The BLEEPING Basement

After the 3rd worst winter in Erie history and the coldest and rainiest July EVER we are lucky to be alive!!!! Unfortunately the basement just didn't survive.

Below are a couple of pictures of the basement pre-flood (the only pictures I had on my computer were from Lexi's B-day). All we had done was throw the kids gaming machines, TV and some couches down there. The carpet was pretty ugly but super soft and functional.

On July 1st as we got into bed we had a thunderstorm roll in and all night it just poured... the thunder and lightening were so spectacular that neither me or the dogs slept but a wink. When I rolled out of bed only about half the backyard was under water. It started pouring down rain an hour later and the water level began rising.

Lexi had basketball practice that morning and without thinking we hopped in the car to take her. As we pulled out of the driveway a friend of hers called last minute asking for a ride. I said yes, she lives about 15 minutes away across town, and we started out passing one stretch of road that was nearly flooded all the way across 4 lanes. I started thinking it wasn't such a good idea to be driving. I reached the zoo, which is about 4 miles from our house, and found the road shut down with water levels reaching the windows of cars parked in the zoo parking lot. We turned around and came right back home! Later that day Lexi told me the reason her friend needed a ride was because her grandpa's car got bogged down on the way to pick her up for basketball in the flood waters and he actually had to be rescued by the fire department!

Water levels just kept rising and soon the backyard was completely covered and the front lawn and street were also under water, about up to knee level. Like a good blogger I started taking pictures not thinking anything could be flooding... like my basement!
Below is a picture of the front yard and street, you can see the water level creeping up to the neighbor across the streets front lawn and you can't even tell there is a street between us.

This next picture is of water running from the street towards our house, we had a mini river that ran all the from here to the backyard, still I wasn't even thinking of the basement.

I exchanged some comments with my neighbor from the safety of our porches and as I was turning to come back in just happened to glance at the window well on the side of the house... which of course was full of water!! I ran down stairs to find water pouring in, the carpet was just saturated. I had to hurry and go to Sears (which was the closest store, just a couple of blocks away) to grab a sump pump (not the only one there, fortunately got one of the last reasonably priced sump pumps) and came back and threw it in the window well. I then proceeded to try and suck up the water with my carpet cleaner. After an hour and a half of doing that I was exhausted... the carpet didn't feel any drier so I brought a couple of fans in and took a break. After a few days, the carpet was still soaked, even the stairs, and the smell was horrific. I decided to tear the carpet up! So, all by my lonesome, I ripped up and carried out the soaking wet, stinky carpet. I do have to thank Nate for cutting the pile of carpet I threw onto the driveway up into strips and rolling it up nicely for the garbage man to pick up!

After tearing the carpet out I really didn't know what the heck to do so after letting the basement dry out I decided to paint the floor thinking that would be a good short term, relatively cheap, fix to the problem. Mind you after about a week of the kids hanging out in our living room we were ready to boot them back down stairs!

The girls picked out this lovely pepper grass green and I found some coordinating colors (briquette, bridal rose and chamois cloth) and we made over the basement. The girls did help me with 1 coat of paint on the walls, but the rest was all my sweat, tears and a plethora of cuss words. I will NEVER again be tricked into thinking painters tape is worth a damn... biggest scam ever in my opinion! The stairs nearly beat me.

I still need to do a little bit of touch up on the stairs where the paint peeled off with the tape (I am looking at probably two more coats). I think with this humidity here it just takes way to long for things to dry and I may have been a little to impatient... still blaming it on that scam they call painters tape though!

Liv has allowed her love sac to hang out downstairs for a little bit so she could put her train back up in her room... it might only be here temporarily. I would really like to put a bed down here for the girls to use for sleepovers and guests some day!

I am really pleased with how things turned out, I was a little worried about the color palette at first. The only thing that needs to be done now is installing baseboards. I am not adventurous enough to tackle that kind of project on my own and I have run out of time this summer anyways, who knows when we will get to it. But at least the girls have a place to hang out again.


A day at the beach

Well me and Liv decided that if we waited for some sun we might never get to the beach again before I go back to school. We grabbed a friend and headed out, it was perfect! I actually got to read an entire magazine full of nonsense while they played... heaven. It started sprinkling as we left, they are forecasting more rain tonight and, well, probably for the rest of summer!


What's a been happen'n hot stuff...

Liv has taken Ice T's motto to a whole knew level ever since Jen came to visit, "never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down"... the kid barely gets out of bed before 9 or 10 these days (HEAVEN)! She is definitely lounging this summer, which is easy to do here since it has been cooler and rainy on and off so far. We are hoping to get at least one good day at the beach this week. After bugging me for the past couple of years to learn an instrument I finally caved (because these kids need one more lesson, right) she will be starting to learn the flute as of tomorrow.

