gerisullivan: (Default)
[personal profile] gerisullivan
...but it's now certain I'm not going to win the "It sucks to be me" sweepstakes after all.

Why? Because even though Saturday brought Basement Flood #2 (this time thanks to the melting lake o'ice underneath the back deck), it also brought the following wonderful news in the mail:

"Your biopsy results were negative."

And the bonus sentence: "No further tests are required at this time."

The biopsy in question was to make sure recent weird middle-aged female symptoms and ultrasound results were just that and not endometrial cancer. Sorry I haven't mentioned it here before now -- there was a certain young woman I was going to need to tell face-to-face if the tests had turned out otherwise and I didn't want her worrying about the possibility in the meanwhile.

Waiting was hard. Knowing something wasn't right, but not knowing whether it was trivial or major was hard. (All of the tests concur; everything is utterly common and trivial. There just happen to be three different utterly common, trivial things going on all at once in the same area of my body. That sure beats having both ovarian and endometrial cancer, or either one of them, actually.) There were about 7 weeks of waiting in all. The last 10 days turned out to be the easiest -- by the time we actually did the biopsy on March 1st, all of the other results were consistently pointing to the non-cancerous side of the equation. The biopsy was just to make sure since it's far more indicative than the other tests. As I told a few people during the last 10 days, "the news is as good as it possibly can be while one is waiting for biopsy results."

I'm glad the biopsy followed the expected script without any unwelcome plot twists right at that point. The rest of my life has more than enough plot twists these days, thank you very much.

Speaking of those, yes, I'm on Basement Flood #2. The warm weather is a mixed blessing. Yes, I hope it's thawing my frozen pipe. That'd be good. The not-so-good is that all of that drip-drip-dripping of melting snow and ice means there's a lot of water sitting on top of frozen ground and still-frozen ice underneath my back deck, and the flood plain includes the basement door. Water is seeping in under the edge of the door.

I spent the last hour and more chipping ice, and using a squeegee, mop, and shovel to remove about 20 gallons of water from under the deck (outside) and about another gallon or two inside. It's a losing battle, of course. There's still an inch or two (or three) of ice covering most of the problem area. The channel I tried to make to draw water away from the house might be doing that, but it might be funneling more toward the house. Mostly, it forms a little lake, and when the lake fills, at least some of the overflow heads toward the basement door and inside.

So far, once the water from Flood #2 gets inside, it isn't getting as far as the carpeted areas. That's good. The part that's a concern is that the water came in much faster/further in the three hours I was home tonight than it did during the three hours I was gone this afternoon. And there's a lot more ice to melt before the area under the deck is clear.

Y'know those 60# tube-shaped bags of sand that they sell for improved winter traction? I had one of those in the garage, so I hauled it downstairs and plopped it up against the edge of the door on the outside.

[Two hour interlude for more flood control]

So, I went downstairs to see how the sandbag was doing. I feel like Bullwinkle. Y'all can play the part of Rocky: "But that trick never works!"

My concern was well-founded, too. Water was coming in faster, and was up to (and probably beyond) the edge of the interior wall that has carpet on the other side. Triage. Damage control. Use dry towels to sop up water next to the wall. Spin sodden towels, then put in dryer. Move outside to remove more water before it gets in. Empty lake with scoop shovel, dumping water into 18 gallon Rubbermaid bin. Empty it into safe zone when it's about half full. Do it again. Come back inside, intent on heading upstairs to remove remaining ice and snow from deck so there's less to melt and drip below. Notice more water dangerously close to finished areas of basement. Mop more. Notice more water seeping under door. Back outside to empty the lake again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

About the fourth time I was going to go upstairs "this time for sure," I detoured over to the toy room, just to confirm I didn't have a water problem over near the bar. Yeah, right. Run wet vac after shoes go splish-splosh. Do that 'til I can't stand it any more. Check basement door before heading upstairs. Yeah, you know the drill. One more detour, this time to use dry towels to soak up more water from carpet in toy room. It's also a good way to discover where the water is and how much is there. Spread towels on suspect areas. Stand on 'em. Shuffle feet a bit. Bear weight down. Move along; observe patterns of footprints on the towels. No footprint = dry. Thoroughly soaked towel = sodden. Damp towel = perimeter. (Usually. Water isn't all that weird, but supposedly level concrete has odd dips for water to settle in.)

Put towels back in dryer. Empty lake, mop floor, empty lake, make a mad, determined dash for upstairs. Finally remove several hundred pounds of slush and ice chunks from deck. Lots of instant gratification in that, and it's very satisfying to pick up a huge, loose chunk of ice and hurl it over the edge and down the hillside below. One especially large chunk Stonehenges. Nailed that one! Sticks up a couple feet from the snowbank; catches me off guard looming in the dark before I realize what it is.

Deck clear, head back downstairs for more flood control. Lots less water dripping from deck; satisfaction on that front. Lake still filling up, though. Water seeping under door. Etc. This time, the squeegee really proves it's worth. I've found a direction to push water from the lake where it doesn't just come pouring back into it. Process is multi-stage. Squeegee 3-4 feet away, then across, across, across -- quickly! Most of the water seeps into the snow, beyond the edge of the flood plain.

I didn't slip on the slick, water-covered ice even once. No slips, no falls. Good. But I was grateful to have a cell phone in my pocket. If I did fall (without landing on that hip and breaking the phone), I'd be able to call for help. Things you think of when living by yourself on 4 acres of woods, doing the best you can with flood control at 4am on a Saturday night. If I hollered for help, I'd most likely be mistaken for the coyotes, if anyone heard me at all.

Finally come upstairs. Remove sodden hat. Remove sodden sweater. Discover silk blouse is completely soaked, too, and still doing what silk does so well: providing warmth. Take it off anyway, hang it in downstairs shower with sweater to dry. Likewise jeans. Don't want the set the computer on a sodden lap, or sit on my leather sofa and soak it down, too. Find snuggly hoodie in hall closet. Warm and dry. Neat.

Write update. Realize with relief that I can't do anything more useful downstairs without going upstairs for dry clothes first. Bed is upstairs. Sleep is good. The basement will no doubt continue flooding for several hours; perhaps more. I've done what I can tonight. I'll do more after I sleep. Presuming I manage to drag myself out of bed ever again.

This isn't even a bad flood, as far as flooded basements go. It sure is a persistent one, though.

The Magic 8 Ball sez: "Answer wet; ask again later."

Or maybe that should be "Answer wet; mop again later."

Anyway, well...anyway. That's where things s/o/a/k/ stand.

Date: 2007-03-11 11:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lauriemann.livejournal.com
Well, like I said yesterday, it sucks to own your house.

Congrats on the good medical news - that makes a huge difference.

Date: 2007-03-11 03:25 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
Yep and yep. Thanks!

Date: 2007-03-11 01:07 pm (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
The good medical news sounds like a big relief; basement floods are no fun, but they're not as bad as serious health problems.

Date: 2007-03-11 03:26 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
Exactly. Thanks.

Date: 2007-03-11 01:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] papersky.livejournal.com
I'm so glad you're OK. It's easier to mend house pipes than body pipes!

Date: 2007-03-11 03:27 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
True! With bonus points for cleverness.

Date: 2007-03-11 01:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cogitationitis.livejournal.com
Last year, during flood season, I bought a couple of garden fountain pumps--everything else was sold out. Sounds like one in the middle of your 'lake', with a hose downhill, would be a good investment. Of course, you really need a drainage trench (after mud season is over) and a sump pump.

When our basement got flooded, I took a cue from Arisia and hired a couple of Labor Ready guys to help me bail. Now Mark has a barrel in the cellar with the pump in it, into which he empties the dehumidifier. (I'm never going to be able to build the water garden, sigh.)

Date: 2007-03-11 03:34 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
I've never used a sump pump. Don't they need more than an inch or two of standing water to work? Wikipedia suggests so.

What I really need is the new gutter on the back of the house. On the roofer's advice, we didn't install it last summer, waiting to see if the soffit ventilation he installed resolved what we thought was an ice dam problem. Having looked at the pictures I took before buying the house, I am more convinced it was an ice dam problem before the new roof was installed, not a current one. The ventilation was a darned good idea anyway, but last night I really, really, really wished the gutter was in place!

You'd...

Date: 2007-03-11 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lsanderson.livejournal.com
Probably need a sump for the pump. They usually have a float switch that only activates after a set level of water is reached. Expensive to retrofit indoors unless there's a clear target area (and convenient sloping floors, and kinda hard to keep thawed outdoors.

Date: 2007-03-11 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sleigh.livejournal.com
YAY!! on the biopsy results!

BOO!! to the basement -- well, to the water in it, anyway. :-)

Date: 2007-03-11 03:34 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
Agreed and agreed. Thanks!

Date: 2007-03-11 01:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] filkerdave.livejournal.com
The good medical news sounds wonderful. The house pipes new less so, but that's just "stuff" -- PITA, but in the end, mainly repairable.

Date: 2007-03-11 03:39 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
You're spot on. The flooding isn't even doing that much damage -- not compared to floods I've seen and heard of in other friend's basement. While I mopped, I kept thinking of the photos in Robert Polidori's =After the Flood=. This was just water on the basement floor; I know how destructive significant flooding is.

Date: 2007-03-11 02:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cakmpls.livejournal.com
I'm so glad that the medical news is good.

Our basement leak looks like nothing compared to your ordeal, but still involves ice removal and the dreaded shop vac. Ugh.

Date: 2007-03-11 03:46 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
Thanks; I'm really glad, too. And if it hadn't been, well, I would have dealt with it, like too many friends and fans find themselves doing these days.

When I read your post yesterday about your basement carpet going "squish" when you walked on it, I knew exactly what you meant. Good luck! (And see my post this morning for the "Duh!" moment your reply prompted. Thanks -- it will help me remember to try the shop vac in situations I might not otherwise think of it.

Date: 2007-03-11 02:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fla-sunshine.livejournal.com
How can I say I am relieved to hear your good medical news when I didn't know to be worried? ;)

Now you can focus on the mearly annoying mundane job of being a homeowner. Good luck.

Date: 2007-03-11 03:48 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
I know what you mean. Thanks!

How's [livejournal.com profile] jcbemis? No more unwelcome bumps and twists in her recovery from last week's surgery, I hope!

Date: 2007-03-12 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fla-sunshine.livejournal.com
Saw her today - no new problems and she's feeling well enough to be grumpy about having to rearrange the pill schedule that her nurse had set for her (it was missing a couple of pills and had her taking a pill between meals that SHOULD have been take with food).

Date: 2007-03-11 03:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galtine1.livejournal.com
I'm glad to read that all ALL is better.

Not sure when I'll see you next, but let's have a drink to celebrate!

Date: 2007-03-11 04:02 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
Thanks, dear!

Um, er, I haven't mentioned the Fatty Liver Disease that has my doctor telling me to avoid alcohol yet, have I? After a bunch of reading and conversation with additional informed sources, I've cut back but not totally eliminated what was already a very modest amount of alcohol in my life. So if the season's right, I'll make mine a hot cocoa. With cinnamon, of course! But, yes, a celebration is certainly in order. When's iffy. I'm most likely missing Westercon this year in order to attend the [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha's 10th Anniversary festivities. Midwestcon is looking like a possibility. Then there's Smofcon, of course. That'd work!

P.S. Did the box arrive?

Lay o' the Land..

Date: 2007-03-11 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lsanderson.livejournal.com
I don't remember the lay of the land from your basement, but have you considered things like a roof heating cable if it's downhill? One would keep a channel open for its length. Obviously, if it's not downhill, probably not a good idea. Some kinda pump probably a good investment.

Great news on the medical front.

Re: Lay o' the Land..

Date: 2007-03-11 04:09 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
See the reply I just made to [livejournal.com profile] cogitationitis. I expect that installing the new gutter will help rather a lot. I might need to make a practice of removing snow from the deck, too. That'd be a pain.

Date: 2007-03-11 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dlacey.livejournal.com
What everybody else said. I'm so glad to hear you're okay.

Date: 2007-03-11 04:10 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
Thanks! See you at Minicon!

Date: 2007-03-11 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pameladean.livejournal.com
Wow, I'm glad to hear about the biopsy results. I had some of those symptoms and a biopsy too, back in the mid-nineties. For normal things, they can sure be scary.

I am never going to carpet a basement. Never. It's just asking for trouble. I hope you never have Flood No. 3. Enough is enough.

P.

Yikes and Hooray!

Date: 2007-03-11 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm glad to hear all is normal and benign. Ick. Too bad about the basement though.

I'm not sure if I remember right but did you say you would be in town the last weekend of this month? I seem to recall something like that from David's LJ. Because he may work Friday the 30th but I don't and OPH sounds lovely for breakfast. Maybe we could get some other people to join us also like the minnehahas and Laura Jean.

Yikes and Hooray!

Date: 2007-03-11 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] buttonlass.livejournal.com
I'm glad to hear all is normal and benign. Ick. Too bad about the basement though.

I'm not sure if I remember right but did you say you would be in town the last weekend of this month? I seem to recall something like that from David's LJ. Because he may work Friday the 30th but I don't and OPH sounds lovely for breakfast. Maybe we could get some other people to join us also like the minnehahas and Laura Jean.

Re: Yikes and Hooray!

Date: 2007-03-11 05:10 pm (UTC)
ext_73228: Headshot of Geri Sullivan, cropped from Ultraman Hugo pix (Default)
From: [identity profile] gerisullivan.livejournal.com
Thanks.

Yes, you remember correctly. I'm set to arrive in Minneapolis on the 27th. Friday the 30th sounds great for an OPH breakfast! Gavi will be on spring break; she and Susan are likely to be interested in they're not otherwise scheduled. Maybe even [livejournal.com profile] fredcritter if we do it in the window of time between when he gets off work and when he goes to sleep. I'll check into that. The [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha's and [livejournal.com profile] mizzlaurajean are most excellent possibilities, too!

Apple pancake. Yum. (In December, I had one in a non-OPH restaurant in Lansing, MI. It was...um...different. Not horrible, but wrong. Not nearly enough eggs in the batter. And not cooked right, either. I've been longing for an OPH apple pancake ever since.)

Date: 2007-03-11 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] buttonlass.livejournal.com
Ok sorry about that. Something went horribly awry when I hit post.:)

Date: 2007-03-11 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] threeringedmoon.livejournal.com
So glad the news was good. I've done my own waiting for the surgery/biopsy results, and it is no fun at all.

Date: 2007-03-11 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smofbabe.livejournal.com
*whew* Glad the ordeal of waiting for the test results had a happy ending. There are few things more nerve-wracking, as I recall from the biopsy they did on my throat polyp.

And glad the drip-drip has ended, too. Hope the siege of water is gone for good and the repairs aren't too expensive.

Date: 2007-03-11 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mjlayman.livejournal.com
I'm glad the biopsy results were good!

As to the basement, if the concrete isn't sealed, it's absorbing water, too. You'll need to take the rugs up to get them dry or they'll just keep glomming water from the concrete.

(I still have half the floor of my condo in concrete. I had just about saved enough for laminate but had to put in a new shower. Now I'm saving again.)

Date: 2007-03-12 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrsmodew.livejournal.com
Congrats on the biopsy results!

I feel ya on the basement flooding. It hasn't started here yet, but it will anytime. Boo.

Date: 2007-03-12 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kate-schaefer.livejournal.com
Way to go on the biopsy.

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