Saturday, May 29, 2010


Last weekend, my basement flooded!! For over a month before this, we had severe drought conditions, then last weekend... 3 days of torrential downpour.

The leak started in the pantry under the basement stairs on Friday.  My friend and handyman, G.S. came to the rescue and sealed it up. He used a type of mud that worked when wet and I thought that was that! No such luck!

On Saturday, we found a puddle of water in the basement bathroom. Two of my (male) friends examined it and decided it was the toilet that was leaking. But when W. dismantled it, he discovered that the water was coming from under the wall. Soon we had the shop vac out sucking it up. \

W. took charge of the situation without hesitation. He even seemed to like the challenge. But soon the water was pouring out faster than the vac could suck it up. We couldn't figure out where the leak was coming from, so we called the city. They sent a man over who said that hundreds of houses in the city were flooding. He told us to look for the cap that led to the "weeping drain". This was entirely new to me, I never knew of such a thing. The weeping drain is a pipe that goes all around the foundation of the house to catch excess rain water and funnel it out to the sewers.

I vaguely remembered a funny looking cap near the back wall before we renovated. Meanwhile we had to deal with damage control. W.M. stayed up all night to empty the vacuum every 20 minutes. He figured we were throwing out about 10 gallons or more an hour! By then we had 2 vacs going.

By Saturday, we found that the north and east wall of the living area downstairs were also leaking!!! W. had stayed up most of the two nights and worked days emptying the water and tearing apart the bathroom looking for the lid to the weeping tile drain. 

We took turns emptying and checking all the areas that were now being flooded. But then he went to Canadian Tire and "accidentally" found a shop vac that pumps out the water through a hose, allowing us to catch a few hours of sleep. (I say accidentally because he said he wasn't looking for it and was wandering around, not sure why he stopped... and looked up and saw this new type of vac. I am sure that my deceased Mom is helping us out here. I feel her presence a lot since she died two years ago).

W. was determined to find that cap and I was sure I knew where it was... but it wasn't where I thought it was. So W. began tearing the shower stall down. I couldn't bear to watch and went upstairs. He was literally ripping the back off the wall where it had been so carefully glued on by K. - another male friend who helped to build the bathroom. The bathroom was newly built just over a year ago...  

But now the toilet and shower and vanity were soggy and wet and pieces of it scattered all over the basement in the attempt to find the source of the flood. The drain cap wasn't under the shower, but we did find that the majority of the leakage was coming from a hole dug there to accommodate a pipe to the shower. Water was pouring out of it like an open faucet.

Finally, W. found the drain cap and discovered the source of the problem!!! The one-way valve on the pipe going from the weeping drain to the sewer was corroded shut, so the water could not funnel out. With the intense rain we got in such a short time... the soil couldn't handle the water. It had nowhere to go and seeped into the basement through any crack it could find. 

The hole under the shower turned out to be a good thing, maybe not the best choice in the first place while building it, but a saving grace now... allowing the worst of the flooding to come into the bathroom instead of the other rooms where the carpets and furniture were.

Nonetheless, the brand new bathroom linoleum was ruined, as were the carpets in the other two rooms. Insurance companies don't cover floods or any other "acts of God". It seems to me that they only cover the things that are least likely to happen. And they still make you pay the first $500. After 37 years of paying insurance on this house, you would think they would be happy to give something back. But of course that's not how the world of business is run, is it? I am learning a lot here....The good news is that since it was a "mechanical failure", I will get some coverage. Ya gotta read the find print.

All this is to say.... that I was truly impressed with how W. took charge of the situation. He didn't have to do it, it was an act of pure kindness on his part. The same goes for G.who came to fill in the cracks in the pantry.

It took me awhile to realize that W. was completely willing to take care of the situation. At first I felt bad that he had to do this, but he reassured me that it was easy for him. The long hours, the challenge of solving a problem, and the physical work involved... it is what he does on his job all the time.

I was exhausted after the first day, but he kept at it until the end, (5 days in all)...  making sure that we got fans and dryers working... and even cleaning up and putting things back in place as best as possible until we can get repairs done. 

Where did he get the energy? Maybe being a Thunderbeing had something to do with it. But I think that men are just built for challenges. On the Medicine Wheel - the Winds are challenges and Winds are masculine energies. 

As a single woman  who took care of for my parents in their final years, as well as the house and yard, all by myself... I can say that I have immense respect for men and what they can do. It has been really difficult for me to manage all the tasks over the years... and I found myself depending on men, friends and hired workers, to help out at times of dire need. 

When W. stepped up to the plate this past weekend, I found myself having to step back... to surrender and trust!  At first I was teetering precariously on the stones of Surrender and Trust... but then I realized that I had complete confidence in him and his ability to meet the challenge. 

When I let go, I literally felt a shift in my body... I found myself shifting into the Feminine role and doing what I could do to help in a different way. I made sure he ate properly so he could have the energy and strength to keep going. This is a man who works long hours, shift work for days and weeks at a time. To be honest, it is beyond my comprehension how he does that. He said that he keeps strong by working hard every day. He didn't give up  until he found the problem and fixed it!!!!

I thought of my parents and how they had their male-female roles so clearly defined. Dad did the yard work, built and repaired things and Mom did the cooking and housework. There is something so pure and simple in those roles, yet today the lines are so clear anymore in relationships. 

As women, I think we need to remember to tell the men in our lives how much we appreciate them. 


(The black and white photo at the top of this post is of my grandfather, Louis Houle)


Wapeyit Malsom said...

Mary Rose,

Love the pictures. I especially liked this blog entry because I was indirectly part of it.


Wheelkeeper said...

Hi Lisa,

I have been offline for ages, it seems and am just catching up on things...

You were definitely a part of this story by going into the dreaming and helping us find the source of the problem. What you saw showed us where to go to fix it. I love how both Will and I picked up you from the dreaming and we all saw the same thing! That was awesome!

Sublime said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sublime said...

Thank You for posting this. I feel It is True we do not give MEN enough praise, we do not honour our brothers, fathers, sons, uncles, grandfathers and male friends enough...I also feel that as Women reclaiming or embracing our feminine, that We don't need to push out the Masculine, or the men to do this... that we can still treat them with appreciation, respect and honour..

Thank you


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