The 8 gallon shop vac had sucked up 4 or 5 gallons of water. Using towels, I had dammed off most of the water and prevented serious damage to furniture and other belongings. The shop vac was doing a great job of keeping the floor dry without me standing over it so I decided I should go outside and tackle the root of the problem head on. Silly me. I should have emptied the 4 or 5 gallons of water first! I don a swimsuit, a pair of socks I don’t care about, a ratty t-shirt, and some boots I’ve been meaning to throw away that have holes big enough to stick a toe through. I remind myself that it is January and pouring rain outside but in 3 minutes it won’t matter if I was naked; I’m going to be cold.
Standing in the rain I seriously consider just going back inside and working the symptom instead of the problem. The problem of course is a trench that hasn’t been completed nor maintained. Water is pooling instead of flowing out and away from the house. I decide to throw myself at it and see if a little dredging will do the trick but I have to remove six inches of leaves just to get to what should have been dirt. It looks more like quicksand and I sink deep. Trudging through this mess is like walking in watery cement just ready to pour, or a runny oatmeal. The shovel moves half dirt and half water. I fling it over my head to the mound that originally was in the trench. Half of what I throw pours back down on top of me and into the trench. The walls collapse and the pool gets deeper. I realize I didn’t ask anyone inside to keep an eye on the downstairs. Yikes! The shop vac has filled up and is no longer maintaining the floods! The levees of towels have become over saturated and are failing to hold back the waters. Worse yet, there are no dry towels left! I cannot go inside to help because my repair has worsen the situation and I must finish the job. My fingers start to blister. I slip and fall in the mud. My headlamp is weak and barely lights the "ground" in front of me. To make it worse, when I exhale all I see is fog making it nearly impossible to decide where to dig. The simple goal is to make the puddles flow and drain. One end of the trench must be higher than the other.
After 3 hours of digging, dredging, chanting, singing, and fighting the urge to give up, I am startled as I hear a splash and rush of liquid. The dam has burst and the waters are flowing out of the trench and away from the house.
The danger and problem is far from over. The shop vac cannot run all night. The ground is still supersaturated. And along I made vast improvements to the trench, it is still puddling in places and really needs a small backhoe to be completed. For nights like this, we should be allowed to buy small dosages of serious pain medicines without a prescription. Typing this entry, hurt.