Like most of the East Coast, we had a rainy day on Wednesday, August 13th. I watched the images of flooded streets on the news all day, being thankful I did not have to deal with that. But I was wrong. We lost power at 8:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday. I called the power company at 8:40 PM to report the outage, and then waited. Gus went to bed, and I listened to the rain as it pounded the house. What started as a gentle rain earlier in the day was now a deluge. Though our house sits up on the crest of the hill, there is still a lot of run-off and there is a French drain and sump pump system in the basement of this house to deal with it all. The landlord even installed a back-up battery for when the power fails to keep the basement dry. When the power was still out at midnight, I was concerned, but I checked the basement before going to bed and all was well, so I went to bed and fell into a restless sleep. At 4:30 the next morning I woke up as Gus was leaving for work. We were still without power and, as he drove out of the driveway I heard an ominous sound in the basement. I opened the door to see water already 3 inches deep on the floor! I immediately called Gus and asked him to return to help me, as I could not deal with this on my own. Then I called the landlord. Next, I donned my tall rubber boots and headed down into the basement to see what I could save!
Once Gus arrived we moved out as much stuff as we could off the floor. Then all we could do was wait for the landlord to arrive with a generator. The wind had blown so hard it blew my bird feeder open and all the seed got wet. With hungry birds calling form the trees, I went and dumped the wet seed and refilled feeders.
But Gus and the landlord had to leave. The power did not come on until 9:30 a.m.! When the landlord saw the utility crews he asked them why it took so long. They said they did not receive a call until 4:30 AM! But that is not true because I called 10 minutes after the power went out the night before and I have my cell phone record to prove it! Once the power was back on, I called my son to see if he could come and help me. I could not lift all these boxes by myself. Fortunately he did not have to work on Thursday, so he came right down. Chris helped me haul stuff out of the basement.
Chris put this shelving unit together for me. We already had two in the basement and I bought two more. By the end of Thursday, August 14th, I was exhausted! The next morning I was alone with my task, as Gus had to go to work and there was no one to help me. When I went downstairs in the morning and saw all the water still on the floor and all the stuff that still had to be hauled outside, I felt overwhelmed! I feared mold and mildew growing in every nook and cranny! I wanted to cry, but crying doesn’t clean the basement, so I went inside and ate my breakfast, then got to work.
Meanwhile, a pair of carpenters spent the day here putting in new basement windows with screens, so now we could open them! The carpenters and I were all racing the weather as more rain showers were predicted for the afternoon. We both got our tasks down just as the rain started to fall! I had to bring some stuff inside the house just to get it out of the rain. I did not have time to sit outside and sort through it all!
A kind neighbor had let us use his dehumidifier. We ran it for 36 hours. On Saturday Gus was home and the landlord came back with his own dehumidifier and some larger fans. The landlord, Gus and I hauled more stuff out of the basement.
I started to have hope as the floors continued to dry!
Since my son, Chris was away for the weekend I called my nephew, Jason, to see if he could come and help us. It is very hard to admit we are getting older and cannot do the things we use to do, but we needed some young man muscles to help us! Jason went right to work. He knew just what to do. I was so impressed with him!
It has to stay out here until the concrete dries out.
I woke early and restless Sunday morning. Gus was still asleep. I could not face one more day in this house, so I made a cup of tea, fed the birds and the cats, and got in my car and ran away from home! I didn’t go far. Only over to Wharton Point where, amazingly, I had the place to myself!
I arrived just as the tide was going out, revealing mudflats and birds! I always check the eBird Hotspot for this location and I would often see others who had seen so many shorebirds, but I would rarely see any that were close enough for me to identify. On this day there were yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and a Semipalmated Plover! herons, egrets and gulls were everywhere, as well as some Common Terns and sparrows.
It started to rain as soon as I arrived, so I dashed for cover under this tall oak tree. I left my camera in the car as i did not want it to get wet. In awhile the rain stopped and I took my camera and stood on the cement boat ramp to watch birds. there were many more birds in the distance that I could not identify, but there were enough close by that I ended up with 29 species of birds, including a Nelson’s Sparrow! How wonderful it was to find myself so delighted by the birds and the beauty of nature! Ninety minutes later when it started to rain again and some other birders showed up, I decided to go home. This much needed break gave me the renewal I needed to go back and deal with the rest of the mess.
But, this house is so small, and I cannot WAIT to restore order and a sense of calm!
Until the flood I was all set to finish up my blog posts about Chris Rohrer’s visit! Now some of that will have to wait as I will be busy with this mess, plus family, plus birding! Then, we will have to reorganize the basement and all that stuff will have to go back down there somehow or another! In the meantime, I keep on counting the birds in my yard and wherever else I can find them! Migration is already underway up here in Maine with new birds showing up in my yard everyday. I am suddenly seeing warblers and more sparrows. Yesterday I had an Eastern Kingbird here again, and on the Friday after the flood I found a Tennessee Warbler in my yard making it Yard Bird number 97! Only three more to go before I reach 100 species in the yard! Life is still good!
I want to give a big shout out to my neighbor, Tom for letting us use his dehumidifier until the landlord could bring one down.
Thank you to my son, Chris for his emotional help as well as his brains and brawn in helping me on Thursday.
Thank you to my landlord for all he did to help, especially bringing the generator and for helping haul stuff out of the basement on Saturday.
And a big Thank You to Jason for coming so quickly and helping Uncle Gus and I! Andrea made a good choice when she married you!