Friday 02 Dec 2016

Bailing
Jennifer Flaten

There is no such thing as a minor home repair. All home repairs are like gremlins, cute and fuzzy until it’s after midnight and you accidentally feed them-all of a sudden you have a vicious little bastard out to kill you.

The problem with buying a home is you buy it in one moment of time, like say the hottest, driest summer in the history of the state. So, you have no idea that your neighbour’s backyard collects enough water to qualify as an Olympic swimming pool when it rains.

You also don’t realize that the ground slopes, just ever so slightly so that when the aforementioned neighbor attempts to drain his “pool” a good portion of it arrives in your side yard and takes up residence in your basement window well.

No. This is something you find out at 8 pm, on a Sunday night, when one of your children steps into that corner of the basement to retrieve an errant Nerf dart and suddenly starts shrieking that the floor is wet.

Upon investigation, you will see that the window well now resembles an exhibit at the aquarium minus the exotic fish. Although it doesn’t have fish, it does contain an interesting assortment of floating debris including a squirrel doing the backstroke; hey, is he wearing my scuba mask?

Not only is the floor wet, but the walls and possibly the stuff behind the walls-oh goody more things to fix, but first you have to the water out of the window well. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t keep a bilge pump handy, although I just might after this experience. Instead, I grabbed a bucket and got to work.

I don’t care how lovely the spring night is, spending it bailing out the window well is not, in any way, “romantic.” Nope, even if you’re bailing the window with your spouse, it doesn’t constitute a date. Before you can even ask, the 10p trip to the hardware store to buy caulk also doesn’t qualify as a date. Yes, it is at night, but no it is not a date-in fact, a trip to the hardware store is never a date. 

Let’s talk caulk. No really, I watch this Old House and they are always caulking something. It looks easy, you have a tube, you point it where you want it, give it a squeeze and you’re done. Right? Wrong.

You need a special caulk tube squeezer-which you will not buy on the first trip to the store, so you will be back at the all night hardware store an hour later. After that, you will discover that the gap is actually large enough to fit a magazine in; granted not a thick magazine like Vogue, but definitely an issue of People magazine.

No, I didn’t use the magazine to plug the hole, but don’t think I didn’t consider it.

As I stood there contemplating the size of the gap I needed to fill I realized one tube of caulk was not nearly enough. I also wondered how I never noticed the breeze screaming through the hole, but the windows are far, far away from the laundry room, which is usually my one and only destination in the basement.

Fifteen tubes of caulk later and a nice new friendship with the overnight clerk at the hardware store, the window is sealed. Now, I am pretending I don’t hear the ominous noise coming from the toilet tank.

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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