Tag Archives: Basement Flooding

Ice Storms Tornadoes Rain bring havoc to US and Canada

Tree destruction from ice storm

Tree destruction from ice storm

Wicked weather over the January 13 weekend and continuing this week if nothing else proves that we can no longer feel safe in our world – as if most of us didn’t already know that .It is heartbreaking and the icy conditions and tornadoes in the USA and now the ice storms, rainfalls and winds in Ontario from the same storm hit it home harder. So do the  torrential rains coming up to lower British Columbia. These and more (watch The Weather Network, especially the Force of Nature videos clips and that last word in the title is a misnomer and also Accuweather) should serve as a warning that we have to do something about this. Before we can even get -to climate change, first there are the current situations’ damage  that have to be taken care of.

Those last three words are important here. We need to go beyond hope and beyond prayer and get in there and help each other. If the power is out in your neighbourhood, make sure your neighbours are okay and help them  – if you have a generator and gas fireplace and/or gas stove, open your home to those that don’t. I keep thinking of the big southern Ontario ice storm of December 2013 and how my neighbours helped me and how my son, especially helped my then boarder and me by booking (and paying for) a hotel room for a few days in downtown Toronto where the power stayed on. My son, Martin, also took us out to dinner near the hotel, picked us up and drove us home for Christmas (we had the power back on then) and even brought Christmas dinner and helped cook it. Fortunately, I hadn’t opened the big freezer during the power outage, the freezer was full and except for the odd item in the fridge-top freezer and fridge that didn’t make it into my makeshift freezer – an old-fashioned milk shut-turned mailbox on an outside wall, food was okay.

Put salt on your driveway, sidewalks and verandah to melt the ice. As long as the temperature doesn’t go much below freezing it will soften the ice somewhat. Then get out there and move the ice with a sharp shovel. A garden digging shovel works fine. I know some of you with be tut-tutting the choice of salt, but in a situation like this people’s safety is the main thing. If you really want to get all environmentally proactive clearing the ice, use sand, but good luck finding any in winter.

I also have another problem to watch and with me it can happen without the torrential rainfalls in BC. I’m talking about basement flooding. Many properties in the area I live in have this problem due to the area being low level, with old sewers. The City of Toronto is working to remedy this situation but it will take years. See basement flooding program for more info on this.

My problem can happen no matter what the sewer infrastructure is because a contractor named  Nigel Applewaite who I hired to dig the side of the house with the wall cracks and to seal it, didn’t dig down far enough. He won ‘t do anything about it and has blamed it on the sewer drains. I had city workers check that out – twice. Drain was clear.

There was one other thing that developed that has something to do with it – the-eavestrough middle on the east side of the house got mis-shaped into a bow, no doubt from something in “nature” – i.e. extreme weather and/or raccoons.  My handyman noticed it when he put up heating cables there and on the roof. I hired a professional eavestrough company (I checked with three of them) last year to fix it. The eavesgtrough needed re-aligning. So far it seems to be helping, but I keep an eye on my basement floors and heavy towels on the floors under two windows are a permanent part of the decor. Today, with heavy rains and winds from the east I am doing regular checks of my basement and there better not be any water get in.

One thing all this weather damage does to you. If you’ve lived through it, you become wary and worried, sometimes to the point of paranoia.

Another reason to help your family, friends and neighbours when extreme weather hits. They say misery loves company. But so does picking up after all the misery. It is being pro-active together, much better than burying your face in whatever. Much better than doing something to relax. You need to take action and sometimes the adrenalin from the worry and the bad surprise can act as a catalyst for strength to try to fix the situation.

Just think if a group of neighbours, friends, etc. all work together towards this.

Fix the current disaster, then move on to climate change action. Do it in steps from the beginning.

And yes, I haven’t forgotten that governments and corporations have to do their part too. Some are.

But that’s a topic for another blog post.

As for Nigel Applewaite, he has had flooding in the basement and garage of his home. Sometimes what goes around does actually come around if we just let it.

Be safe.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Climate Change, Extreme Weather, Faulty Contractors, Floods, Helping Others, Hydro power outage, Ice Storms, Life demands, Only child, Rain and wind storm

Flash flood rainfalls cause havoc in Toronto

Front of Only Child's House

Front of Only Child’s House

Toronto finally got rain last week and depending where in Toronto you live, that’s when you got it. My son and his girlfriend got the big rainfall on Sunday July 24 overnight. When they woke up Monday  morning they found rain pelting down from their ceiling – on the second floor of the house they live in. There is one floor above them. Their landlord fixed it – it was a pipe going through the ceiling.

