Stepping back…

In all my years I am not sure I have ever witnessed the monsoon rain we experienced in Rochester on Monday — all day Monday. From my 10th floor office, I don’t believe I ever saw a break in the rain. Walking out that evening with Merritt Smith, we were talking about the weather, and I asked him if he had ever experienced water in the basement due to weather? Happily, we both reported no history of water.

Driving home thinking about a couple of friends anticipated that evening for a catch up,  I was thinking of the prepping I needed to do when I hit the house. Fifteen minutes later as I was descending into the basement for some laundry and a bottle of wine, I was getting ready to take my final step when I heard what sounded like “lapping water”. OMG — I HAVE WATER IN MY HOUSE! Two to three inches. And my first thought was — this is unfair.

Mary's Flooded Basement

Now I have about an 1,100 SF house, so the basement footprint is pretty small. I keep a very neat house, and a very neat basement, so the good news was that what I do have down there is in plastic containers. Though most of the containers belong to my mom who really has a hard time separating from her past now that she is living at St. John’s in the apartments. When I spoke to mom about an hour later her immediate response was not at all about me or the house — but instead, “are my things ruined?” To which I responded, “No mom, your things are fine and in case you are wondering, my house is okay too!!” She giggled, realizing how it came across, and remarked, “Oh sorry, how are you and the house?”

So back to the flood. I sat down and thought about next steps.

First, was I willing to bail water? No.

Second, who do I call to bail the water?

So I began to consult the professional wizard in my life — Google — who is all knowing about most of what I need. First to appear to my search was Roto Rooter, followed by Serv Pro and a variety of unknown plumbers. Placed calls to Roto Rooter and Serv Pro. Obviously both were slammed with no promise that they could be there before 10:00 pm, or even the next day. Serv Pro cautioned me about stepping into the water in the event there were live wires. My first thought here was, “oh my, the friends are coming over and the wine is in the basement! Hmm?” Serv Pro would call me back. Fortunately for me, Mr. Roto happened to be in the neighborhood and arrived within 30 minutes.

A charming fellow by the name of Sam trekked down to the basement in his heavy boots, while I contemplated where those boots were earlier in the day, with a note to self, “mop basement steps.” Anyway, Mr. Roto inquired as to whether I had a sump-pump. I am embarrassed to say, I did not know. Now before you judge me, I have only been in the house 5 years with no water issues. Do I really need to know whether or not I know where the sump pump is? I know where my electrical box is, and I actually know how to flip a switch on the box. I take all of this house-hold business on a “need to know” basis. If there has been no water, I don’t need to know where the sump pump is.

Anyway Mr. Roto walks down and wades into the water. I said with alarm, “Don’t you need to check for electricity first?” I guess not. He begins wading through the water talking about the rain that had come down and the mess it was creating around town. Since he was wading in the water, I did say, “Could I ask a favor (thinking of my friends that were heading over) do you mind grabbing that bottle of wine over on the table?” With good humor he helped me out by rescuing the bottle of wine for my friends.

After the sump pump inquiry, I said, “I do know there is a small drain in that corner” pointing to what I suspected might be a drain. Sure enough with a few twists of the wrench, the cap was off and the drainage began.  Within less than 10 minutes the water was gone. I retrieved a large fan from the 2nd floor, and began the drying out process.

Mr. Roto went on to theorize where the water came from. My biggest concern was that it was not rain water, but the other kind of water none of us want in our homes. Mr. Roto had no clear answer, so as you can imagine that kind of freaked me out. Having observed that he did not wear rubber gloves throughout this exercise, I washed my credit card with a Clorox wipe after he returned it to me at the conclusion of our transaction.

With the basement now free of water and the fan doing its thing, I turned to getting ready for my friends to come by, while listening to the national news.

The floods, tornadoes, and fires ravaging all parts of the United States.

The Middle East conflict, and the loss of innocent lives.

In  Africa, where terror continues to reign in some parts, while disease and starvation reigns throughout.

The tragedy in the Ukraine, and more loss of innocent lives.

The unrest between Russia and the rest of the world

The endless stories of poverty, unemployment, and crime in our country.

The loss of the 41 year old woman here in town to a drunk driver.

The injustices around our globe. The earth is angry. And so are many of the earths citizens.

So as I stepped back and reviewed all of these thoughts with my gathering of friends on the porch later that night, I realized that my life is not unfair because of a few inches of water in the basement. My life is a gift. I have my 3 incredible children — all living their lives. I have my beautiful, though tonight slightly damp, house. I have a great job where I get to spend my day with great staff and volunteers. I have my freedom. And most of all, I am loved.

Mary and Kids

Yes, there have been challenges. We all have challenges in our life. As my children have heard me say many, many times, it is the challenges that make us strong, build our character, and teach us about empathy for others.

But none of my challenges will ever compare to some of the heartache we witness in our world, our nation, our city, and just walking down the street outside of the Telesca Center for Justice. I find myself wondering about the power of the universe. How was I so lucky to have been born to the life I was given?

Thanks for checking in…


P.S. Just in case you were wondering. Serv Pro came by the next day and confirmed it was ONLY rain water, none of the nasty, dreaded other water. Just so you know…



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