Water Damage is My Least Favorite Type of Damage

It is my absolute least favorite type of damage. It is horrible and terrible and makes me want to cry.

But we are getting to be PROS at it!

In 2008, Jackson Street flooded in the Midwest Floods. We were lucky : our house sat up about 3 feet higher then our neighbors, so only our basement flooded instead of the downstairs. And by basement flooded, I don’t mean “hey, we have a couple of inches of water.”

I really mean : “Oh, hey. If you open up the basement door, the water is flush with the kitchen floor. That’s cool. One more inch, and my wood floors are toast.” Those are the basement steps under water. And that glove is on the same level as the first floor. Neat, right?

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Also, paint cans float.

It was crazy. People being rescued on boats, walking diapers through the flooded streets to family members with newborns who were trapped in their houses, un-named dogs who had to swim up the street to go to the bathroom (ahem. Reese.)

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“Guys. I’m not going potty on the deck. That’s just gross. Get in this swamp-like flood water and swim me to dry land. That seems more sanitary to me.”
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Note : Not our car.
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The National Guard and friends rescuing the elderly. Seriously.

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The Coast Guard in Indiana even came to help.

Yup. You read that right. We have Coast Guard. In Indiana.

The problem for us was – everything we owned that normal people would have in a garage, was in our basement, due to the fact that did not, in fact, own a garage. So, after the flood waters went away, friends came over and we emptied out the whole basement to see what we could save. The city put dumpsters everywhere. The whole city smelled awesome for a while.

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It looked like a garage sale of very soaked and rusty items.

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And then we bought Martin Place. And since the roof had failed, or jumped three stories to its death, we – once again – were dealing with the aftermath of water. Roof damage, even minor, can lead to serious and completely frustrating issues in your home. Consult with a reputable company like Roofs By Rodger to prevent significant harm to your investment (and your sanity).

The living room plaster and ceiling were damaged…..

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…….this hole in the ceiling and more plaster damage….

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….and whatever this is.

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So, during the winter when we weren’t at The Cottage a whole lot, we turned off the water so pipes wouldn’t burst. They DID burst, though, because of all of the polar vortex nonsense. But since the water was off, no big deal (or, just a medium deal). What we didn’t expect was a few weeks later to find that another pipe had burst – while the water was off – underneath the cut-off valve for the main entrance of water to the house.

The BEST part? Because of snow storms and such, we hadn’t been over there to check on the house in about a week, so we’re pretty sure the water was going into the house for DAYS before we discovered it.

And by water going into the house, I mean THIS:


We had to wait for an after-hours plumber to come down from Indy to turn the water off at the main. Meanwhile, I ran to Lowe’s and got two dehumidifiers, because even though the water was in the Utility Room, and spraying away from the rest of the house, the sheer amount of water caused the whole house to be covered in a thick sweat of water.

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Water stains covered the newly-painted walls –

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This ceiling fell and took the light fixture with it. (But, let’s be honest. I hated that acoustical tile ceiling anyway.)

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And all the woodwork I had spent weeks and weeks on, was damaged. I was just heartsick.

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After the plumber left, we went home and felt awful – it felt like 90% of what we had done in the house now had to be re-done.

After this, I bawled myself to sleep for the first time in as long as I can remember. It was, honestly, the first time since trying to restore two houses at once that I thought, “This is too much. We can’t do this. We’re over our heads.” Feeling helpless is not a place I like to be, and I feel very, very…. not ME when I feel helpless.

But there were some good things : Mainly, that the hardwood floors that we were in the middle of installing, seemed to fare OK once the dehumidifiers did their thing for a few days. I decided to focus on that. And the amount of people that offered to help us…. amazing. You’ll meet them in the next post.

So, I did what I do best. I made lists. Lists of Lists. Folders of Lists. When I feel overwhelmed, lists give me control of my life. Fun fact : sometimes I’ll even buy a new notebook and transfer my lists, just because it makes me feel like I’m starting something great. I’m addicted to journals and notebooks.

In fact, I’ll take a picture right now of just the ones I can reach without moving from my computer.

Ridiculous. And perfect.

Notebooks and Chandeliers. That would have been a good blog name to describe me.

So, it was a setback. And frustrating. And heartbreaking. But we’re back in control, have a plan of action, and got very much back on track because of our friends.

And I have a list. We’ll be fine.




  1. I’m still slowly working through your blog. This post made me swear a lot. I can’t even. I’ve had one water emergency that was more like a “hey the bathroom faucet drips” compared to these things (It was bigger than that, I just thankfully happened to be home to shut off the main quickly). Anyways, wow. Just wow.

  2. Oh dang. So sorry for all the water struggles you’ve had. It will pass and you’ll recover the home. Stick with it. Good luck!

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