Well. That wasn't the plan I had for Sunday.

Oh. My.

It started like this. I cleaned and set up my new craft room. I was jazzed and ready to dig in on my first big sewing project in my new space. But I still couldn't find the quilt that I was working on for Sage before the move.

We still have some boxes in the barn as well as the basement, so I headed to the barn and dug through what I've stored there.


I headed to the basement to check those boxes and was greeted by almost ankle-deep water throughout most of our space.

And the boxes? Yeah. They were on the floor.


I called for Pete and along with Sage and Lupine we did what we could to bail out for the rest of the day.

I lifted and drained boxes while we used snow shovels and push brooms to clear the water. Pete headed outside with pick axe in hand and cut a trough across the driveway to divert the snow melt away from the house and down into the pasture.

I sent the kids up to the house with some treasures to try to salvage (our wool and wood puppets were bobbing in the water having tumbled out of their basket, and the frames and pictures from our family photo wall was just dry enough to save if we acted fast). 


And then I started going through wet boxes.

One by one with fingers crossed.

The truth is I wasn't sure what was down there. We moved into a very small house and just didn't have the space for all that we kept. We've been going through boxes but it's been slow. Because it's a little overwhelming.

After yesterday I sure wish we'd gotten to it sooner.

In one box I found my favorite photo of Sage – ever – dripping wet. (That's the one above, taken at our last country home when he was three.) I cried a little, wondering what other treasures might be at the bottom of the next box.

There were some sad discoveries. Like Lupine's Flower Book, my favorite artistic/homeschooly creation of hers ever. It was an entire homemade book of lovely drawings of flowers she wished to grow, carefully labeled in her five-year old hand. Poppy. Rose. Tulip. Foxglove. Lupine.

So I cried again and tossed it into the box-of-wet-things-that-can't-be-saved.

And then I opened the next box. And the next. And the next.

It was dark out before we went back into the house. The kids cooked a simple dinner that we ate around a table heaped with wet half-salvaged possessions.

In truth, we really were blessed. We lost random things like telephone books – not baby books. There is still more to be gone through today, but I think overall we got off easy.

I can't imagine weathering a true home-wrecking disaster and seeing the treasures that you hold so close destroyed in their entirety. 

And again, it comes to simplicity, doesn't it? If I had just a few things. If the basement was empty. If.

But it is what it is. Today we're sore. Tired. And our house is suddenly full of boxes to be unpacked once more.

So we'll get to it. It's the only choice we've got.



Oh. And one more thing. Remember that last
I wrote? About seeing beauty in winter? (Heh.)

No really. I did. I
saw it.
Even in the midst of hauling our belongings from the water, I
looked up and saw this. And had to stop and breathe it in.

Such beauty. Yes, even in the chaos.



34 thoughts on “Wet.

  1. Marissa says:

    Oh my, what an unwelcome discovery! But it seems you’re working through it in a peaceful way…the whole undiscovered water/mold/memorabilia/stored stuff has given me some heartache in the past, too. Cheers to a new day.

  2. Amy@ProgressivePioneer says:

    Oh no, that is the worst! I remember once as a kid our basement flooded and we went down to get to work and there was a snake swimming– SWIMMING!– around in the water down there. *shudder* Sad to hear about your lost treasures, but also happy to hear that you were still able to let a little beauty lighten your burden for a moment:) Good luck! Fingers crossed for no snakes:)

  3. Amy says:

    I’m sorry that some of your things were damaged. The house that my parents bought after my Dad retired from the Air Force had flooding problems. Every year during the thaw we ended up having to have multiple pumps running to keep it dry. My oldest & I lived there with my Mom after my parents divorce when he was little. To this day he remembers the flood in the basement that happened when he was 3. He said he was just laying on the bed watching the video games float past him.

  4. Cassandra says:

    So sorry Rachel, that is a tough situation. But your attitude is wonderful! It reminds me of something I heard the other day. When you’re having a tough time of it, ask yourself “What runs the show? My pains or my loves?”

  5. Karen says:

    I’m so sorry! Flooded basements are the worst! They do have little portable pumps that are not that expensive that you attach to a hose to pump out the water. Easier than sweeping. Ours flooded on xmas eve when the sump pump stopped working. The loss of treasures like that is so sad.

  6. Mikaela says:

    Yikes! That’s one way to learn the simplicity lesson 🙁 So sorry to hear you got flooded out. These warm winters bring surprises we’re still adjusting to, no? Glad you’re able to stay level-headed about it. Best wishes for the remainder of your cleaning-sorting-salvaging. My thoughts are with you!

  7. Karen C says:

    So sorry you lost some of your favorite treasures. It is always hard to lose those physical objects, but you still have each other and can make many more treasures that you will hold dear in your heart. Glad you could see the beauty around you to help ease the pain.

  8. knitting mole says:

    Oh that just sucks. We’ve been expecting the flood waters over at our new home which was purchased with a NEW “French Drain Tile” system installed (and much water damaged walls, floors, etc). Even our contractor recommended we “live with it a few seasons to see what happens” before we spend any money remodeling down there. So far just some small puddles, but we still put everything down there on skids/pallets to be safe 🙂
    Looking at those photos I don’t think even skids would have saved you 🙁

  9. amy delaterre says:

    Oh, I am so sorry for you guys! That just totally sucks. But good for you for having perspective, that at least your didn’t lose ALL of your prized possessions! Our basement floods regularly, and our tiny attic is totally full of needed insulation. We have no garage. We have a little shed crammed full of winter holiday decorations, bikes, garden and yard stuff. Not having storage space is really an easy (and often annoying) way to keep the “stuff” pared down. If you do not actively need and it have no where to store it… out it goes! (But again, so sorry about losing some special things, especially made with love by five year old-type things. 🙁

  10. Emily says:

    Rachel, I am so sorry. I have been there with the boxes in the water 🙁 I live in Wisconsin too but I am blessed to live in sand country. And what was with that rain yesterday, yuck! Hope that doesn’t come back again until March. Good luck with the other boxes.

  11. Becky says:

    Losing precious photos is heartbreaking. Our last house flooded, and I remember scrabbling to move boxes, furniture, treasured toys and stuffed animals to higher ground. Big hugs to you.

  12. Amanda Keeys says:

    I’m so sorry. Precious memories lost is heartbreaking. When we first moved to our new home our downstairs storage room flooded and we lost lots of things too, so I know how you feel. That view though, that really is beautiful. Wow.

  13. Joy @ JoyfullyGreen.com says:

    So sorry to read about your personal losses (photos and artwork, very difficult indeed). We’ve been there with the wet basement (ugh). A few years ago, I read a Buddhist expression about letting things go–the belief is that nothing lasts forever, so when something meets its demise, you say “Ah, there it goes.” My husband and I are still practicing it, however hard it may be, when something breaks or is gone for good. (Typing that just gave me an idea for a post, so thank you for inspiring me…)

    Lovely that you could see the “bright” side of things with the beauty of winter.

  14. kara decarlo says:

    You poor dear!
    I had a similar situation when we moved into our house 4 years ago–my kids were 1 and 4 and it wasn’t water, but sewage that had come up in the basement! When the city of Chicago is in danger of flooding, it shuts the sluice gates and all the overflow backs up.
    I didn’t even look through the boxes, I just threw them out.
    Now I don’t put anything on the basement floor that isn’t in a plastic tote.

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