By Mir
January 17, 2013

One of the things I found myself doing yesterday (and several days prior)—before I wrote about the difference between Young Blogging Me and the current Old And Smarter But Fatter And Crankier Me—was going back and reading some of my old posts. I don’t do this very often. And usually, you know, I remember stuff I wrote about before (duh), but occasionally a post is a COMPLETE surprise (read: repressed memory), and very often, something falls into the realm of “Oh, I remember that, but until I read this, I had kinda-sorta forgotten.”

So it was just yesterday that I found myself rereading various posts detailing The Great Flood of 2006, wherein my basement flooded not once, but TWICE, and I came down with bronchitis and was convinced I had mold in my lungs from all of the associated cleanup, because that’s logical and also I am a little bit of a hypochondriac. Know what our lovely home here in Georgia doesn’t have? A BASEMENT. That makes it my most favorite house ever, by the way.

Anyway, that’s preface to what I’ll tell you next, because yes, I was a little… uhhhh… primed with memories of water disasters.

Our weather this week has been AHMAAAAAAZING, by the way. Mid-January in Georgia means temperatures in the 70s, sometimes, and although Otto has grumbled a bit about how it’s “just not right,” I am loving the balmy days regardless of the date. Some people miss seasons (Otto). And some people just like warm, sunny days (me). So it’s been warm and lovely and then the rain moved in. In fact, our weather forecast suggested we might have SNOW today, and that’s always kind of exciting because BLESS THEIR HEARTS, many people in the south lose their minds when they see snowflakes.

The snow never materialized. But the rain has been relentless today. And rainy days and Mondays always get me down, man. Wait. Mondays aren’t a problem, actually. Rainy days make me feel BLAH. So it’s raining and raining and it’s also a homeschool day, so Monkey and I are going about our respective work assignments in our pajamas, and the dog is basically lying on my floor with her legs crossed because SHE IS A PRINCESS and the only way to get her outside when it’s raining is either to wait until bladder explosion is imminent or to carry her out there. (She hasn’t been out since 10:30 last night. My little dog has a bladder of steel.) We are all doing the Rainy Day Thing, is my point.

And I had just recently been reminded of the horror that was water in the house. CUE THE MUSIC.

So just a little while ago, I heard… dripping. Not the steady drone of the water on the porch and the roof, as I’d been hearing, but what sounded like dripping just off of my office, in the kitchen.

“Self,” I said to myself, “this is like watching a horror movie and then sleeping with a butcher knife under your pillow. That rain horror was a long time ago, and THIS house is perfectly fine! And leak-free! And YOU ARE IMAGINING SO SHUT UP.”

This worked for a few minutes. But the DRIP DRIP DRIP sound continued.

“Self,” I said to myself, “that is just water dripping off a plate in the sink. Or something. Why not just go check and put your silly fears to rest?”

I walked into the kitchen and went straight to the sink. No dishes were in there, by the way, nor was the faucet dripping. That was… unsettling.


I closed my eyes and focused on the sound. It seemed to be coming from somewhere to my left, over by the kitchen table. I took a deep breath, opened my eyes, and headed to the table area to have a look around.

Staring at the ceiling from various angles yielded no clues. I felt around on the floor—perfectly dry—and grew increasingly frantic because I HEAR IT I HEAR SOMETHING DRIPPING and I just couldn’t figure out what the heck I was looking for or whether there was water inside or….

Hold the phone. Right outside the lovely, large bay window there is our outdoor table. That table is made of metal and ceramic tiles, and SURELY water hitting its surface might, in a torrential downpour such as this, sound… different? Louder? Maybe loud enough to make one think there was a drip INSIDE when in fact everything was JUST FINE?? I stood there for a minute, motionless, ear nearly touching the window, trying to determine if the noise was coming from out there. I glared at the table while I did it. STUPID LOUD TABLE.

In trying to move EVEN CLOSER to the table’s level on the other side of the window, I finally put my hand on the bay window’s sill, and had I not done that, I might’ve concluded that the noise really was coming from outside. Alas, my thumb—wrapped around the underside of the sill—landed squarely in a tiny rivulet of water. On the inside. Coursing down the wall.