My situation is a bit more complicated. While I do believe that God controls the weather and also that climate change has a lot to do with the extreme weather we are getting worldwide, I have an added factor – NIGEL APPLEWAITE – and I don’t mean the Hamilton  football player  who has an “h” in his last name, although it is sometimes misspelled without the “h” . I don’t know this fellow, don’t have a beef with him, so I do not mean him here. I wish this Nigel Applewhaite well.

I am referring  to Nigel Applewaite who supposedly fixed the water getting in my  basement through cracks by waterproofing it on the outside in the spring of 2011. It worked until late spring 2013 when water started coming in again in the laundry room and the rec room. Of course I called Nigel right away. He came over twice but would not take responsibility. He kept saying it could be the drains and to get them checked which I did. The City of Toronto supervisors checked it twice and the drains were fine – no water back up here and no blockages here. Nigel came back and made a half-ass attempt to find the cracks he had missed (He didn’t dig down as far as the weeping tiles like he should have and this “should have” I only found out from other people after the fact). Nigel put the hose on full throttle against one area of the wall and said to leave it for a few hours and he would have to check it like this over all areas. Then he left and never came back.

I wasn’t going to get anything from him that way and because the area is so small, other bigger contractors who do this work can’t get their heavy equipment in – not that I want that to happen with my perennial garden in front. They also don’t dig by hand. And I don’t have the money to pay for this either. Because Nigel is not a BBB member and I don’t have the time or money to sue him, I have made it my business to make sure everybody knows that he does shoddy work and to never hire him to water proof their basements. In particular, if I find out someone is needing their basement waterproofed I tell them “Don’t hire Nigel Applewaite because…” And I tell them my story.

Nigel Applewaite has no online presence – yet. I’m going to make sure he gets one though. People need to be aware of those so-called professionals who mess up any kind of home repairs. It is our homes we are dealing with.

Now, just wait until I go after the very incompetent handyman I had (the one who took three visits to get the sink drain working right) a few years ago;

I also like to praise the repair people who do a good job. So, although I’ve mentioned him by first name only, here is the name of the current fellow (since early 2014) I have hired for electrical, plumbing, painting and other repair jobs)  – Mike Ouillette  – don’t k now if he has an online presence, but he is located in the Toronto, Ontario area. He does good work and his fees are not cheap but not expensive either.

As for the flooding this time round on July 27 evening  – just a bit in the laundry room. But I still had to get two neighbours to help me move the washer, dryer and freezer so I could wipe up what was actually just damp – no puddles, probably partly because I have towels, mats and long foam sticks along the walls in the laundry room and the rec room. Yes, folks, that’s how I “decorate” the floor of my rec room, thanks to NIGEL APPLEWAITE.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

As a P.S. here, I have received some of the money that was owed me as mentioned in last week’s post. Still waiting for more government money and the rest of the client’s fee payment.

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Filed under Consumer action, Extreme rainfall weather, Floods, Leaky Basements, Only child, Rain

Only Child terrified of horrible winter storm coming Wednesday and Thursday

Only child worries about upcoming winter storm

Only child worries about upcoming winter storm

I was going to start writing posts of how I am trying to make my world a little more joyful. Instead I am in emergency storm watch mode which will become big storm starting  tomorrow into Thursday. Southern Ontario is going to get hit with a big storm thanks to yet another Colorado clipper. We have the warm air and cold air clashing and that could bring freezing rain or snow. I might have known that something bad would be coming.

It might be nice if I was wrong for a change. Meteorologists can’t, at this time, actually nail down what will arrive where and when- all rain, freezing rain or snow and some mixing. We will get the latter Wednesday, but it is overnight Wednesday and into Thursday – all day and into evening – that is the big concern. I hate winter weather with a passion, and hate to say this, but I preferred the extreme cold of last winter. We had no mixed precipitation, no rain, no freezing rain and there was not a lot of snow. For this unwelcome, unwanted storm coming up, I would pick regular rain only, except this time it would be a lot of rain with the winds coming from the east and some water might get into my basement. Freezing rain is the one I really don’t want. Think power outages, ice, ice and ice on trees and hydro etc. wires and on the ground. Think the big ice storm in December 2013 in southern Ontario.

After all that ice in December 2013 and a two-day power outage where I live, I do not want to experience it again. I should not have to. Neither should anybody else anywhere.

So, I’m putting emergency plans into operation but really, it won’t stop the ice storm and any power outages, downed trees, icy roads and sidewalks, etc. resulting.. Only God can prevent the freezing rain and I am hoping he will be merciful this time and listen to me (and any others asking him). Sparing us the ice storm is something that will benefit many people.

