Welcome to Armaggedon. May I take your order?

By Mir
May 15, 2006

We have a featured appetizer this evening, it’s a delicately placed Hunter Douglas blind over the largest window. It cost entirely too much money when purchased, and now when you attempt to lower it after a crummy day, the cord pops right off and the blind is rendered unusable. It comes with a string of obscenities on the side.

Tonight’s special entree is swamp basement, layered with swirling cardboard and unidentified detritus on top of a flaking concrete surface. It is topped with mysterious hairballs and errant Candyland cards. The chef recommends the swamp basement be paired with a small sump pump and an assortment of buckets. It is best enjoyed in soggy sandals, so as allow your feet to freeze.

For dessert, might I recommend yet a second day of cancelled school, topped with a generous drizzle of ant infestation?


Hi! I am in hell. Oddly enough, I am rapidly approaching the place where I no longer care. Truly. I am full up on the caring! No room left! Sorry! Right now I only have enough energy to drag my sorry self around the house to spray Raid in every corner. I guess the ants didn’t really enjoy the rain so much, either. I feel sort of sorry for them. Except not. Because I’m totally okay with having a basement that smells like swamp decay, but I draw the line at discovering my children “playing” with a bunch of ants in the playroom.

I have discovered the best workout plan for targeting those problem hip/thigh areas. It turns out that bailing water for six hours or so will turn those muscles to twitching jelly. I expect to wake up with the body of a supermodel tomorrow. And that will be useful, because my amazing body may distract people and cause them to cut me a little bit of slack as I wander the streets, babbling incoherently about loamy soil and saturated water tables.

My children amused themselves by… ummm… you know, I have no idea. I’m pretty sure that the television and a lot of dress-up clothing was involved, but other than that, I’m just not sure. I neglected them for most of the day, preferring instead to stomp around in my personal icy swamp, spewing a steady stream of profanity. At one point, a small head poked down the stairs and expressed a belief that it was the noontime hour, and as such, food was in order. I offered to provide some lunch “in a minute,” but Chickadee stepped in and insisted that she could handle it.

So I let her make lunch.

The kitchen may never be the same.

There was a trail of carnage–peanut butter fingerprints, crumbs, empty wrappers, silverware, etc. To her credit, it was a balanced meal. Sandwiches, baby carrots, and apples. With milk. I cleaned up some of the associated mess while on a break from bailing, then went back to basement duty. Later, when I came upstairs, I discovered Chickadee’s plate nearly untouched.

“Why aren’t you eating your lunch?” I asked. It seemed a logical question.

“I don’t like it,” my darling angel answered.

“Uhhhhh,” I replayed recent events in my head. “Didn’t YOU make this lunch? Didn’t YOU pick this lunch??”

“Well, I ate some apple,” she pointed out. “But I don’t like carrots. Monkey does. But I don’t.” Oh, well then. “Also,” she continued, “I forgot to put anything on my bread.” She lifted up the top piece of bread to reveal that yes, she’d not put anything between the slices.

I think that tomorrow I’ll probably make sure to be the one to fix lunch.

Oh, I almost forgot. The children also report that they’d planned to have some yogurt, but they tasted it and it was sour. They did not, however, throw the container out. I wish I knew which one it was.

Anyway, pretty soon I’m going to need to go to sleep, which means I’m going to have to turn off the little pump I have going down there, unless I want to get up every hour or so to check it. I don’t want the motor to burn out or have a short and burn the house down or anything. Although that would be one way to dry things out, I suppose. Six hours of scooping, bailing, and rigging pumps. Another six hours of continuous pumping. And you know what? There’s still a couple of inches of water down there.

Did I mention that it’s still raining?


  1. Karen

    Might I be the first to comment that your spirits are surprisingly good?

    Yeesh. I’m so sorry. Sending you good thoughts. And the supermodel body you wake up with tomorrow will be huge comfort, I promise.


  2. David

    Oh Mir, I’m sorry to hear of your new built-in cement pond.

    I hope that it all works out.

    Sending you dry, warm thoughts…

  3. Susan

    The lunch story totally made me laugh. For what it’s worth.

    And AGAIN I say, if I lived closer, margaritas would be ON THE WAY!

  4. Cele

    Hurrah for Chickee pitching in and making lunch. You need a pool boy :)

    in sooo many ways

  5. Birchsprite

    If I didn’t live in England I’d come over and give you a hand! Hope all the rain stops soon and that your basement is ok. Sending best wishes and dry thoughts your way!!

  6. Fran

    aarrrgh! I really, really, really hate water where it doesn’t belong; it holds the #2 spot on my list after snakes. Chickadee’s lunch did remind me of the time my brother was suppose to make lunch for us…he got a big bolonga sandwich, mine was a mustard sandwich.

  7. Sheryl

    Can you teach Chickadee how to make a good margarita? Hang in there!

  8. ben

    It is awesome that you are able to write such a witty (rhymes with pretty) post in the midst of such adversity.

