Sunday, September 7, 2008

Uninsured losses

Hanna's a bitch.

Hurricane Hanna, that is.

What was supposed to be a rainy Sunday spent watching football and eating pot pie began instead with a phone message at 7 a.m. from the landlord. "You've got water in the basement. DON'T USE ANYTHING ELECTRIC. I'm coming over to pump it out."

We were up and out of bed in a hurry. We poked our heads out the door to see what looked like four feet of water sloshing around in the bulkhead. No shit. there were only two or three steps visible. The others were under water. Several hours and two sump pumps later (one was already in the basement, trying like hell and making not much headway, the other was lowered into the bulkhead) the landlord got in with his hip boots. We shut the furnace off early in this adventure. Good thing. All but the top two inches of it were under water.

So now I have come up from several hours of cleaning downstairs. It is nasty down there.

Stuff that I valued and carefully put away in cases and placed on shelves up off the floor is soaked and ruined. Shit I didn't care about that was stacked willy-nilly in buckets everywhere floated and is fine. The high water mark measured 40 inches on the furnace (now shot) and hot water heater (rumored to be ok).

The welder was completely under water. It is drying on a table in the landlord's garage. Its fate is uncertain.

The 4 1/2 inch angle grinder spilled water out of its guts when Laura picked it up off the workbench. Seems the water did go that high. It is drying as well and will take some time before I can tell if it can be salvaged.

The bench grinder has a water mark approximately half way up the motor casing. It, too, is drying.

The jig saw was in its case on a shelf under my workbench and thus ensconced in water. It is drying and the case is draining - it is a hollow plastic thing that now holds water within the confines of its own walls.

The bridge squisher I've been working on did get wet (it is the gray metal structure to the left of the picture - on the table), but had already been primed and has thus suffered very little damage. There are some rust spots on the underside, but they can easily be cleaned up and painted. The wood base that it gets bolted to is shot, though. Soaked and mildewed, it will never recover.

The metal cut-off saw was on the bench, but in the up position, so the motor escaped damage.

The lower two drawers on my upright toolbox were filled with water. The tools there are drying and will probably survive. The vice-grips will probably need grease to work properly, though.

Three separate coils of good rope were soaked and are now hanging on various clothes lines to dry.

Approximately forty-eleven gloves were soaked and are also hanging. They look a little silly, to be honest.

Above is a picture of the corner where I do most of my work. You can see the orange cut-off saw. My inhaler is resting on its cutting surface. It had been on the work bench beside it yesterday. It floated and came to rest where you see it. You can see the water mark on the bench grinder on the right table - about halfway up the big barrel part of it. My welder has already been removed to the garage. It normally lives beneath the workbench, on a shelf eight inches off the floor. That's the most water we've ever had before. The water lapped at the bottom of the shelf, but never got deeper than that.

You can see the buckets and pails strewn everywhere. The gray tote in the middle is holding a bunch of tools to be taken upstairs and dried in the sunshine. The yellow bucket toward the back on the left holds my scrap metal. It is full of water.

Everything got tossed around as though the cellar was picked up and shaken. Things floated all over and came to rest in unexpected places. It will probably take more time today and again tomorrow to get this anything like close to fixed. The tools may need to dry out for a week before I try to do anything with them. I am glad that many of my tools were in my tool box on my truck or at the job site. That was a blessing, at least.

I have not decided yet whether to file a claim on our new renter's insurance just to make them deny me so I can have a fit and yell at someone. I think yelling might help right about now. Beyond that, there is not much to do besides clean up, count the losses and mourn them.


Anonymous said...

Oh cRAP!!! Yeah, you need to go yell at something. Loudly. I'll not come out there and drive slowly in front of you; the yelling might deafen me. ;)
I'm so sorry about the flooding. That's an awful lot of cleanup and repair there. It just seems so strange for a hurricane/tropical storm to hit Maine. Maine is the furthest thing from mind when I think of tropical.

Robin said...

Oh no, what a nightmare. I think yelling at screaming and perhaps pounding on something (soft, no reason to break your hand on top of everything else) is definitely in order.

Crap. I'm sorry Dawn. What a mess.

Robin said...

PS I owe you an e-mail. I haven't forgotten, just haven't had the time to write out the fairly in-depth answer it needs.

Marie said...

Ohh nooooo! I have suffered a basement flooding -- years ago in Illinois, but had insurance. What a bummer!

Hoping your landlord provides you with a dehumidifier. I got one for my basement and hooked an old hose to it - they have a cap you can take off and screw a hose into - so I wouldn't have to empty it and drained it into the sump pump well. It made a HUGE difference. At the very least, ask for some buckets of Damp Rid (also known as calcium chloride, which in the form of ice melt or from a pool supply store placed in plastic buckets is much cheaper).

Is this an ongoing problem or a one-time fluke due to heavy rains? Maybe some tuckpointing is in order to prevent this from happening again.

In any case, I really feel for you - it's awful to deal with & hoping you save as much as possible!

1138 said...

Yeah you need to file a claim, that insurance isn't there for bragging purposes.
You've got my sympathies, at this distance and this economy that's about all I can offer.
I found your Blog from your comment over at Mrmacrum's Lost in the Bozone. My Dad was from Deer Isle / Stonington way (Stonington) so I know your shores.

Awful, just awful. drop me a note saying it went better rather than worse.

MRMacrum said...

I am very sensitive to anything regarding basements and the rivers that run through them. I face possible torrents in my basement everytime it rains hard. And should we ever lose our electricity at the same time the rain comes down, my basement will look like yours. It always sucks. But I have found that if clean up happens quickly and parts, pieces and tools are wiped down and de-moisturized, the damage is almost always temporary. I have a big floor fan that has been totally immersed at least a dozen times and it still works.

Looking at your picture and knowing how high the water was was a difficult picture to look at.

Life in Maine. Whatja gonna do?