Monday I smelled something funky. Not the normal "get off your ass and clean your house you lazy woman!" funky, but a very distinctive burning motor type smell. I descended into our horror show of a basement to investigate.
Let me expand on this a bit...because I'm sure most of you have normal basements and that's what you are envisioning....but no...that isn't what we have at all. When you open the basement door the first thing that hits you is the smell. Earth. And a bit of cat toilet (when the bank foreclosed, the guy that lived here had 11 indoor cats...look back to the archive from last fall when I brought you all on a picture tour of my house...11 cats in a tiny house...gross...anyway...he was mad. And also a bit of a pig, so he took all of the cat boxes and when they needed emptying he dumped them behind the stairs in the basement...nice eh? yes the bank cleaned it out before selling, but it takes a long time for that smell to be gone for good). I think the house started out with a crawl space, and eventually they dug out a portion so they could fit a furnace and the hot water tank down there. Where they dug is cement, except for the floor...that just has some big rocks on it. It's dark, and freaky. I don't like going down there. To make matters worse, the stairs leading down to the dungeon, are narrow..and the bottom 3 are broken so they're crooked. In the spaces under the house where they DIDN'T dig, they just left it crawl space...so you're in a hole surrounded on sides by eye level dirt. I guess I'm not the only one this freaked out because previous owner tacked up old feed bags and pieces of pallets so you can't see in there very well. There could be things buried under there for all I know! Or living! Big-Fat Raccoon who keeps eating the dog food off of the front porch could live under there and be watching me....*shiver* it's just creepy, Man!
Anyway, I descended into the dungeon, down the rickety, narrow stairs and found.....my sump pump had burnt out. At that point, though, there was only a little water and since it hadn't rained in the past few days I figured I'd just wait until Thursday, when I had to go and get the kids winter boots anyway, to get a new sump pump. You know, kill two birds with one stone. HA!
Yesterday I wake up, after a night feeling like I got no sleep and check the basement. In less than 12 hours it had filled with 2ft of water and was threatening to extinguish my furnace and my hot water heater. It wasn't going to wait. Into my van I went, and drove to the nearest Home Depot....which is 45 minutes away. Surprisingly, I found the pump easily and managed to get out of there with no hiccups whatsoever. I should have known.
I get home, and am anticipating no real issues...I mean...replacing a sump pump is pretty simple: pull out the old one, place the new one, hook it up and plug it in. Easy, right? HA!
First I had to get the old pump out. Have you ever tried unscrewing a clamp under 2ft of water? Vermont ground water isn't' warm. I ended up losing feeling in my fingers. I struggled for a few minutes that finally got it off and pulled it out. No biggie. I take off the check valve and plumping stuff and go to hook it to the new pump......which is 1 1/2".....and it doesn't fit. the old pump is 1 1/4" So I have to go to the hardware store. Which wouldn't be a big deal..but the only hardware store close that I know would have it...was right in the middle of a construction zone. I jump back in the van and brave the traffic and notice that my van is shimming while I'm driving it...hm...weird. I get there and an older gentleman took pity on me...I know I must have had the deer in headlights look going on....I just don't get plumbing..it's all..pipes and stuff. He actually put the whole thing together for me so all I had to do was come home and tighten down the clamps. Yay! In retrospect...I must have been a mess...I had been working in 2ft of water..i was wet...covered in rust from the rusted clamps...I'm not even positive I brushed my teeth...and I know I didn't brush my hair...poor man lOL. I leave the hardware store and .....my tire is flat! The traffic outside the store is backed up for MILES and the closest gas station is 10 miles in the opposite direction. I start digging through my car..I either have a plug in air pump, or a can of fix o' flat....I finally come up with a can of fix o'flat and fill my tire....and hope it will get me home. Then I sit and wait for the traffic to start moving. And I wait. And wait. And wait. Finally after 20 minutes I get to pull out of the parking lot...and another 30 minutes I'm on my way home.
I get home and luckily everything fit, I DID have a hard time getting the float on, but I finally got it on and plugged in and the water was all gone in 20 minutes!
I figured I'd grab something to eat since it had been almost 12 hours since breakfast at this point. I heated up some leftover chicken Florentine and sit down to eat....and Zep comes in..."the pigs are loose!"...UGH!!!!! These pigs are pretty friendly....but if they don't want to go...they're not going to go. I finally manhandled the last pig into it's pen and came back in to eat......and Vella had eaten my chicken. *sigh* At that point I took a shower and crawled into bed and watched the Burbs'. Today I have to take all the kids shoe shopping......Luckily for me, I drove the Major to the airport this trip (Oh..yes..he's gone for two weeks...you should have known that, because this stuff only happens when he's gone!), so I have his car to get around with. I can only hope all my bad luck is gone and today goes smoothly. I'm not sure I can handle another day like that!