I said some words. Many words. Words not suitable for tender ears.

What followed was a carnival of clumsy incompetence—me sussing out all of the places the water was coming in, frantic patting of the entire section of wall to figure out JUST HOW WET we were talking, precarious arrangements of plastic containers wedged JUST SO to catch incoming drops, and a frantic text message to Otto to say “There is water drooping down the kitchen wall!!” (thanks, autocorrect)—and eventually my panic slowed to a dull roar. Drips were contained, baseboards were mopped up, plans were made, and OH YEAH, the outside table was moved away from where its overflow was dripping on the outside sill. Whoops.

Otto lovingly talked me down from ZOMG WATER DAMAGE WET WALL KITCHEN GUTTING AAAIIIEEEEEEEEEE fit I was still trying to have, and now the rain has let up some, and really, not a big deal in the general scheme of things. I know.

Is there such a thing as PTFD (Post-Traumatic Flooding Disorder)? I think I might have that.


  1. Deirdre

    50 weeks ago tomorrow we had a running toilet overflow and water went through the floor into our finished basement. After dealing with major cleanup and repairs, the new laminate floor broke when I dropped a plastic cutting board on it. We are still dealing with bills and insurance on the whole disastrous episode. I don’t think PTFD EVER goes away. So, um, yeah, I can understand how that would have been stressful.

  2. Patricia

    This is a very real disorder that I too suffer from… $8000 in plumbing costs, a giant pit into the earth in your basement and a very loud ‘ejector pump’ will do it to you every time. Every big rain storm or snow thaw has me hunting my basement for signs of water and checking my outside basement step drains for backed up water.

    There should be a support group.

  3. Deirdre

    Heh–just to clarify–I didn’t drop a plastic cutting board in the bathroom. BR flooring extended into the hall and kitchen, which is where I dropped the %^&*ing cutting board. One week after the replacement had finally been installed.

  4. Karen R

    How about CTFD (Current Traumatic Flooding Disorder). The water can stop coming into my basement ANY TIME NOW.

    Glad your flooding issue was easily fixed.

  5. Nancy

    I am pretty certain that the new DSM-V that is coming out in May will include the new diagnostic category of PTFD (Post-Traumatic Flooding Disorder). Unfortunately, health insurance declines to cover it because they think it should be covered by your home-owner’s insurance. Attorneys are poised to file class action suits as soon as the new DSM is published.

  6. jodifur

    My basement flooded in my first house and YES THERE IS SUCH THING. When we were house shopping I was all NO BASEMENTS, NO SUMP PUMPS, GET A HYDROLOGIST IN HERE. True story.

  7. Otto

    Look, you said you wanted a house with a water feature … we have a pond, a pool AND a waterfall now, all of which you can see (and feel) from the kitchen table.

    So picky …


  8. CuriousCat

    @ Deirdre: HOW do you break laminate flooring?? Isn’t laminate supposed to be, like, pretty much indestructible compared to say, ceramic or real wood flooring? And, how would PLASTIC dropped on – what is, basically, plastic – laminate flooring break it? My mind is boggled at this.

    I’m ignoring the post by Mir because a) i hate rain and b) i hate the sound (implied or otherwise) of rain or water dripping. NANANANANANANAANANANANANA can’t hear youuuuu!

  9. Mom24

    No, you have post traumatic trauma disorder. (((hugs)))

  10. Mama Bear

    2011- record snowfall, record blizzard, record 3 day power outage-basement flooded. 2 weeks later-record 48 hour rainfall-basement flooded. 3 sump pumps, a gutted basement, a reincarnated basement, and my husband with rheumatoid arthritis caused (in my opinion) by the stress and physical labor of doing it all ourselves and here we sit today, me with PTFD along with a new found fear of the sound of a sump pump, the sound of rain, the sound of wet/dry vacs and the sight of blizzarding snows. Yup. It’s real.

