Friday, July 30, 2010

Cleanin' on uuuu-uuuup!

on the Northwest side!
I don't have a piece of the pie, though. At this point, I probably cannot afford a piece of the pie!
Guess who dropped by yesterday?
Awwwww, yeah. Not bad, it only took 6 days this time. Honestly, I think they got overwhelmed really fast. We called on Saturday morning once the water was down and we knew we still had intact walls and they thought they might be here Monday. We knew from experience that they were going to get slammed. They did. People who waited for the weekend to clean out and then saw how bad it was, people who had been unable to even get to their homes until the weekend and people who realized the damage was worse than they thought all found their phones and started calling.
But we don't have drywall down there and it's an old drafty house, so mold was not a huge concern for us, aside from a pile of wet clothes down there rotting away, of course.
But now my house smells sort of chemically clean, with a dull roar from all the drying equipment in the basement and it should be smooth sailing from now on. At least until the next big rain, right?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

cracking me up

The Man is taking an ice cold shower right now and last night the noises emanating from the bathroom were like nothing I had ever heard before so I videoed the door to catch the noise and then played it back for him.
So tonight he is trying to be as stoic as possible and instead of high pitched yelps and squeals, there are these freakish moans and groans that are really freaking out the cats. I am such an ass that I am laughing so hard.

And for the record, I totally pussed out on the ice cold shower. I tried putting a tub of water out in the sun thinking it would warm up. It really did not, I did a quick wash with it but screamed obscenities the whole time because it was miserable. I skipped washing my hair becuase I was pretty sure my head would fall off.

This morning was downright lovely! I boiled a huge stock pot of water and mixed it with the cold and remembered the routine I had down from my 21 days without hot water adventure in 2008. Dip the shower fluff in the water, lather up, lean over the bucket and pour water over your head so the run off goes back into the bucket. Lather up your hair. Rinse everything from the top down. It's not so bad. As long as you don't need to shave your legs or anything, which is IMPOSSIBLE in ice cold water unless you want to look like you hacked away at yourself with a dull hatchet because you cut off all the goose bumps.


I just want to make sure I make this clear that the real problem is that THE CITY (the city who cannot seem to figure out who to keep the poop out of my house!) has no idea what to do as far as it goes to get people hooked back up to power if they are still without.
We Energies requires the safety inspection after an emergency disco, because it's safe and that's how to keep your house from catching fire or exploding.

They just usually require a City of Milwaukee inspector to come out, who then informs them it's safe. Well, the city can't possibly handle everything right now and has changed the rules on them in the middle of a crisis and given them the confusing information. Both women I spoke to with WE's customer service were very clear that all of this was new information and being updated and they took the time to read clearly and help me as much as they could with the information they had.
And furthermore, this is TWICE now that WE has had to haul a truck to my house for emergency discos during a sewer backup and both times I have been amazingly grateful that such a large company can get to individual homeowners while a disaster is literally ongoing. And both times I have called back to thank them

Which is actually what I told to the city supervisor yesterday, that his department was steering people wrong and he was going to be dealing with a lot of upset people until they clarified what they needed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Brew City Flood Blues

Today is a very frustrating day.
The city has no idea what is going on.
Our HVAC guy was supposed to be here beween 8 and 12. Well, this magical affidavit that the power company is telling me to download and print does. not. exist. for. home. owners. to. access.

I called WE Energies, they only have the address for the permitting site. I called the city. Sweet fancy moses what a clusterfuck.
After 10 minutes on hold with the main number it occurred to me to bypass this crap and call the permitting department directly. So I did.
I made it through to the electrical desk, I spoke to Mario.
I have dealt with Mario before. Mario is the man who inspected us in 2008 when we had to have an electrical upgrade in conjunction with installing our new furnace. Mario has some freaky BO problem. His general state of funk seems to be smelling like he has been smoking ass scented cigars in a tiny room for 27 days without changing clothes once. He is not my favorite.
After 15 minutes of "no, listen to me" he transferred me to his supervisor.
Who promptly informed me he wasn't sure what WE Energies was going to need because he wasn't at work on Thursday or Friday becuase he was supposed to go on vacation, but the weather took care of that and he actually sounded really bummed out about it.
When he said that I just sat there and then verrrrry quietly, the kind of quietly that usually scares the crap out of the husband, said " so. sorry. this. is. causing. you. to. miss. your. vacation." and then we started to get somewhere after that. He decided maybe he better go do some investigating and call me back. So he did and now my electrical contractor will be here between 1 and 2 pm today and hopefully we can get somewhere about getting my power back on.
UPDATE: I can haz power!!!! :D

We are awaiting someone to show up and inspect the sewer situation. A city sewer inspector. I have seen 2 on my street thus far and both times have run out to the macaroni and cheese colored trucks to ask if they have my forms. Nope.
I called the city and I am in the system, and they were forwarding my file to a supervisor to get inspected. But until they come, I am stuck here. They do not call first, they just show and up and knock. And if you miss it, there is no notice left behind. I just saw them do a neighbor's house and what they did was knock and then stick a thing down his lateral line. And then leave. WTF does that do?

