You sure gain perspective real fast when you’re ankle-deep in rainwater, using a small shop vacuum to suck up what seems like an endless stream of water.
Mere hours before that moment, I was chatting with friends and hearing their gripes about the Stanley Cup playoffs or the Toronto Blue Jays’ latest umpiring disaster. I was playing slo pitch, laughing at our new puppy and all his shenanigans.
Arriving home on Thursday evening, it was about what I expected.
My fiancée texted me a picture of our street, covered in knee-deep water. I knew we were headed for trouble at that moment. I had hoped the 40-50 millimeters of rain predicted would somehow not do the damage it was expected to do.
So I figured there would be water in our basement, much like there was last Wednesday after 75 mm of rain hit relentlessly.
Of course, we didn’t buy a sump pump, but we did clear the downspouts and extend a few of them. Because there’s no way we’ll get that much rain again, right?
Pictures of flooded streets, flooded basements and cars crashing through giant puddles of water from all around the city were everywhere Thursday. The mall flooded and the storm ponds looked more like lakes.
Surely, my situation is not out of the ordinary in Red Deer and beyond this week and it’s nowhere near the worst, either.
“Could be worse,” has been a common catchphrase in our house over the past two weeks.
Situations like this test your resolve; they test your patience and nerves all at once. Can’t even buy a sump pump at this point in several stores I checked out– at least with all the attachments to make it operational anyway. The shop vac and mop method proved insufficient for the amount of water I was wading through. Mop some up, only to watch it leak back slowly up from the foundation. Just slow enough to fray the last bit of nerve I had left.
It’s easy to get wrapped up and frustrated in the plight. In your own misfortune. That’s how many of us have handled the past two years as we fought through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Water dries though and things can be replaced. It’s still tough to see that when you’re ankle-deep in water trying to save the guitar your dad bought 45 years ago in hopes to meet someone at a lesson– then he found your mom. But that’s a story for another day.
There’s a lot of us today who are just searching for some glimmer of hope that things will be okay and life will continue on, despite a nonmetaphorical lake occupying the basement.
As I fire up the shop vac again and wrung the mop out for the 5,000th time this weekend, I’ll try and remember my own words. I’ll try and remember that I’ve lived a privileged life and a little water in the basement is nothing compared to not having a house at all.
Or as the American Supreme Court overturns a landmark decision on basic human rights for women, I’ll remember how proud I am to live in Canada and not have the worry and fear many women in the U.S now face. One U.S Supreme Court judge even suggested that rulings that protect contraception, same-sex relationships and marriage should also be challenged. And here I am complaining about a little bit of water. What a world.
I’ll put on my swim trunks and water wings, maybe dig out the scuba gear and make the most of a bad situation. I’ll be miserable about it and I’ll likely be cursing the whole time, but sometimes a little cursing helps us find our way to the other side of things. Or maybe it doesn’t and my brain is so waterlogged from all this rain and basement water that nothing I’m saying even makes sense anymore.
Stay dry and stay safe this weekend and here’s hoping at some point we get some sun.
Byron Hackett is the Managing Editor at the Red Deer Advocate.