I’m also supposed to be part of a panel of crime writers presenting at a library Thursday evening but hopefully that will be cancelled and we can re-schedule for all of us for a later date – preferably in late spring, summer or early fall.

If those reading this post think I am being a fear-monger or a wuss, just think about previous ice storms around the world. Maybe you had to go through one (or two or more). They are not to be taken lightly and in fact, should be taken completely off the weather we get – anywhere at any time.

Not bloody likely.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, Extreme Weather, God, Ice Storm Southern Ontario, Ice storm Toronto, Life demands, Mixed Perceptation, Power Outages, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child’s tips when the snow melts

Going  Going but gone?

Going Going but gone?

The weather in Southern Ontario, Canada is finally warming up. Yeah!. However, we need to be aware of what that also means. Sure, the snow is melting, but we don’t want it to end up in our basement, attic or other rooms. On last evening’s late newscast on Global TV, a few tips for trying to prevent basement flooding were presented. Here they are and I’ll add a few of my own as well as my comments on the first three.

  1. Clear snow piled up around windows and around the house.
  2. Clear eaves troughs. Could be tricky if you already (like me) have ice jams that are now melting and the water is trying to get out through the downspout. What happened on one side of my house is the big chunks of ice (after expanding one portion of the downspout and lowered its position because of the weight) broke and fell out of the downspout. My handyman had put up roof ice pellets which worked at first, then we got some more snow that turned to ice and… he is looking into deicing cables but we are hoping all the other measures will work and the cables can wait to be bought and put up until fall for next winter (which I don’t even want to think about).
  3. Street flooding. This is the one that gets me about whose responsibility it is. I do it anyway but it really is city employees and any outsourced contractors who should be doing this job. Shovel snow (and ice and the salt) off the cache basins. Clear a pathway by the curb at the end of your property so when snow melts the water can flow into the cache basins.
  4. Clean any snow around the ground opening to your downspouts.
  5. It doesn’t hurt to shovel the rest of your driveway or patio if you haven’t already.
  6. Make sure that your children, pets and you, too, stay away from so-called frozen lakes and the like. They may look frozen but when the weather warms like this, the ice layer can be thin and crack under any weight.
  7. Wear boots because of all the puddling.
  8. If driving, be kind to pedestrians and drive slowly through puddles. Most of us don’t like being splashed.
  9. And enjoy the sunny warmer weather while it lasts. It is still only March and skeptic that I am I’m not convinced that winter is over, although I would like to be proved wrong here.

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Snow, Winter Weather

Only Child asks: Plan or not Plan

Only Child - an old foggie or just the times?

Only Child – an old foggie or just the times?

You know the old saying about the best laid plans…? That and the over-uncertainty of the times we live in, have made me wonder – is it worth it to make ANY plans when too often they get screwed? Blame it on other people, God, Murphy’s law – whatever you believe in, but make no mistake life, society has become too uncertain and maybe too unbearable.

I believe it started to escalate and change once we hit this new millennium. True, there were signs in the 1990s but life was still bearable then. Now it is not. I absolutely hate the world we live in, for the most part. The technology is changing too fast and there is too much of it with the result that many people spend more time glued to their smart phones than actually talking to people on the phone or even what is now considered old-fashioned – email. People are in too much of a busy-rush and seem to be doing too much at once. Then there is what I call “rude rage” which I believe is the result of what I said in the last two sentences. Extreme severe and uncertain weather is now the norm year round everywhere in the world. Hurricanes and tornadoes, for example, used to be infrequent but are now common occurrences.  If you don’t believe me go to The Weather Network http://theweaternetwork.com/ and check out anywhere in the world. Then there is people’s sense of entitlement where it shouldn’t be.

I’m going to stick my neck out here as a senior and say seniors are excluded to a certain extent. We have lived 65 plus years and hopefully contributed to society including our family friends. (Of course not all have.) Add in the government pension plans and for those who are lucky enough to receive them – private pension plans from companies or government departments where you worked. We are entitled to that. We are also entitled to a seat on public transit. And chivalry is not completely dead here. However, more women have offered their seat to me than men – and I’m talking young men – too busy with their smart phones to notice I guess. So a certain amount of entitlement for seniors is okay (including those retailers’ senior days). And I do my part to give up my seat for other seniors in worse shape than I am – men or women or anyone else who seems to need assistance. Except the people and those like them mentioned in the next paragraph.