In most glorious news, Servpro called us back today. We got on their list on Saturday morning when the count of sewer backups was still just under 3000 in the city of Milwaukee. By this morning it was 6000. They are hopping busy!
So they are thinking they should be here by the end of the week. OH FINGERS CROSSED!!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My house smells so, so bad

So, good news: we did not reflood in last night's heavy rain. Sweet.
Actually, I have a few more not so shitty newses.
Servpro: we're on the list and someone should be contacting us within 24 hours and they think they can get to us this week, possibly, POSSIBLY, on Monday. We need power, though, and we will not have that until Monday night at the earliest (omg fingers crossed the power can be turned back on!!!)
I finally reached the city to report the backup via the phone AND I submitted the report online, so fingers are super crossed we go FEMA disaster tomorrow or Monday because we seriously need all the help we can get and will probably need to apply for a loan to dig up the sewer lines and put in a backflow preventer and possibly do some structural reinforcing. My walls have not moved or shifted, but they are old and one has a crack that did leak in 2008 (though FEMA was unconcerned about it during inspection and said it might have let the pressure off the wall a bit)
I looked up the timeline from 2008 and it took about 5 days for FEMA to get here then, so fingers crossed soon. I know the ball is rolling. People just need to keep reporting damage.
If there is no help, we will find a way, but the help would, well, it would help.

My house is RANK, it's hot and humid and I can't even turn on a fan. Tonight, Saturday, is our last night at the nice clean La Quinta. We simply cannot afford to stay and get too used to it and it is supposed to be cooler tomorrow and sweet fancy moses I hope it's breezy.

My inlaws are visiting tomorrow, because they are insisting on it. I have some feelings on it, but whatthefuckever. If they want to smell my house, more power to them. I can't vacuum, so the cat hair is at record levels. I have no hot water and I can't boil any on the stove to mop the floors and I am not even going to bother with cold, becuase why? We have two emergency litter boxes in the kitchen and the cats are social so they are happy take a dump in full view of anyone who happens to be around.
My carpet got drenched and smells A-maz-ing, too.
I put out mixing bowls full of baking soda around my house today to just try and keep the funk down. Wishful thinking.

Jeff and I had a giggle today when discussing why keeping the flood kit in the basement was maybe not a great idea. I figured it was a good place for it, because hey, I was probably going to be home when it hit, right? But I have been battling the anxiety beast so hard and I never reassed my situation and therefore forgot to get my bleach filled garden sprayer, my shop vac, my 3 bottles of germicidal bleach, my box of latex free gloves, my contractor strength trash bags and the rest of it out to the garage!

My pumps should still be OK, though, they will just need to be washed off really well. I will hose them down and when I have power again, I will pump some disinfectant through them to douche them out so they aren't full of rot and nasty. Too bad they did not get used this round.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Annie, are you ok? Can you tell us, are you OK, Annie?


The Man, The Turd Herd and I are all ok.
The house is in rough shape.
We got 4 feet of backwater (sewage, backflow, the poop, turd soup, whatevs). Everything in my basement is a loss, again. The water was higher than in 2008. And way way way more unpleasant. In the past we have had largely clear water with slight funk. This not clear. This was viscous and dark grey brown. I could not see even 8 inches into the water. *gag*
But it's down to bare, shit smeared floor now.

Here is how it went down for me, and I tell you, for being agoraphobia girl, I picked a HELL of a time to be out and about. Ugh. I wanted to make an afghan. No, NEED to make one. I have a vision. So yesterday afternoon when the man got home from work we headed out to Michael's for some acrylic yarn (since I know my cats and no WAY am I not having this be idiot proof to launder it) I found the colors i wanted. We went to pay and holy hell, the sky was just about pitch black. Some little shit in front of us started screaming he could see a tornado. I wanted to just pinch him. He did NOT see a tornado, but there I was stuck 5 miles from home to see this bearing down on us and I knew. I KNEW it was going to be ugly. And then the rain began. And it was honestly unlike anything I had ever seen before. We were trapped in the craft store. When we were finally able to leave it took us 2.5 hours to travel 5 miles. We simply could not get home. Every southbound street was flooded, cars were submerged and floating. Disabled cars were everywhere.
The rain would stop and then just be coming down in sheets again.
We drove through neighborhoods where the water was just gushing up from the sewers, saw manhole covers missing, saw houses flooding up to their front doors. I was shaking so hard from panic that I ached this morning like I had aerobicized like it was 1987. My elbow joints were just on fire all night long from shaking. Who knew?

