Son of a Flood

Remember that relaxing weekend we promised each other? We half-kept our word, but for good reason. After spending a great Saturday being a tourist in our own city (with the hub’s folks in tow) – from double decker bus tours, Garrett’s popcorn, and sinful burgers off the beaten path – we came home that night with full bellies and ready to hit the sack.

A heavier-than-normal rain shower on Friday night had other plans for our Sunday. We knew our hot water heater lost the fight since we’ve been without a warm, relaxing shower. But after venturing down into our building’s basement storage unit on Sunday, we realized things were much worse. Like punch you in the face, knock down and drag out, this-ain’t-gonna-be-fun kind of worse. Who we were kidding by thinking our belongings were safe in our stacked, durable clear bins? We were about to find out that those bins were no match for the come-and-gone 3′ flood. Here’s how we found them:

We spent our Sunday elbows deep in murky waters, armed with plastic gloves, garbage bags, and a bottle of bleach. After filing a claim with our homeowner’s insurance, we could do nothing other than document our losses (and cry over the 3 bins of childhood photos, yearbooks, and noteworthy newspaper clippings that were damaged beyond repair). We salvaged what we could and mourned the loss of seasonal decor, outdoor gear, and – gasp – a heckuva lot of camera gear (seen submerged, above).

We did, however, treat ourselves to dinner in the ‘hood. No Sunday-fend-for-yourself nonsense. A day like that required heaping plates of pasta and good wine. Comfort food. (We had to find that silver lining somewhere.) So now to add another to-do on the ol’ list – sturdy, strong shelving in the storage unit to get those bins off that floor. Lesson learned.

Update: The Chicago area declares disaster (even the string of restaurants where we dined had a limited menu and cash only signage). The hubs talked to our insurance adjuster this morning and unfortunately water damage is not covered under our policy. What. A. Bummer. We are, however, drawing out possible shelving solutions as I type. We will not be fooled twice!

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  • jodi - July 26, 2010 - 8:20 AM

    oh no!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - July 26, 2010 - 8:30 AM

    O…how I know that pain from our basement flooding days. It’s no fun and frustrating. I am sorry to hear about your loss :-(ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - July 26, 2010 - 9:17 AM

    Oh no! This makes me want to cry. I’m so sorry this happened to you!ReplyCancel

  • Tina B - July 26, 2010 - 9:53 AM

    Oh no!!!!! So sorry, you guys!!!! :(ReplyCancel

  • Jacquelin Seybert - July 26, 2010 - 9:57 AM

    That is awful. So sorry about the flood.ReplyCancel

  • jill - July 26, 2010 - 9:59 AM

    ah son of a bitch!!!! seriously sorry you lost some nostalgia. *tear* i just hope you get a good stack of dough from your insurance! and i’m glad you went and got some pasta. that’s all you could do.ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - July 26, 2010 - 10:15 AM

    That is horrible! I would have been a complete wreck. Not to mention what a pain in the rear the cleanup must have been. 3 feet of water seems a bit much – doesn’t your building have a sump pump or anything?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 26, 2010 - 10:26 AM

      Thank you, everyone! It is definitely an unfortunate situation, and Scott and I are trying to dry as many of the old class notes and nostalgic photos on our patio right now. The sun is drying it all up, but it is sad to see all those memories ruined. We’re doing what we can!

      Hi Jane, we do have a sump pump with a battery back up, but unfortunately we received 9″ inches of rain in less than a day and it overwhelmed the city’s sewer system! Not fun at all. The high water mark on our basement storage doors is a good 3′ high, which was a surprise even to us.ReplyCancel

  • Nichole @ Sparrow's Nest - July 26, 2010 - 10:47 AM

    ooooo…That. SUCKS. Bad!!! I’m so sorry. Never fun when you have to have gills in your own basement! Hang in there!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - July 26, 2010 - 12:09 PM

    Oh no! That’s horrible! I hope things get cleared up quickly!ReplyCancel

  • chrystie - July 26, 2010 - 12:20 PM

    Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry, what a nightmare! I wish you two the best. Good idea to dry things out the best you can. Maybe you can even take pictures of some of the things once they dry out and then toss them. There is always a silver lining, that’s for sure. I’m sure you’ll end up with way better camera equipment, and now you have the space to store some of your newer memories. Good luck…food helps :)ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - July 26, 2010 - 12:41 PM

    oh my heart hurts for you!! what a shame :( I agree with Jill…I hope you get a boat load of cash from your insurance :)ReplyCancel