However, entitlement doesn’t apply to those parents who take over the public transit space with their oversized buggies. I touched on that in last week’s post. Another place where entitlement doesn’t apply is those stupid jerks who stand in the subway doorway (when there is lots of room to move in – I’m not talking crowded rush-hour subways when there is no choice) and won’t move. I had a run-in last week with this late-teens-20ish b**** who was blocking the subway doorway. I wasn’t looking at the floor but straight ahead so accidently stepped on her toe. Because she was blocking the doorway I didn’t apologize – otherwise I would have because stepping on someone’s toes or heels is awful in my opinion. As I walked by, she grabbed my arm and said something rude to me. I said “you are not supposed to block the doorway.” She said something else rude so I pointed to the sign on the glass partition in the doorway which says “Please do not block doorway,” looked at her and said, “Read.” Then I noticed her feet. No wonder I stepped on them. They were sticking out almost halfway in the doorway. She was still there blocking traffic and listening to her music with her headphones when I got out. This time I took care not to be near her.

It is times like these that I wish I had the powers of a witch.

So, there isn’t much I like about this world – but there are a few people and things I do like – my son, my cousins, some of my friends and colleagues, writing and teaching writing, editing, my garden, my books and other reading material, my computers (surprise, surprise – but I’m talking writing, email , blogging, and Internet research here), walking, and sleeping – what little I can get of the latter.

Some of the changes are for the better – for example, the inclusiveness for gay people, especially gay marriages and the total acceptance for that in Ontario, especially shown in our election June 12 with the first openly gay premier. That wasn’t even an issue leading up to the election. And I am not gay.

As for the weather, I prefer summer but I can no longer feel safe where weather is concerned and that’s year round.

And making plans? I do some, much of it is contingency planning. But I don’t hold my breath that they will be a reality. Seeing is believing.

How do you feel about today’s world?

Just sign me a grumpy old foggie who no longer cares that she is cranky.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Family and Friends, God, Only child, Planning, Public Transportation, Seniors, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child on Daylight Savings and Winter

One of Only Child's teddy bears sits on time to try to tame it

One of Only Child’s teddy bears sits on time to try to tame it

When daylight savings comes around the medical experts are quick to list all the health problems associated with losing one hour’s sleep. Newsflash: some of us get little sleep as it is. This year the bigger bugaboo is the winter weather.

Don’t get me wrong. I prefer daylight savings time and when Canada decided to follow the United States in moving the start date up a month, I was (and still am) all for it. The evenings are suddenly daylight longer and the daylight hours will continue to expand into late June and the roll-back after that won’t be obvious until mid-August.

Of course this year, the extra evening daylight will light up the sidewalks and driveways so we can shovel snow. Yes, southern Ontario is getting hit with another big snowfall late tonight and into Wednesday. The only plus is it’s not rain as there still wasn’t quite enough snow melted to stop potential basement flooding from a too fast liquid-added meltdown. But we are getting somewhat warmer weather and a somewhat slow snow melt. It’s actually coming along fine. Now this. Is it no wonder that I have no faith and trust in God or whomever is out there running things.

But back to daylight time and the so-called health hazards – stroke and heart attacks. Another newsflash for these medical experts. Stress can cause strokes and heart attacks too and I’ve been buried under hundreds of avalanches of stress. All this business with potential basement flooding is more than enough to cause strokes and heart attacks.

The expert interviewed for “Time change Could be Bad for your health, expert warns” (by Sonja Puzic for CTV News http://www.theloop.ca/news/ctvnews/article/-/a/3409057/Time-change-could-be-bad-for-your-health-expert-warns) puts the root of all this health business at losing one hour’s sleep. The expert takes it further saying that 10 to 15 per cent of us are sleep-deprived and for us middle-aged and elderly folks we need more than six hours’ sleep per night.

I agree with him 100 per cent here. However, there are factors that get in the way of many of us getting enough sleep. We don’t have the time to get enough sleep. Even if we did, stress butts in. And another newsflash: as you get older sleep patterns change so that you don’t sleep as long. The National Sleep Foundation says:

 “Along with the physical changes that occur as we get older, changes to our sleep patterns are a part of the normal aging process. As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age.” (Source: Aging and Sleep, National Sleep Foundation, Reviewed by Michael V. Vitiello, PhD, December 2009, http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/aging-and-sleep)

We may be able to do something about the time problem (I’m deleting things from my life) but stress that comes from outside ourselves (and don’t give me that crap about attitude and perception) and getting older are something we don’t have much, if any, control over.

So, what’s the answer?

I don’t know. Not using Daylight Savings Time (the Canadian province of Saskatchewan doesn’t change to Daylight Savings time) isn’t the answer.

For me less outside crap shoved at me would help. And back to normal weather would be a good start.

But that’s a subject for another post.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, Health, Old Age, Only child, Rain, Seniors, Sharon Crawford, Sleep deprivation, Snow, Time, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child on cause and effect with floods, etc.

