The 'beast in the basement"

By Bob McNitt

Two weeks have passed since much of our area was transformed into "Waterworld." While some flood-stricken victims may already have the water damage cleaned up and their lives have returned to normal, many others are still dealing with the flood's aftereffects. I suspect many have dealt and are now dealing with the "beast in the basement."

This beast has neither fangs nor claws, but it is nonetheless as formidable a threat as was the flood. The beast is seldom noticed by its resident hosts. Rather it lies in wait in the basement, growing ever larger with each passing month and year, awaiting the opportune time to spring its attack. The catalyst required is a flooded basement, and the beast is brought to life by the accumulated materials that so many basements contain. Basements, much like attics and large garages, are a great place to store things. It allows us to amass many more material goods than our normal daily living space can accommodate, plus it keeps them "out of the way" until they're needed. Of course, how often are many of these stored items actually needed – once a week, once a month, once a year, maybe never? But keeping and storing these things seemed like such a good idea at the time.



Our basement has seen its share of water seepage during monsoonal weather, but nothing the trusty sump pump couldn't handle, nor did it happen often. So when seepage began to occur early that fateful Wednesday morning, this old veteran outdoorsman wasn't all that concerned, despite the abnormal amount of rain that had fallen. But to be safe, I disconnected all electrical appliances in the basement and also shut off all the natural gas values. Shortly afterwards, we left to help a family member who was getting seepage in her basement.


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