  • Christina - July 26, 2010 - 1:30 PM

    We feel your pain down here in Nashville! We weren’t necessarily prepared for all the flooding either. I’m sorry to hear about this.ReplyCancel

  • Amie - July 26, 2010 - 6:33 PM

    Oh that is just the worst news ever! So awful. I hate losing old photos. A bunch of mine got ruined a long time ago, and after that I took them to a company that scanned them all onto a cd-r using a super high resolution scanner, so if anything happens to them I’ve got hard copies. I can sleep a little easier, and it was definitely worth the money!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 26, 2010 - 6:47 PM

      Amie, that thought crossed my mind. I even thought about scanning what I could on my own, but there are just hundreds of them! Aside from the photos, I’m mostly sad to see old notes and cards from friends damaged beyond repair. And even worse – we think all of the items from Scott’s memory bin is gone for good. All the books and photos were so water logged, it took two grown men to just barely lift it off the floor. Fingers crossed – there’s still some hope!ReplyCancel

  • just a girl - July 26, 2010 - 6:41 PM

    OH NO! This is terrible! I’m new to your blog, but also a Chicago resident — I hope things are somewhat salvageable.ReplyCancel

  • ann - July 26, 2010 - 7:42 PM

    Kim and Scott = I got tears in my eyes reading this and seeing the photo. We had such a great day Saturday and we’re so sad your weekend ended this way. I hope you can save a lot, and Scott I probably have duplicates of a lot of your photos, or at least similar ones if that would help. Love you!ReplyCancel

  • michael - July 26, 2010 - 8:45 PM

    damn, sorry guys. sucks :(ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - July 27, 2010 - 8:46 AM

    Yes, those Chicago rains have been horrendous!! I live in a garden condo in Rogers Park and had my flooring damaged! Thankfully insurance is picking up the cost :( Good luck to all of your belongings in storage! And lets hope the rain isn’t so bad the rest of the year!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 27, 2010 - 9:52 AM

      Oh, Ashley! We hope your belongings didn’t get too damaged and that you were able to save a lot! Rain, rain, go away.ReplyCancel

  • Julialifeisart - July 27, 2010 - 2:21 PM

    Oh, how heartbreaking! My sister lost almost all of her photography equipment (and negatives!) in a basement flood. So sad!!!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - July 28, 2010 - 10:13 AM

    A few years ago my garden level condo flooded and I also live in Chicago. $67,000 worth of losses and Insurance doesn’t as a standard cover floods. They are believe floods are acts of God. They do however cover your refrigerator contents up to possibly $1,000.00. So if you were without power, which likely you where as it was really rough here. You might be able to claim your fridge contents. It seems insane, but if you can provide a list of all of your awesome wine, champagne, caviar and organic veggies and meats you might be able to recover some money.

    You might want to also ask your Association to add a sewer back up rider to your policy. You likely didn’t flood from water coming in through your basements windows, you flooded because the sewers couldn’t handle the flow and backed up in to your basement. Key is though if you add the rider, you can’t refer to it as flooding, only as “Water Damage” hot word to an adjustor is flood and being a basement it’s below grade so coverage is zip. The coverage would be the associations and not yours so it would cover the associations property and not your own, so maybe add the rider to your own contents insurance as well. It’s worth a call.

    Good luck, I understand your loss, it is devastating but you will get through it and hopefully your school keeps copies of old yearbooks and your friends made doubles of some of those photos. EBay is handy too. I bought back some stuff, not that it was mine, but it made me happy to re-create my life.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 28, 2010 - 11:46 AM

      Carrie,

      Wow. Thank you for these tips. We have an emergency meeting tonight with our association (since we’re still dealing with the hot water issue), and I’ll have to bring up the sewer back up policy. You’re right – the flood was caused by the city sewers not being able to handle the large amounts of rain in such a short period of time.

      Luckily, believe it or not, we had no power outage, although, it must have flicked off for a hot minute during last Friday night – we had to reset all of our clocks. And since we live on the second floor of a walk up building, there was no flood damage to our home. There is a silver lining after all!

      Your tips are much appreciated. Thank you, thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog - July 28, 2010 - 4:32 PM

    I’m so sorry that this happened to you!! I hope that you can continue to think positive thoughts and try to salvage as much as you can. :(ReplyCancel

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