  11. Arnebya

    Fuck you, drooping water (see, I care not about the tender eared.) Oh, how I love the sound of rain, especially if I’m in bed because mmmmmmm warm, lulling, I sleep now. But let that rain sound like it’s hitting plastic and one might jump out of bed to determine where it’s coming from. One might remember that the window wells we bought were bought because they were cheap even though the more expensive ones were, well, more expensive (although really pretty.) When you have high winds (or curious raccoons), the plastic window wells tend to be moved and in doing so you wind up with WET CONCRETE BASEMENT WALLS. I don’t think I have PTFD though. More like PTLD (Life).

  12. Amy

    My basement also flooded twice in 2006. And then again in 2011. So yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about! Every time there’s a hard rain, I run downstairs to make sure there’s no water!

  13. Andrea

    Exactly a month after we got married and moved into our house, I turned on the outside faucet so the kids could play in the sprinkler. About 20 minutes later I walked in the front door and stepped in about 3 inches of water. Our office, kitchen, and the boys’ bedroom was flooded. It took months to get the repairs completed. That was almost 3 years ago, and I still run in the house every few minutes when I use the water hoses outside to make sure the floors are dry!

  14. Tracy B

    LOL, Otto!!!! What more could a girl ask for?

  15. Brigid

    Yep. The 500 Year-Flood that hit Nashville a couple years ago (I should know exactly but I try to make bad memories as fuzzy as possible ON PURPOSE). Bad. Bad. Scary flooding. Head to high ground flooding. Wading through water while the electricity was still on stuff. Bad.
    After when our family was trying to “resume normal life” my then 7YO had a bad feeling about a particular storm. We reassured her and reassured her, and to prove it I opened the basement door to a 4ft wall of water that poured into the basement while I screamed obscenities not fit for a 7YO to hear. That kid isn’t ever going to like rain.

  16. Ali

    My aunt and uncle live 200 feet from the Ohio River. When it’s behaving, it is TWENTY FOUR FEET below the bank (seriously, you have to take 30 stairs to get to the water from the yard). But when it’s not, it will flood the basement and half the first floor.

    It’s happened enough in 30 years that they are relatively numb about the whole thing and would probably laugh at Noah’s flood.

  17. deva

    Our old apartment had two floods in the 3 years we lived there. the first one involved cutting out the drywall in between my apartment and the neighbor’s apartment, which was interesting to say the least. The second time was less involved, but to this day, the thought of squishy carpet underfoot makes me want to cry.

  18. JennyA

    Ha ha HAAAAAAA, yeah, you haven’t lived until you’ve stood in your front hall and watched water pour out of the (lit) ceiling lamp and seep from around the electrical outlets, and heard the sickening FWUMP of soaked drywall falling. It’s a long story that I’m not sure I’m prepared yet to fully recount and it’s been at least 7 years. Thanks, PTFD.

  19. Katherine

    We had record flooding 3 years ago and the garage flooded on one side of the house and the basement flooded on the other side. We still have a large area of missing carpet where DH ripped it out. The basement had never flooded before, but did again at least once, hence the reluctance to replace carpeting. We even had a flood day off school because the bridge was flooded.

  20. Michele

    Oh there totally is such a syndrome, yes in deed there is. My funny story is: A couple summer back, WI, July, basement, massive rain storm, flooded back yard. So the yard was so so wet and we had lots of rain prior to this storm. For the first time I was getting seepage in the basement, nothing major but I had to keep an eye on two areas and change out some towels to control the moisture. But the sump pump….oh that thing drove me nuts, it just would run and run and I was so nervous the power would go out. Water was making me crazy. I needed to relax so I pulled out a CD that I had not listened to In a long time. It was one of those relax to this nice music with the sounds of Northern WI loons type of deals. Well I go about my business and all of a sudden I hear water. OMG, now what? Well it was the stupid CD, with lovely relaxing loon calls and trickling water, ummmm no! Turned that sucker off damn quick. But even I had to laugh at my stupid self for that one.

  21. Peachy Girl

    I live about an hour northwest of Atlanta, and I have to say that this week-long rain storm is about to flip me out! Enough, already…really! I am a transplant from the Midwest and I, too, am always hyper-aware of the sound of dripping water, and strange discolorations on the ceiling…and the wall…etc. (which almost always turn out to be shadows). I’ve learned, though, to love the sound of the sump pump, because that means things are working like they should. PTFD? You bet it’s real!