We finally found a place to get gas and the man at the next pump spoke to my husband, we found out if we went much further west we could get south. They shook hands and wished each other well and we left. Well, we detoured to Yen Ching so I could pee someplace nicer than a gas station. And they were gracious about us rushing in just for that, we will have to order from there this week! Anyway, so homeward bound.
We knew it was going to be bad. We knew. We tried to brace ourselves for it.
We weren't even sure if we were going to be able to get into our area once we got south, but we tried it and our street was not very bad. But when we got out of the car we could hear the water alarm blaring and it was just a matter of seeing how bad it was going to be, and I was hoping against hope that none of my basement walls had caved in.
So we saw it was high, very high. And the power was still on (amazing given the number of downed lines and people who LOST power. If ever there was a time to lose it, it was last night!) and I had things plugged in down there. And all of that water had come up FAST so I just didn't know if it was going to stop at 4 feet. We called the power company and got in queue for an emergency disconnect as the danger of the house catching fire was pretty serious. We realized we could not stay there and I called La Quinta and they were slammed with people in our situation, so I hopped online and made a reservation (crafty!) for us and after checking back and making sure the disconnect could occur without us being home, we left a sign on the door saying where to find our meters and left.
The plan was to check in and come back to wait. But when we got here and checked the news, the city of Milwaukee was asking people to stay off the streets because of the sinkholes (!!!!!) and all the missing manhole covers. We made the hard choice to stay put.
This morning was a very tense ride home to see if we had a house left at all, and if the cats made it. We did and they were all OK. Even Hellvis. The water was a smidge higher, but had drained completely by 3 pm and we were finally able to see our walls were intact.

We are still without power and will be until Monday at the earliest. We have to have an HVAC contractor come out and disconnect the electrical from the furnace and sign an affidavit from the city and THEN and only then can We Energies come out and reconnect us. Consolidated Heating and AC will be there Monday morning, first available appointment. We can't clean anything up until we have power, so it's going to be grim.
My house smells like a hot turd.
All of my neighbors flooded with the poop. Someone down the street had a cave-in. A few more blocks away a whole neighborhood was evacuated do to multiple cave-ins.
There are piles of ruined junk heaped all up and down my street. People up on hills also flooded. I also had 2 feet of standing water in the back yard this morning, the low part. I thought 2008 was the worst I had ever seen. Today was worse. More widespread. The air just smells of sewage everywhere.

But, we are still OK. We're going to be broke as a joke, but we're OK.
I will try to not accost any elderly Asian couples this time around, pinkie swear.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oh, hai!

So, The Man and I were sitting in the living room around 10pm. I heard a noise and wonder what the cats are getting into. I ignore it. Then I hear more and then I realize it's tapping on glass, as in my window. And then it's more than tapping and WTF IS GOING ON?!
We ran to the office/den/mancave (even though it's butter yellow
with a mini chandelier) and lo, there was a raccoon hanging off my window screen and 4 more on the deck trying to get into my house!

I sprayed them with water. Jeff dumped several buckets of water on them. They kept coming back. My cats were losing their minds.
And I wasn't too thrilled with the situation, either.
I asked The Man to go pee on the deck, larger predator, bigger stink, right?
No. Not just no, but HELL NO. With my luck they would probably know from his scent that he is a vegetarian and attack us even more enthusiastically.
He kept saying he was sure I was joking. I wasn't joking but whatever. I could deal with peeing on the deck, but not with a ton of critters underneath it with tiny little gross hands. EW.
So plan B. We went to CVS and I bought the most bizarre assortment of crap ever. Ammonia, rubber gloves, 3 packs of kitchen sponges and a rubbermaid snack container large enough to hold a good amount of ammonia and several kitchen sponges at once! And the hubs also wanted chocolate milk, so we got that, too.
We must have appeared to be freaks.
Anyway, sponges have been soaked and lobbed (happily, I can go fetch them tomorrow and use them again tomorrow night!) and no more critter action so far tonight.
Knock on wood.