This past July 4th weekend was spent unfortunately eerily similar to July 4th in 2013. Friday, before the long weekend, we endured a day of heavy rain only to find ourselves dealing with 4 inches of water in the basement and a “lake” on the side of the house. We also had water pouring through a basement window and fissures in the stone walls that had we been at the Villa d’Este in Italy with it’s “fifty-one fountains and nymphaeums, 398 spouts and, 364 water jets” (courtesy of a quick look on Wikipedia) might have been quite soothing, but that much water in the Red House basement is really a nightmare.
Ironically, this was the first long weekend since we bought the Red House (yes, that would be seven years) that both kids and their respective girlfriend and boyfriend were coming to visit. That means that when they arrived right around cocktail hour when we should have been toasting the start of the weekend, we were actually scrambling for flip flops and rubber boots for everyone to wear and a wet/dry shop vac we could plug in without getting someone electrocuted. Did I mention we needed at least 3 brooms so we could take turns pushing the rising water towards the sump pump that while going was simply not keeping up with the insane amount of water?
After a good hour of trying to keep up with the water flow, we decided to stop and luckily at this point the rain stopped, the sun came out, and I was able to show them the garden and the FINALLY FINISHED MASTER BATHROOM.
We have lots of gorgeous looking lettuce.
Meanwhile after the garden tour, they got to see the newly finished master shower and the dining room table Lynn and I put together the night before although the dining room itself has quite a ways to go.
We picked up those green chairs at a garage sale on Long Island ($15 for 4!) and like the color so much that when we buy “real” dining room chairs they obviously have to be this exact shade of green. (I know, I know, this will be difficult but the “tastemaker,” aka Lynn says it is possible.)
But back to the flood. Even though the Red House sits fairly high up on a hill and when the bamboo dies in the winter we actually have a pretty view of the houses in the valley below. The problem is the house is also directly in the path of nearly 4 acres of sloping fields. So when the water runs down the field, we get a flooded basement and this time a “lake” on the side of the house. Looking at all the water, we suddenly remembered a pipe that had been buried in the grass that we decided to dig out – thinking we could channel some of the water to the pipe.
This resulted in a ditch being dug the length of the property and more water than I’ve seen in our backyard. Luckily, the guys helped dig out the ditch which was a dirty muddy mess. (The girls decided to put up a volleyball net since after all it was 4th of July weekend!)
The theory was if we could divert the water away from the house, we hoped we wouldn’t be spending another 4th of July making sandbags. While we did manage to eventually stop the flow of water, we were worried that there weren’t enough sandbags around the new furnace and hot water heater. So after the kids left, I ordered sandbags online and we drove down to the Big Box store to buy sand. This time however, we carried the 50 lb bags of sand into the basement and made the sandbags there instead of stupidly making them in the driveway.
We also tried to shore up the basement window by putting a large metal window well in front of it but then got side tracked cutting down all the beautiful vines that were growing on the side of the house. (We rarely go on that side of the house so weren’t even aware how incredibly tall they had grown!)
Meanwhile, we finally have guest bedrooms for people to stay in, comfortably I think, as well as two finished bathrooms with one to go. Lynn also put back the railing leading up to the second floor and even spray painted the hardware! Whoops, this close-up reveals a spot he missed.
I also did some baking (blueberry muffins and zucchini bread) which as everyone knows I loathe (not the goodies but the act itself). And put out lots of good cheese from Jones Family Farm for everyone to nosh on before dinner.
Meanwhile, we started to clean out the TV room, dragging boxes of stuff up to the attic on the hottest day of the year (of course) a few weeks ago, but are still left with the church pews that we thought we could use in the kitchen but that didn’t quite work. (Anyone who wants them kindly message me – they’re free!)
Since we are still waiting for a date for our siding to be installed, we probably need to spend a day or two outside patching up holes in the foundation and maybe learning how to re-grade the slope around the house. Why do I already know this absolutely won’t be any fun at all. At least if we are working outside, I can look at the sumac that’s slowly turning red, just in time to (hopefully) match the new Red House siding.