Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Aftermath

  1. The Power. Soon after I posted my update the snow really started to pick up. We lost our electricity around dinner time. I didn't know where my matches were, or the candles we keep on hand for these occasions.
  2. The Trees. About an hour later we heard a loud crack, like a gun shot. It was the trunk of one of our pear trees snapping in half. The other one snapped later that night. The photo on the right shows the two trunks. One fell across our deck, and all of our patio furniture (see left photo), and the other fell towards the dining room window missing the house by a foot or so.
  3. The Sump Pump. After Cary and I got the kids put to bed in the dark (we only had one flashlight, and it moos like a cow every time you turn it on) we sat in the darkness listening to the radio. It dawned on us that we had better start bailing out the sump pump in the basement. We started Thursday night at 10 pm and bailed about 40 gallons of water out of the sump pump and dumped it into the back yard. I scooped it out using an empty gallon milk jug and Cary hauled it upstairs by the bucket load. We took the nights off to sleep, but otherwise we did this every two hours for a day and a half while we were awake. If Lucy was awake she usually screamed the whole time, but we had gotten 19 inches of snow and we were sure it was going to flood the basement.
  4. The Sewage. On Friday night we realized maybe we could dump the sump pump water down the utility sink and not haul it upstairs. Cary said, the sink already had some water in it. I noticed the water smelled bad. Yep. Our sewer line was backing up into our sink. Now we couldn't safely flush our toilets or run water at all. The kids were already asleep and we just went to bed after setting the alarm for 3 am just to make sure that the neither the sewage or the sump pump were going to overflow the basement.
  5. Our luck begins to change. Just before we went to bed the plow company came and removed all that heavy wet snow from our driveway. I just stood there and watched. I was so happy to see them. On Saturday morning Cary went next door to have our neighbor help him open the garage door since the opener didn't work and we didn't know how to bypass it. Our neighbor offered to plug our sump pump into his brand new generator! No more bailing! Then he came into the house, looked at the sink full of rising sewage and said, why don't you turn off the valve and the problem should go away on its own! Then he opened our garage door and we were off. We spent the day with my mom and dad who fed us. They also had no power. Then we were planning to spend the night at my brother-in-law's, whose power had returned. Just as we were struggling to get Lucy to sleep a friend called and said he had power, and so did we. 230,000 other Western New Yorkers still didn't and needless to say I felt incredibly lucky for so many reasons. The sink did go back to normal all by itself.
  6. The last few pictures are just a few more shots from the yard. It is amazing how much damage snow can do in less than 12 hours with the leaves still on the trees. There was no wind blowing or things would have been much worse. I have no idea how much this is going to cost to clean up, or when it is going to get done. I think there are plenty of other people who have it much worse than us. Some people lost every tree in their yard. I will have to rethink my shady backyard garden, but otherwise we are fine. I will miss the pear trees, but I will always remember them in bloom, and the time I saw the Horned Larks land in their branches.


Lumpyheadsmom said...

Wow, amazing photos. We've been thinking about you down here. Glad the aftermath isn't too horrible.

Auntly H said...

19"???? Holy cow that's a lot of snow! Especially for not-quite mid-October.

Love the idea of a mooing flashlight, but I imagine it got really annoying with all the other stuff going on.

I hope you're warm and dry now. We're back to rain in MN.

Mom at Work said...

Wow. (And moo.)

Glad the sewer backup was contained. As someone said when our main backed up, "A house without toilets is really just a glorified tent."