Monday 26 Sep 2016

Sump Pump
Jennifer Flaten

As I type away, I faintly heard the soothing sound of rain beating on the roof. Wait, a minute, just seconds ago I looked out the window and it was clear. Oh my, I raced downstairs to discover water slowly oozing across the basement floor

Really, I hope it’s not another broken appliance or mechanical. Please, gawds of home maintenance, I am humbly sorry for angering you. I promise I will sacrifice a virgin, Do it Yourself Home Repair book, in your honor, if you will just make it stop.

After strapping on a snorkel and swim fins I attempted to find the source of the water. I discover the culprit, the sump pump. A piece of home mechanics that I confess to knowing little about, my understanding is the sump pumps major purpose is to prevent the Nile from flowing across my laundry room, a task which it is failing miserably at currently.  

Okay, so how did the water, which is supposed to be either in the deep hole in my basement floor or flowing happily up the tube, out of my basement end, up spraying across the basement? After considering gremlins and dismissing them, they prefer William Shatner and airplanes, I realize it is my old archenemy, no not that one, the other one, the season, spring.


Although the lovely spring weather melted all the snow from last weekend, an unfortunate side effect was the formation of a large puddle in my backyard. Actually, it is more of a small lake. I saw some ducks checking it out for a possible spring retreat.

To paraphrase Frankenstein, water bad or, at least, it is when massive quantities of it accumulate in my back yard. On the plus side, the drainage in my yard is fast; on the negative side, it quickly drains directly into my basement.

I remember looking out the window and seeing the puddle in the morning, when I looked out again in the afternoon the puddle was gone.  It was slowly seeping into the basement. This confirms, again, why I am not a science major, I failed to realize the water hadn’t evaporated, but relocated.

Now that I know why I have an indoor pool, I need to fix it. I step over the mutinous sump pump and do what all non-mechanical people do: I give it a poke. That angered the sump pump, to teach me a lesson, began spewing what felt like 10 gallons of water, at an extremely high speed, at my face.


A little known fact about me is I hate water in my face, especially icy cold sump pump water. Luckily, I had yet to apply for my conceal carry permit or I would have shot the sump pump in cold blood. Soggy and thinking mutinous thoughts of my own, I flipped off the power switch for the sump pump.

I consulted my handbook of home repair. Okay, I called my dad. His advice “Stick your hand down in the crock and adjust the pump.”

The crock is a deep, mysterious hole in the basement floor. I need to stick my hand down there, honestly. Where is the crew of This Old House when you need them?

Fine, if sticking my hand in the Morlock hole is what is necessary to stem the tide, I will do it. Since I am here writing this, you can rightly assume I didn’t fall down the rabbit hole. I also managed to suck up all the water with my handy dandy shop vac.

I am considering moving into a nice safe bubble.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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