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Speaking out: ’Twas a long night

Letter to the editor
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I was awakened by the sound of my cellphone around 3 a.m. I fumbled my way to the living room where I keep it at night so I won’t be disturbed by the dings of yet another junk email slipping into my inbox.

It took a few moments for me to realize it was the alarm company.

Not recognizing the number, I asked, “Who is this and why are you disturbing me in the middle of the night?”

I was told there was an environmental issue in the hot tub room and would I please check it out.

As I traipsed down two flights of stairs to the basement, my sleepy mind pondered what the hell could an environmental issue mean. Can the floor alarm detect bacteria?

Then I stepped off the last step into cold, ankle-deep water. There sure was an environmental issue! Water was pouring out of the laundry room down the hallway to the hot tub room.

I ran back upstairs to get Vince out of bed. He followed me back to the basement, looked at the flooding and said, “ Get your boots on, it’s going to be a long night.”

When we waded into the laundry room he opened a compartment that housed plumbing and a sump pump. He plugged the pump in and the laundry sink immediately started to fill.

Our drainage system was overwhelmed with all the rain and the snow runoff from the hill behind the inn. Once the sink was filled we had to unplug the pump and wait for it to drain, then plug it in again and repeat the process.

Vince left me manning the pump while he went to the north side of the building to check the crawl space, which, he discovered, was quickly filling with water.

He got his large pump and attached a hose fit for a fire truck and put it through an outside door. He turned on the pump and sent water gushing through the hose and out into the parking lot.

It was a difficult task because heavy rain was coming horizontal with the strong wind into the room — armfuls of towels strategically placed helped.

Even with this heavy pumping the water level was still rising in the crawl space.

Back in the laundry room, we added another sump pump to the sink, emptying it into a washer drain. This helped the sink empty faster, but the plugging and unplugging of the pump was still essential.

Finally the water was no longer rising here and the flow in the laundry room could be contained with a towel berm. We could now concentrate on the standing water in the stairwell and hallway.

We took turns manning the pump plug while the other wielded a broom to sweep water toward the floor drains.

I discovered that no matter how well a ceramic tile floor is laid, there are always high and low areas and the water needed a bit of a push toward the drains.

I had been using a mop to sop up water and spin it out into its fancy bucket until I realized the bucket had a drain hole and the plug was missing, a bit of an exercise in futility.

It was a long night, but I kept trying to keep our spirits up by pointing out it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

I really do believe in striving to be grateful. I know we can’t be happy if we don’t experience gratitude. I am grateful that I heard the telephone. How much worse it could have been if not discovered until morning.

There will be some casualties of things stored on the floor, but we can give thanks that no water got into the area of the basement with wooden floors.

I’m so glad Vince was home and had the pumps needed to deal with the water.

I am extremely grateful to be able to confirm that Vince and I work well as a team during disasters.

At the start, I made us a cup of tea and got the iTunes on my phone going for the long night ahead. I was grateful for his thoughtfulness; when coming back from checking his mega pump he brought me a hat to put on. He had gotten dressed, but I was still in my nightdress, and the hat did make me feel warmer.

We talked about climate change deniers in the face of such weather weirding. They are more protective of their profit margins than of our planet.

We commiserated with each other that snowshoeing would now be on hold. All the great snow was going, going, almost gone, but so now, too, was the water entering the building.

But the best part for me was at daybreak when we had finally gained the upper hand on Mother Nature. Vince looked at me in my shortie nightdress, rubber boots and toque, and said, “Looking pretty cute there missus.” What more of a compliment could a Newfoundland gal ask from her hubby!

Dr. Marina Sexton lives in Norris Point and is a member of The Western Star’s community editorial board.

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