Just Phyllisophy (150x67)By Phyllis Galowitz

It was encouraging to see the temperatures going up and the snow beginning to melt last week (the week of March 9th). Of course, with the good has to come the bad; not that I didn’t expect it. I knew that when the enormous amount of snow leaning against the house began to melt, slide down the mountain behind, and slip from the rooftop above, there was bound to be some flooding in the basement. Nevertheless, when I arrived home after book club last Thursday evening, greeted by an inch of water covering the floor of the front room and the furnace room (after just having completed the renovation of the basement following the major flood caused by a defective valve on my washing machine) it was more than I could handle. An octogenarian should not have to deal with such things, and how I missed Alan, who passed away 5 years ago. He’d never let me do basement chores, lawn chores, plumbing chores and other what he called “men’s work.”  Now, here I am, at a time in my life when it’s hard to do these things I’ve never done before. Who can one call to help at night or on a Sunday morning? I have the most wonderful neighbor, who helps me so much. Without him, I’d never survive living alone in my house that I love, but there are times when it’s just not comfortable or practical to ask for help, and that was last Thursday night.

I got out my Wet/Dry Vacuum. Do I remove the filter and the foam flange to take in water or do I leave it on? I couldn’t remember. After much deliberating and trial and error, it was working! I could hear the water gurgling as it passed through the hose and into the tank. But when the tank was full, it had to be emptied outside. I remembered that Alan, somehow, hooked it up to a hose to empty the water outside but how? The tank, now filled with water, was really heavy, but I managed to wheel it to the back door, open the door and spill the water outside, right onto the driveway. It was difficult. My back was complaining. This had to be repeated several times as the tank filled. Finally, the floor was dry. I was proud of myself for accomplishing a difficult task.

As I prepared for bed, I turned on the weather report. “Heavy rain and warmer temperatures tonight.” Oh no! Will I have to deal with another flood in the morning? I didn’t sleep all night, listening to what I thought was rain pounding against the windows. First thing in the morning, with the sun streaming into the bedroom, I ventured down the basement stairs. Lo and behold—dry! It hadn’t rained. It was wind that I’d heard, slamming the branches against the windows.

I opened the basement door to see if the snow was melting in the driveway. Where I had emptied the tanks full of water, a solid path of ice remained. Well, now I’ll spread some “Ice-Melt” and tread carefully.

I see the signs of spring. There’s a tinge of yellow in the tops of the willow trees and I’ve made it through one of the most difficult winters that I can remember.

(As I am writing this, it’s snowing!)

P.S. After I described my experience to my wonderful and knowledgeable neighbor, Joe Greco, he came to my house, checked the sump pump and discovered that the plug that would have activated the pump had been disconnected. He also suggested changing the pump for one with an automatic turn on and off.  My life just became less stressful!~