The sporty girl has been busy with camps, tryouts and tournaments.... and now on the injured list (she wouldn't let me take a picture with her head in it, blasted teenager). She did make the traveling competition soccer team, 10 girls tried out for 3 open spots and she got it, way to go Lex! This weekend she played in a basketball tournament put on by one of the local colleges with her middle school team. They won 2 of the 3 games they played on Saturday, but Sunday was really rough. After losing their first two games they played in a mini tournament, 2 minute games single elimination. In the first game Lex rolled her ankle and was out, her team went on to win and made it to the final game only to lose in a foul shot shoot out. We have been icing and resting it ever since, this afternoon she tried putting some pressure on it and we are happy to report it isn't hurting as bad. Hopefully she heals quickly because she has another basketball camp 9-4 every day next week and then her soccer team starts practicing the following week!

I took the plunge and decided to lop off my long locks! Liv took this picture with the cell phone right after I got done, sorry about the quality I will have to get a better picture up later. I really like it but am thinking of going a little bit shorter, the girl that cut it was mortified that I wanted it cut and convinced me to keep it longer than I originally wanted. So I will be going back to take off another inch or so off at some point. I only have two more weeks of freedom and then it is back to school for me and LECOM owns me again. I AM NOT READY!

Nate is loving his job, he is even playing a little basketball with a group during their lunch hour... just living the dream! We are still adjusting to his schedule, it is really hard not having him home until 7pm, there is just not enough time in the evening to get everything done. I am sure we will get used to it eventually though.
I have been busy updating our basement so I will post that project shortly... it is killing me but it should be done soon.


The Erie Zoo

Liv and I finally made it to the zoo here in Erie, it's about 4 miles away from our house so it was a real struggle to get there! The 2 year old orangutan was very cute, he lives with his mom and dad that were doing their very best to ignore him, like all good parents. There was also a strange man that was sitting on the outside of the window talking to the dad orangutan and playing peek-a-boo with him.... freaky.

Every zoo needs a sleazy kangaroo... sick and wrong. It was neat that we got to just walk in the pen with the kangaroo's and wallaby's.

Me and Liv walking across one of the cute little bridges.

I love a two toed sloth, everybody should have one... me and Liv want a baby one!

The giraffe's were cute but I really miss handi-giraffe at Hogle Zoo.

My favorites were the Wild African Dogs.

Liv's favorite was the tamarin monkey.

Of course no Zoo trip is complete until you make a stop at the gift shop, Liv got a stuffed version of her favorite. All in all it was a pretty cute zoo, always a little bit sad to look at caged animals, but cute.


The Institution

The only day I took the camera with me while Jen was here was to this gated community called the Chautauqua Institution about 45 minutes away on Lake Chautauqua in New York. It is a beautiful place but it kind of freaked us out a little too.

I guess it was founded a couple of hundred years ago by a Methodist Bishop for the purpose of education, art and enlightenment. They really emphasize adult education and offer a pretty interesting lecture series every year on various topics ranging from politics to arts or social issues. They open the community to the general population for a price... yes it is a profit thing... but we lucked out because it was free the day we went!

We weren't quite sure what to do there but had a good time walking around. People were playing at the beach but it wasn't exactly beach weather in my opinion.

The streets were immaculate and I am sure the rules and regulations to live in the community are incredibly rigid, all in all though it was a nice little place to visit and enjoy an ice cream cone!


Baby is a Survivor... and now part Feral Cat

Last night I let the dogs out for a potty break and Baby ran off, she usually comes right back or goes next door where she can easily be found, but not this time. I think she may have been scared off by our neighbors illegal (but beautiful) firework display. Me, Nate, Jen and Lex stayed out combing the neighborhood until midnight looking for her, I can't even describe the feeling of dread I had all night long, checking the porch at every little sound hoping she had returned. Luckily Liv had fallen asleep before she ran off but it was heartbreaking to see Lex go to bed in tears.

We were back out searching at 4am, Nate in the car and me and Jen on foot. I came back at 7 to find Liv awake and delivered the news. Initially she took it in stride but a few minutes later was in tears and sick to her stomach with worry. I don't know what felt worse, seeing my kids so upset or feeling so scared that I would never see that sweet little furry face again. Liv insisted on going out with Nate when he got back to look again and I decided I was going to hit all the gas stations, grocery stores and Vets in the area and post flyer's of our lost Baby. As Jen and I got ready to leave, we were both just sure she was gone for good, Nate called to say that he and Liv had found her!

She was about 3 miles away in a neighborhood that I have never walked her through, I don't know if she would have ever found her way home. She was muddy, wet and shaking in the front yard of a house. Nate said he had to open and close his eyes a few times because he couldn't believe he was really seeing her. Liv must have been the good luck charm we needed! I have never been so relieved. She immediately got a bath and wrapped in a blanket to get warm.

Who knows what she did all night... chasing squirrels, birds and bunny's, or maybe running from groundhogs,coons and foxes.... we are just glad she is home!