    What I find entertaining, though, is the fact that no one down here is ready for snow/ice, and considering that things are supposed to get ugly tonight, the general attitude is that the damned apocalypse is imminent. (Even though it’s supposed to be 50 degrees tomorrow).

    Love the South…really, I do! Really!

  22. Brenda

    I think you can totally have PTFD. I most definitely have PTMD, Post Traumatic Mouse Disorder. At my last apartment there was a pest problem. By the time I moved out, I had caught and disposed of over 40 mice in a year and a half. From my second floor, one room apartment. I have not seen any mouse or hint of mice here in my current apartment, but if I hear something that could maybe be a squeak or see something move out of the corner of my eye (never mind that I usually have the ceiling fan on which means there is always something fluttering), my heart skips a beat and I’m terrified that I’m in the midst of another infestation. At least it sounds like your crisis had a relatively simple solution, despite the panic. I’m glad of that, anyway.

  23. addy

    same pipe twice – broke,flooded basement redid basement twice gave up after the third time. I can hear water dripping in the house from a mile away. Just fabulous way to spend each and every rain strom.

  24. Sheila

    Here I thought PTFD was only for people who had thrifty mothers who made them wear pants they had outgrown in length, but not circumference. (Fifth grade was kind of a tender year for me. Ahem.)

    I hope your damage is limited and that the sun comes out soon.

  25. Navhelowife

    I dunno if there’s a cure for the PTFD. However, I did at one point in time consider building an ark. And now it is cold. But no snow here – we might just have the joy of black ice.
    And yes, they do lose their minds. Apparently a certain large stuff mart was jammed packed today…

  26. Mary K. in Rockport

    This is similar to having had a car die under you once, and ever after any tiny little noise from under the hood makes you all jumpy.

  27. Brigitte

    Yes, our two basement floods weren’t even too bad (seeing it’s not a finished basement), but I still wake up with a pounding heart when there is heavy rain in the winter, when the ground is frozen and the water likes gravitating to the basement if the basement drain pipes are blocked by tree roots . . or hibernating frogs.

    I’ve opened the basement door, had a near heart attack at the dark pooling at the bottom, then felt the relief at realizing it was just laundry I chucked down the stairs to be washed.

    Now I’m feeling an urge to go check, even though I was just in there 30 minutes ago . .

  28. Amy

    I started reading your blog in the middle of the Great Flood Fiasco! It’s been that long?

    Bummer about the current leak.

  29. Kate

    We have had some sort of plumbing problem in our house since August. The hubs thinks it’s fixed and I believe him … Right up till the toilet overflows. I may NEVER be able to do a load of laundry without LITERALLY sitting on the washer to be sure all is okay again. I completely believe there IS post traumatic ANYTHING disorder! I am feeling your pain!!!

  30. Karen in Michigan

    Count me among the afflicted. Years of tent camping have given me a healthy respect for the pitter patter of rain drops. The last apartment I lived in flooded. The problem was that I was on the second floor. The maintenance guys were trying to figure out where the leaks were coming from one afternoon. They were on the upper floor’s balcony with a garden hose. The complex manager was there and saw the water shooting into my bedroom though the electrical outlets. And tried to charge me for damaged carpet when I moved out. I pointed out that she had seen the water coming into my apartment and she had to concede I wasn’t at fault. I called that place the snakepit. My window glass was held in place with duct tape.

  31. Carrie

    PTFD: It’s Definitely Real. 2 years ago next week, we discovered water squishing up from between the boards of the wood floor in our brand new, less than one year old home. Turns out the plumbers didn’t exactly crimp something correctly, and nearly the entire downstairs had to be stripped down to the studs and slab. And then the studs had to all get sanded to get rid of the mold. 3 months and $30-40,000 later (thankfully, courtesy of the plumber’s insurance), and my kitchen looks identical to it’s pre-flood state. My brain, however, is scarred and I cannot hear a muffled drip or see a baseboard pulling away from the wall without going into all-out panic mode.

    Did I mention that we lived upstairs in the house, and I worked out of the house, the entire time? Oh, and that no kitchen = breakfast, lunch and dinner out every day for 3 months… with a 4 year old? Good times, I tell you.

