Tag Archives: Flooded Basement

Only Child says snow and rain four-letter words

The weather outside is, has been and will be horrid this winter. This is not just in southern Ontario, but all over Canada, all over the US, all over the world. We can’t get away from it – no matter where we live. We cannot run; we cannot hide. This is a sad and sorry fact of life. And for those Pollyannas who look on the so-called bright side of the weather, unfortunately there isn’t much of a bright side with weather except for the sun when it is actually shining – not when the weather forecasts call for sunshine. What is called for and what is predicted don’t always match.

But often they do match – and it can get bad as the folks in Florida and other southern states found out a few days ago with the snow and freezing rain and in 2017 with the hurricanes. Then there are all the forest fires, floods, and tornadoes. As an example, if you want to put it in dollars and cents (definitely, not “sense”), the cost for all these “natural” disasters in the US for 2017 was $306 billion dollars. And these disasters also killed people. Read the story here in the Washington Post – story also goes into disasters around the world.

On a personal level in winter I am now in constant alert and have to do so many extra chores to try to protect my  small bungalow and its small property.  I have two sets of heat cables – one on the roof and in the eavestroughs and one around one downspout and its extension where ice jams form in below zero (Celcius) weather. I have snow on the roof to worry about and this year especially one corner where it piled up. This was in the Christmas holidays when no one was around to help me. So there I was standing on a patio chair and trying to remove the worst of it with a light-weight bamboo rake. To paraphrase a saying of a late aunt who was only 4’ll”, “I don’t know why the bad Lord made me so short.” I am only 5 ‘1″ and this is one of the few times I resent my lack of height. At that point I wasn’t concerned if it killed me, but because I was concerned about getting maimed, I was careful. I did manage to knock some off the eavestrough part, but the rest was stubborn – the heat cables were working for the rest of the roof and eavestroughs, but not that one corner  right in front of the chimney. I didn’t want and don’t want water getting into my attic or basement when it melts or my roof to collapse.

And for the first time in 10 years I don’t  have someone to shovel my snow regularly and for pay. Christmas Day, when my son and his girlfriend came to visit, they had to finish shovelling what I had struggled to do earlier that day. I notice some of my neighbours helping other neighbours shovelling some of their snow and without being asked.  But none of them bother with helping me with the snow shovelling when it is heavy. I guess they figure I’m out there shovelling and I can do it. Hah!

We have a warm spell now and it should help some. But not for long as we are going to get hit with a heavy storm Friday into Saturday – depending on where we live it might include ice. And that terrifies me because I remember the big ice storm here of December 2013, including its big power outage.

Monday morning there was a two-hour power outage and it included my area – this one had nothing to do with weather but everything to do with Hydro One screwing up with getting its power supply to Toronto.

Fortunately my street and the surrounding area was spared. A miracle? Does it give me hope for the future? Like snow and rain and hell, hope is a four-letter word. Over the years, and particularly the last 17, I’ve learned that particularly where weather is concerned, it is best not to wallow in being Polyanna. So I expect the worst because a lot of the time it happens. I have learned not to take much for granted. I have learned to be thankful for what is good that happens and to express my gratitude for it. But I have learned that unfortunately life contains a big hunk of darkness. Do I embrace this darkness? Never. But I am wary and try to keep informed.

Maybe that is my old journalist training. But it is more likely to be what I have learned from living. And I am a senior so I think I can truthfully say I have been around for a few decades.

Below are a few photos to recap the horrid weather in 2017

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Backyard patio snowed in

 

Williams Lake fire,photo courtesy of Stephane Livolski – from The Weather Network

 

François Lussier rows along a flooded street in the town of Rigaud, Que., west of Montreal, on May 8, 2017.
GRAHAM HUGHES/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Filed under Eavestroughs and dowspouts, Extreme Weather, Ice Storm Southern Ontario, Life demands, Snow, snow shovelling, Uncategorized

Only Child says 2014 is another 2013

Outside of Only Child's home in summer - a far cry from this winter and the mess coming from outside to inside.

Outside of Only Child’s home in summer – a far cry from this winter and the mess coming from outside to inside.

This year is not any better than 2014. Despite all my positive attitude and some hope with work and finances in January, I guess I read it wrong. I should remember that hope is a four-letter word.

The straw that broke my back was the quick winter thaw with all the rain. You guessed it. Water poured into my basement – in two areas of my rec room.