Only Child and her parents  in another time and world

Only Child and her parents in another time and world

Yet another heavy flash downpour hit southern Ontario late yesterday afternoon. It got me fine-tuning my beliefs and attitudes towards this world we live in. And yes, more water got into my basement. But before I delve into that, more on yesterday’s storm and the unnecessary hardship it caused people. I say “unnecessary” because the storm should never have happened.

Toronto received a record amount of rainfall in one hour . Here’s the beginning of a story in the Globe and Mail by Vidya Kauri and Kaleigh Rogers http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/thunderstorm-knocks-out-power-in-toronto/article13080793/

The Toronto area was drying out Tuesday morning after record rainfall the night before closed transit and roadways, stranded commuters knocked out power in several areas, flooded homes and caused other damage.

Environment Canada said some parts of the GTA had been drenched with more than 100 millimetres of rain, trouncing the previous one-day rainfall record of 29.2 mm in 2008 for Toronto and even beating the 74.4 mm monthly average for July.

As I’ve posted before something’s not right in this world. And it looks like another story by Rita Silvan at http://www.theloop.ca/living/house-and-home/realty-check/article/-/a/2559094/There-will-be-flood-here-s-how-to-stay-above-water  is at least acknowledging the flooding to the end of the world belief – even the title. The story begins:

There will be flood… here’s how to stay above water

According to the biblical Book of Exodus, plagues come in ten different flavours, including frogs, locusts and flood. Bad-ass floods have been appearing with increasing frequency across the globe. Whether the cause is global warming or the wrath of the Gods, or both, it’s mighty inconvenient. We expect coastal habitats to get water-logged from time-to-time but Calgary and Manhattan underwater?

Not only has the frequency of flooding increased but so has the damage they inflict. Economists estimate that the floods in Alberta will cost the province billions of dollars and lower Canada’s GDP by $2 billion. That’s just the meta-view. Down at street level, shopkeepers are going out of business, workers are getting laid-off, and hippos are on the loose.

Well it’s more than hippos on the loose and they aren’t causing the floods. Although the article goes on about global warming and where houses should and should not be built, it is the first part of this story that resonates with me.

In the GTA alone, there were rampant floods around, including the big shopping mall in Mississauga just west of Toronto; power outages inside and outside Toronto (about 80 per cent of Mississauga at one point), Toronto’s subways were halted due to flooding and one portion in the west end of a subway line was still closed this morning. Highways were flooded with motorists stranded. And are you ready for this one? A GO commuter train with 1400 passengers got stuck in a flood of water in Toronto when the Don River overflowed. The water flooded the train’s lower level and passengers had to go to the upper level. The train couldn’t go either way and it was seven hours before all passengers could be removed because the police marine unit had to remove them a few at a time in their four water rafts.

Ridiculous and not acceptable. Excluding the flood part, why did the police use or have only a small number of rafts? Couldn’t other organizations’ boats come to the scene to help? There certainly was enough water for their travel.

And my basement got some water in yet again, mostly in the laundry room, including in a place where it hadn’t gotten in before. However, so far all laundry room water entries are on the side of the house and in the area where N. did the excavation and sealing two years ago. That was supposed to stop any flooding from over there. Obviously not. N. has not been doing his due diligence and fixing his error – which it is now clear is the cause of that (not the actual rainstorm/GTA flooding itself, though). The City of Toronto water people have been in and done the drain testing – my property’s part and the city’s part and it showed clear. Repeated calls to N. (with this drain result, a test he kept harping on for me to get done) about it’s not the drains and he needs to finish testing the areas of the wall to find the source have gone unanswered. I may have to take legal action. Next week I have an appointment with my lawyer to update something in my will and I’m going to ask George what my legal options here are. Not that I can afford any.

In the immediate aftermath of the rain and thunderstorm, I realized two things.

1.      You can do your best to protect yourself and your family, your property, etc. but something from “out there” will shove itself in and cause problems, even disasters.

2.      This one more a firming up – all those responsible for doing harm to people, their pets and their property, to any piece of land etc. should acknowledge their responsibility and make amends to all those they harm. That’s everybody. The insurance companies don’t call floods, earthquakes, etc. “Acts of God” for nothing. Not that humans aren’t to blame for many of the world’s disasters, such as that recent airplane crash landing at San Francisco airport and possibly the running train carrying oil that crashed into a Quebec town. I don’t see the hand of God in either of these.

I really like the physicians’ motto – “Do No Harm.”

Too bad it isn’t the modus operandi for all others.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawforf

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, Home and Garden, Learning Experience, Only child, Problems, Rain and wind storm, Responsibility, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto, Water, Weather