The Simple Minds song says it all about the last couple of days - "rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling, down, down, down". And that means in our basement, the water keeps coming, more, more, more. It comes under the door, around the door, over the steps and under the steps. After hearing the raindrops on our roof change during the night from patter to torrent, I knew as soon as I finished my breakfast juice and yoghurt, I'd be off to the basement to assess the situation.
When I got down to the bottom of the stairs, the water was passing by in a narrow line, coming from a much wider accumulation toward the steps and door to the backyard. Time to break out the Ridgid Shop Vac, tool of choice for any homeowner who must deal with a wet basement. Now I want to sound just like a commercial because I really love this vacuum, and that's saying a mighty lot for a person who believes all vacuuming should be left to professionals, as in my house cleaners from the Joy of Cleaning. The reason I love the Ridgid and you should too, is that its workings are completely obvious, a key feature when the water is flowing. No need for a manual. The hose pieces just push together, the top unhooks on two sides with a simple pull just like a plastic storage bin does, and the bottom, which is essentially just a big bucket with wheels can be rolled out and dumped. Best of all is the change in the vacuum sound when the bucket is filled. Suddenly the noise goes to a high-pitched whine which obviously calls for stopping the machine. Then when you open it up you see that it's filled right up to the line marking the limit. And if you buy the right size, meaning one that's not so big you can't lift it when it's full, you'll be able to get it up those three stairs and out of the cellar to dump into the street drain.
Of course there are lots of people here in Massachusetts who have much worse flooding problems but nonetheless, after emptying the Ridgid, I came back to find almost as much water as I'd just vacuumed up. I called for the engineer, who came to the rescue with the next line of homeowner's defense, not the Quickcrete architectural products redefining precast concrete, though the benches, planters, etc. do look interesting, but the badly-spelled Quikrete hydraulic water-stopping cement. You just mix this stuff up and plug it in wherever water is spewing out. Then it sets up and hardens really fast in spite of the fact that everything basically stays wet. Apparently this is the hydraulic part of its name, though I just think of it as a miracle of science. As a result we're among the lucky ones, with a dry basement this morning in spite of continued rain. Science has allowed me to put the vacuuming and the joy back in the hands of the pro's. Hallelujah!