up for us, find a new house so we can start to rebuild ourselves a home. Hopefully one that does not require the use of my duck feet!


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