  32. Amy

    My brother and sister-in-law live in Florida, where you would expect that they might encounter tropical storm or hurricane damage at some point. I live in OHIO and with Tropical Storm Sandy came the dubious honor of filing a tropical storm claim before my brother ever did. (And then the roof drip-drip-dripped for a month and half before it was finally fixed. The roof in MY BEDROOM, four feet from my would-be sleeping head. Rain now gives me panic attacks.)

  33. Little Bird

    Reading all these horror stories reminded me of mine. I was a teenager. The roof over my bedroom (an add-on long before we moved there) started leaking. I was not there, having been packed off to a relatives for about a month (loooooong story that makes me look like a martyr). My dad and his wife cleared out my desk. Which included a diary. She read it. She showed my dad. They got insanely angry reading about one thing in particular and accused me of lying about it.
    The lesson learned? Don’t leave diaries where stepmonsters can find them.
    (in all fairness, not all steps are monsters, but mine certainly was. Still is as a matter of fact.)

  34. Sharon

    yep. that one sends me. about the only plumbing i’ve never had any problems with was that at our primitive forest service lease cabin – haul in water and outhouse potty or the pot that “guzzunder” the bed.
    i say almost because you do have to pump those every so often (forest service doesn’t let you just dig a new one, sanitation issues and all that). First time we had it done (by a very nice young man setting up his own porta-potty business), the pump line got clogged by a soda can tossed into the potty on one of many winter outings we hosted at the cabin for young scouts. a soda can (ok, coke can for georgians) is exactly the same diameter as those pump hoses. the young businessman (now one of the newly-rich in town) reported that it was interesting watching the hose balloon up.
    but yep all other plumbing and piping is the very devil for finding ways to confound you and make you twitch.

  35. Heather

    I live in Birmingham & yesterday was the first time we have seen the sun since BEFORE Christmas. It has rained for a week straight only to snow Thursday & yes people did the weather freakout. Friday mornng was even more pleasant because all the unmelted snow ICED over & people like to hit their brakes…Good luck with the water, we had to replace a lot of stuff right after we moved in due to faulty siding installation…

  36. Heather

    I also would like to know who in their right mind installs a hot water heater on the 3rd floor of a house (I think my dads eye still twitches when you mention busting water heaters) I remember being a kid & it busting. Needless to say walls all the way down to the basement had to be replaced & most of the flooring & sub flooring had to be replaced on the 3rd floor too. It busted when we were on vacation for a week.

  37. Ruta M

    Right after reading this post I walked up the stairs to hear a Drip, Drip, Drip. Nothing too unusual when you live in an old farmhouse in wet Devon. Took a few minutes before I located the sound to the family bathroom. Then a big sigh of relief when I realised it was the sound of the poorly hen, who is currently living in the bath, pecking at some corn in a plastic tub.

  38. Amanda

    Yes, there is indeed a syndrome for this. Like when we were just about to move out of our house (2 houses ago)and I woke up in the middle of the night to water gushing in the floor rendering our upstairs bathroom useless until we got it fixed. And like the last house where Army housing left us with a leaking roof for 8 months before they FINALLY moved us into another house but not before their solution was to put up a piece of plastic over the hole in our kitchen ceiling that needed emptied when it rained. We won’t discuss the water heater situation in this house…

  39. Brooke

    I’m still dealing with the aftermath from Superstorm Sandy and I promise you this is a real disorder. I think I will always panic whenever it rains from this point on.

  40. Melissa

    Five years in our house thru all sorts of weather without issue. The husband goes abroad for a semester and BAM, two basement floods a week or so apart (Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee). Writing checks with commas in them is always so much fun when you’re mostly solo parenting the 3-year-old with some help from the in-laws. And dealing with the company who takes much longer than originally planned to dig the trenches and install the sump pumps, causing you to frizzle with anxiety over your non-refundable tickets to see said husband in Ghana.

    When Hurricane Sandy rolled thru I told my husband he had to check the basement to make sure it was dry. If it wasn’t, I told him he’d need to lie to me, get me out of the house and make sure I didn’t come back until everything was righted.

    In other words: So understand the post-flood trauma.

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