    I’m so sorry..

  9. hollygee

    We’ve got the ants in Burlington, too. I just blasted my good karma by getting the little cans of ant poison. But the good news is that I should be burning more calories because every time something unexpected touches me very lightly (a hair, a thread, etc.) I go into shivers and shakes of disgust.

    Good luck. Unfortunately more rain is forecast through the weekend.

  10. susan

    Delurking to tell you, for what it’s worth, to try using Bounce dryer sheets to repell ants. Yes, I’m serious. I just read an article about it, tried it, and I haven’t seen a single ant since. Of course, we only had the ant problem in the kitchen, so it was pretty contained.

    So sorry to hear about the flooding…sending sunny, blue sky thoughts your way…

  11. diane

    Did I miss the explanation of why school keeps getting cancelled? It’s not the middle of winter, so I am very confused.
    Gas leak? Radon warning? Alligator in the school??

  12. KarinLee

    My house is at the bottom of a very large hill and has a granite slab under the basement floor. Water? Every single spring!

    So, between the radon and the water? A toxic, cancer-causing, disease-carrying stew of unpleasantness. (But it does make the pound cake I had for breakfast look positively healthy!)

    Anyway, to get rid of the smell, pour a small (very small!) amount of bleach in the water. You shouldn’t even be able to smell the chlorine.

    I usually pour it in at least a couple places. It will cut the smell by at least half. (Either that or I am totally brain dead from too much sump pump and wet vac exposure and can no longer smell anything…which is entirely possible.)

    Good luck eliminating your swamp!

  13. InterstellarLass

    :( I’m sorry. That doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend a day. Hopefully you’ll get dried out soon!

  14. Aimee

    Oh man, Mir…that stinks. I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with that. Sending you dry thoughts of dryness.

  15. chris

    Yeah we have the same thing going on with the damn submersable pump and the way the floor slopes AWAY from where the pump is installed. Our pump runs constantly though and is connected to the sewer pipe. So I make my children go down there with their rain boots and push brooms and push the water over to the side of the basement where the sump pump is. Suprisingly they think this is fun.

    Want me to send them to you? Cuz I will.

  16. Lesley

    You actually make your day bailing and pumping with your ex sound like fun. Hang in there!

  17. Shiz

    That does sound like hell. At least you get to work on those thighs. God forbid that bailing make one FAT.

  18. Meg

    Man that does NOT sounds like a menu I’d opt for. (((hugs))) and dry thoughts your way…

  19. Steff

    Did you know that if you run out of ant spray – hair spray stops them right where they stand!

    Ants in the pantry experience…

  20. Beverlee

    Yes, you are still writing and still seeing the humourous side of things. It sure sounds like you’ve got your hands full. Hang in there, it will get better!

  21. Shash

    After this, you need a vacation. E me about this. We’ll discuss. I have a great idea, and I’m dead serious.

    Sending strength and good cheer your way. As soon as I can get Fabio off that darn gondola, he’s on his way to you too. You know, helping hand and all…


  22. LB

    Sorry to hear about all of the water! I hope the rain stops and things dry out soon.

  23. Brenda

    We survived our deluge out here in Northern California. Happily, most houses here do not have basements.

    Maybe it would be best in the long run to have your house raised up on stilts like they do down in the bayous.

    But, really, I’m sorry for all the misery you suffering. That is really horrible.

  24. Niihaus

    It’s incredible the amount of rain ya’ll have received, we’d like a little of it, but not near the amount you’re talking about.

    I say let if fill up and teach the kids how to do cannonballs!

    (Hang in there. The rain has got to stop soon!)

  25. holley

    It’s the peach-flavored Dannon Activia, BTW.

    Or, at least that’s the rotten yogurt at my house. WHOOOOEEE!

  26. Amy-GO

    I believe this calls for…PIE! I’ll get right on that! ;)

  27. Jenn2

    Ugh. I am so sorry. That totally sucks. (yeah, I teach middle school…so?)

    At least it puts the whole dating thing in perspective, right?

    How about this for you personal ad?

    One strong man, good with his hands (mind out of the gutter, please), with knowledge of general carpentry, plumbing and electrical. Septic experience a plus. Must not be freaked out by hysterical outbursts and tears.

    And I agree with Amy…this definitely calls for pie.

  28. Edgy Mama

    Water’s that way, isn’t it? There’s either too much or too little.

    What a nightmare. Here’s hoping the belly dancer’s abs you’ll have from bailing will last longer than the water damage.

    Sending warm dry vibes your way.

  29. Vaguely Urban

    Hang in there, Mir.

    And just think of the bailing as training for the 3-day.

  30. the Mater

    Oh Mir, what with Jenn and I being sick this week … I haven’t been keeping up with blogs. Just reading about your disaster this morning. God, I hope the rains have let up by now. Keep laughing through the tears – it’s the best survival tactic. Hugs, E xxoo

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