The “new” area is the corner and part of the adjacent walls where on the outside the downspout and rain barrel sit outside on my backyard patio. In  the fall, I took proper preventative measures – had the eavestroughs checked and cleaned out, drained the rain barrel, and closed that fork of the downspout entering the rain barrel so water wouldn’t get in and do the expand/contract with the weather nonsense. I left the bottom hose (which is used for watering plants in the summer) extended out – just in case. Put in place a few years ago was an extended downspout so water would drain away from the house and into the garden. I periodically checked this throughout this winter. Too many cold spells caused water in the eavestrough and downspouts to freeze – including big icicles hanging from the eavestrough and the downspout before the extended part, and a big wad of ice at least three inches deep on the pavement at the corner which defied any salt poured on it. I knocked off what ice I could.

Then old man winter (read God) struck. The slow thaw start caused some of this eavestrough ice to thaw – but not inside the downspout. You guessed it – the water sneaked through the rain barrel closing and started flowing in there. Oh well, the bottom hose would drain it. Right?

Wrong. The bottom hose was so hard from the extremely cold weather it broke. I grabbed a downspout extension not being used from the front and had my next door neighbour manoeuvre it into shape so now the rain barrel downspout extended away from the house.

Then the rain came – more thawing of all the ice mess with water landing in my basement. That one is on God.

Not the other sometimes re-occurring water leak on the far side of the house. Well, maybe God for letting it happen (and not just to my place – to many others in Toronto and I am well aware of the flooding mess in southern England). But this water intrusion is mainly on the back of Nigel Appelwaite, the excavation fellow who messed up in April 2011. He didn’t dig far enough down. Despite the written agreement and list of what he would do (which stated he would dig down to the weeping tiles), he dug only four feet. I remember him saying, as he started to dig, that was as far as he needed to go to take care of the current leaks. Unfortunately I wasn’t very knowledgeable in these things, and I trusted the guy, so…

Trust is the big word here. I need to continue learning not to trust – or to trust very few people and to trust myself first and foremost. I notice I am much more suspicious than I used to be – blame it on being a former journalist, age, and experience. It’s the last I must factor in more.

I have blogged about this leak and Nigel last year – as that’s when the first of the leaks after the big excavation occurred– when the rain and wind blows in hard from the east – water pours into the basement – either that corner of the laundry room (not last Thursday night into Friday) and/or the other corner side and under the window in the rec room. That’s where Nigel supposedly “fixed” it.

Of course I called him Friday – but he never showed up as he said he would.

Friday I spent in a panic, filled with anger and fear, literally mopping up and phoning around for friends to help. Elinor down the street took a look and suggested a twist mop and pail set like the school caretakers use and wrote down exactly what. Tanya drove me to Canadian Tire to get the mop set and a Shop-Vac on sale and then to Value Village to get more thick towels. My boarder helped me set up the Shop-Vac (I figured out the mop setup) and Paul down the street showed me how to use the Shop-Vac properly so it actually did the job. I alternated using the mop and Shop-Vac – some areas worked better with the mop and some with the Shop-Vac.

I am grateful for all their help.

So what does all the above tell me? Once you’ve had water in the basement you never get over it. It teaches you to live in fear.There are a few I can trust to help in a panic situation. But those trustworthy people are not God or Nigel.

Now I will have to get another excavation done by someone who can do a proper job. I am canvassing friends who have had basement waterproofing done to their satisfaction. But the price is high. Even with my ex-husband paying half (which he say he will), it will probably clean me out of whatever little savings I have and was slowly adding to. I was even managing to pay down my line of credit.

Well, I guess it’s tin-can-on-the-street time. Lottery ticket purchase time.

And making those responsible pay.

Nigel better watch out. I will talk to my lawyer friend about options. Realistically Nigel should pay 100 per cent for whatever needs to be done by whomever to remedy his mess-up plus a few thousand extra from my pain and suffering. I am also brainstorming what to do that is legal. Meantime, I make sure everyone knows not to hire Nigel.

That latter is what I have been practicing when some so-called professional screws up. I just did it again when my friend Carol was talking about needing a new roof. The company (Extreme Roofing in Ajax, Ontario) I hired in 2009 did a good job in putting up the new roof – and I make sure I say that – but the owner messed up in the assessment – didn’t notice there were three (not two) old shingle layers – the work crew foreman did – so I got charged an extra $800.  My ex and I shouldn’t have paid it but I was afraid if I didn’t agree they wouldn’t replace the roof.

Putting it out there for things to be okay just doesn’t cut it for me. I should remember the four letter words – besides damn and hell, there are snow, rain, and pray.

Now I really want to go back to the 1950s and 1960s – my Mom and Dad never had basement and eavestrough problems like this. But the weather was different then.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Consumer action, Floods, God, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford