Honey, I’m Home!

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Honey, I'm Home!

Hubby and I arrived back home in New York State last Wednesday. We split the drive from St. Augustine to Buffalo into two days, stopping midway in Virginia. The ride to and from is approximately 16 hours. We like to stop every two hours to switch drivers and to stretch our legs. I have a tendency to drive longer than two hours, so having Max with us is really helpful – it forces me to stop at the two hour mark for Max, so he can take a potty break, get water, and walk off some energy.

For me, I get out of the car and hear the creaks and groans. I can’t imagine what I am going to be like in 20 years if I fall out of the car now! Hubby likes to stretch his back, so stopping and walking every two hours benefits him too.

Now normally the first day we aim to leave closer to 9am to miss rush hour in Buffalo going south, and Jacksonville coming north. The second day is more fluid as the only places we drive through with any traffic at all is metro-Pittsburgh and metro-Buffalo. This past Thursday, we left the hotel day 2 at 7:30am because Hubby wanted to pick up mail before we got to our house. We have a UPS store box, and they were fabulous about forwarding mail as requested. We had stopped requesting two weeks ago, and Hubby and I had both ordered some things, so they were very happy to see us too! I swear between the boxes and the mail, we emptied the place.

Pulling into the driveway, Hubby made the comment that the snowplow guys were definitely done for the season as they had removed “their sticks”. To which I replied, “They were our sticks! I had put them in in the ground as guides!”

Things got better from there …

I opened the garage door so Hubby could pull out his vehicle and I could pull mine in for ease of unloading (2.5 car garage, but two cars seldom fit in there at the same time without jiggering some junk). Hubby then discovered that his little Honda wouldn’t start. Dead battery.

We unloaded from the driveway.

Going into the house, I immediately noticed it smelled kind of funny. It had smelled like this a few years ago when we didn’t shut the water off when we went to Florida for a month – like stagnant water was sitting in the drains. On this trip down south we had my brother shut the water off after the staircase was refinished, so I had no idea what the smell could be.

As I started to unload the car, Hubby went down the basement to turn on the water, and light the hot water tank. He noticed there was a slight trickle of water flowing from the faucet in the basement wash-tub. My brother had turned the water off, the water pressure wasn’t there when I tried the water (you know how you get those WHOOSH, WHOOSHes while the water spits out after the water has been off? That DID happen after Hubby turned the water on), and Hubby did have to turn the lever to get the water back on. It’s a real mystery.

While down the basement, Hubby noticed a lot of knocked over buckets and boxes. Turns out we had some water in parts (but thankfully not all) the basement. What makes this very odd is we have a sump pump, and the sump pump has a water backup, AND we have a whole house generator! Even if the water flowed in, the sump pump should have taken it out asap.

The water back-up resulted in rusting on the hot water tank (the furnaces were fine, it didn’t go that high), and Hubby was unable to light it. We called our plumber at 6:30pm, and he came right out (they are awesome! I first discovered these guys years ago when living in my old house when that sump pump died, and I had to leave for Hubby’s Mom’s house in Vegas on December 26th. I called them late on December 24th and they came right over and installed a new sump pump so I could leave during the thaw.) The part on the hot water tank had corrosion and the plumber blew something out and did something else to get the tank lit. $225 later we had hot water.

Of course Hubby asked the plumber about the back-up while the plumber was here.

The plumber said said it is plumbing CSI to try and figure it out, and we may never know. We had he drains and bubbler cleared out last year after the roof and gutters were done, so that shouldn’t have been blocked. We have the whole house generator, so the sump pump shouldn’t have stopped working (and the water backup REALLY means it shouldn’t have stopped working). We do have a full bathroom down the basement, and Hubby thinks it may have come up that tub. Hubby thought we had a check-value, but the plumber said usually not – if the water wants to come in, it will come in, so if not through a tub, it could come in an upstairs toilet! Better not to have a house or tub check-value. My father thinks the bubbler could have frozen, it was so cold. We may never find out. All I know is nearly all my things were up off the floor and/or in plastic containers, so my stuff is little damaged. Hubby was not so fortunate. Papers, books, cardboard boxes – bagster to the rescue! Well, as Hubby put it, I had been after him to clean up his basement junk, and now he “has to!” (But wow it will take a few days.)

Then, our banister was supposed to have been completed before we came home. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it wasn’t. We arrived home to no stair railings or banister on the second floor. For myself, I didn’t mind – pictures for a post!! And Max didn’t care because he always walks up the stairs near the wall anyway. Hubby just wanted everyone safe, so we were extra special until the weekend.

And that also meant we didn’t have a kitchen table top either. The same person is refinishing the table top that is doing the banister. The side finish has worn off the top due to elbows, so we need it stripped, re-stained and conversion varnished. Hubby put a folding table on top of it so we won’t hurt ourselves on the keyhole trestle left behind.

Tip: if you go away for a few months and clean out the refrigerator before you leave, clean the shelves too! Unless you enjoy Petri dish experiments that is.

The backyard and front yard have a lot of downed tree branches, but none are very large. We had a horrible storm seven or eight years ago, and so had the trees trimmed. I am trying to decide if I am lazy enough to wait for the lawn guys to do a spring clean-up, or if I will work on the lawn and gardens myself – at least removing the small debris.

And Max quickly returned to his old bad around-the-house habits of not listening, expecting me to be at his beck-and-slider-call (he thinks I am a doorman), and thinking we are his personal toy-slaves.

All in all, there were a lot of little problems when we got home, but nothing that some time and some money can’t cure. It is good to be home. 🙂

• For more Ann’s Entitled Life Florida posts, click here.
• For more Ann’s Entitled Life New York posts, click here.
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  1. Ann, it could have also just been ground water run off. There was so much snow and it all melts and will travel through anything it can and into your basement. I had this happen in my old home and that was a mystery to us, because we had been robbed and the entire water meter and all the copper piping was stolen and we had no water on either because of this. Flooding has been an issue this past winter with all the precip.

    Glad you are home!

    • I will tell Hubby that one, Debb. Something definitely came up through that tub, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t come in somewhere else too.


  2. Wow sorry you came home to all that! I can smell in my mind how your house smelled. Just yesterday I walked into a drug store that smelled that way. My only thought was that they have a water issue somewhere! Have you been able to clear the smell out yet? What is bubbler btw?

    • This is a good description, Shell: bubbler.

      The house no longer smells. As soon as the water was turned on and started flowing, the smell dissipated. The basement has been pretty emptied out. We have a full bagster, and Hubby is thinking of getting a second one, or taking the overflow to the dump himself. He also owns a box truck, and he loaded stuff onto that. The upside to all this is he is really emptying out the basement.

      Tomorrow he is on to mopping and spraying some kind of microbial on the basement.

      I think one wall of finished basement is going to come down though, and we will have the basement people in to fill any cracks and put up the membrane. That isn’t related to this, but since we have emptied a lot of the basement, Hubby figures it is a good time to do it.


  3. I feel for you. In the 20 years in this house I discovered that if it has to do with water, it will happen in this house. Sinks, drains, faucets, pipes, garden hoses, down spouts and the roof. Something as simple as the city replacing sewer lines in the middle of the street causes water problems IN my house.

    • Oh Marie, I am so, so sorry.

      For us, the silver lining is all the stuff I have wanted out of the basement the last four years is now out of the basement. Hubby’s down there right now mopping. It hasn’t been this empty since we moved in.


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