The Great Flood
We arrived home ready to unpack and relax. A lazy Sunday evening was in my plan, and maybe even going to bed early. . . I connected my laptop and thought I would let my email download as we finished unpacking the car. With no mail coming, I knew that the cable modem was acting up, so I headed for the basement to investigate.
One step from the bottom, my heart sank, and my priorities changed. The last step was into about 4 inches of water. I yelled, "We have a problem," as I surveyed the extent of the problem. Four inches of water covered the entire finished basement!
I quickly realized that the sump pump wasn't working and the back-up battery powered sump had failed as well. The family mobilized to start moving things upstairs and to the garage. A neighbor joined in to help move things as I got the backup sump pumping again.
Within an hour the bulk of the water had been pumped out, but there was still much "stuff" to be moved up and out. The garage became like triage - we determined what needed to be thrown away, what could be salvaged, what needed to be dried out, etc.
An early call to a company we had worked with before, got us on the list for final water extraction and drying. They worked with us to get the basement dry, replace things, get replacement carpet and more.
Our basement is now mostly back to normal. There is new carpet, freshly painted walls, and more plastic storage boxes and less cardboard. Beyond the basic lesson of "No cardboard storage boxes on the floor anymore," we learned much more from this event.
Energy Comes From Action
We planned a leisurely Sunday evening. We didn't get it. I had driven 300 miles and was probably a little tired, but after my left foot hit water, I was a whirling dervish until late into the night. We can create energy through action. Dale Carnegie said, "Act enthusiastic and you'll be enthusiastic." He was right, but it is a larger concept than that. We can act our way into many things, including energy. Energy will arrive when we need it, if we take action.
Attitude Is Important
As neighbors came by (and all offered to help), they would say how sorry they were. We heard the same thing for several days when the topic would come up. As a family though, we took it as a "temporary inconvenience," and smiled about it. This approach certainly helped our spirits, and was also modeled a positive outlook to others. This outlook made our interactions with insurance adjusters, workers and others a much more pleasant experience for everyone.
My five year old, Kelsey, will sometimes cry or whine about some little thing she wants (especially if she didn't get her way). I'll ask her if she likes to cry, and she says no. I ask her if crying is going to help her get what she wants in this situation, she again says no. Then I help her see that the crying is her choice. If crying isn't going to change the outcome, and you don't like crying anyway, why not make a more productive choice?
This was a case where we followed the advice we give our children. Once again we were reminded what a powerful principle this is.
Count Your Blessings
Early the next morning, when I was trying to dry more papers in the garage, Lori came out and said how lucky we were. Across central Indiana there were many homes "really flooded." We had four inches of relatively clean ground water. Others had 4 feet of, in some cases, much dirtier water. Some people had their main floor flooded, not just their basement.
Our situation wasn't fun and did cause much work and a change in our priorities for a couple of weeks. But the things we lost could mostly be replaced in kind. We still had a dry place to sleep, no one was injured, and everything was going to be fine.
When we stop to count our blessings rather than focusing on our predicament, our attitude will be able to help us cope with our situation more productively.
There were other lessons we learned through the flood, but these are the ones that have had the most impact on me in the months since the event. While I will never wish a flooded basement on anyone, I will wish you the chance to learn from our experience, and apply the lessons we learned.
Energy comes from action.
Oh, and one more lesson, sump pumps have a 3-5 year life expectancy. Check yours today, and have it tested yearly!
Yours in Learning,
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