Sunday, July 26, 2015

The benefits of a flooded basement

In a normal spring, like most people who have an older home with a basement, our lower level is at risk of getting a little wet at least once.

Our basement is finished on one side with a large family room/Jeff's baseball and bill-paying HQ, a full bath and large bedroom. We carpeted it when we first moved in and quickly discovered what a futile investment that was when we experienced our first -- and worst -- flooded basement. The red tile floor we have now is a perfect conduit for the occasional water issues, and area rugs warm it up.

As the rain kept falling, we did prepare for what seemed inevitable. We rolled up the rugs, moved the furniture and readied the equipment. A couple weeks ago, the water started seeping in, so we flipped the switches. We've emptied gallons of water sucked magically out of the air by our fleet of dehumidifiers.

It's been dried out for a while now, but we hadn't put everything back yet, weighing the forecast and whether it would be premature. We did assemble down there to watch Skarknado 3 Friday night, which might have been the catalyst for this morning's action.

We had a clear agenda this morning, and Jeff declared he was going to put the rooms back together. I don't like to do that until I can mop the place down with a light bleach mixture. It inhibits any sneaky mold growth and cleans up the place a bit.

Well today, we were a family that cleaned together. It was awesome. Alison got to choose the playlist and Jeff blasted it through a little portable speaker. She has about 40 songs that range from Pitbull to My Chemical Romance to the "Pitch Perfect" soundtrack to Carrie Underwood and the Zach Brown Band.

"Yes, it's country," she intoned. "Don't get excited."

While I scrubbed down the floors and floorboards, dusted and polished the furniture, killed a few spiders and took down enough cobwebs to knit a rug, Jeff and Ali discussed the merits and origins of each tune. Their assignment was largely in doing the second scrub with the CLR on stubborn spots, clearing paths for me and tackling the bedroom.

Regardless of the myriad parenting mistakes we've made, Alison Reed is going to have one helluva music, pop culture and cinematic reference library. At school the other day, she was getting to know some new kids and they were comparing musical tastes. Most of the kids prefer hip-hop or rock.

"Yeah, don't hate me," she said. "My mom has infected me with some country and my dad loves everything else so I kind of like a lot of stuff."

At one point, she tried to skip over a song. Jeff stopped her. "If it's on your playlist, I think we can hear it," he said.

"Well, it kind of has a lot of references to naked people," she said.

He was pretty sure he could handle it. We worked for a few hours and I heard more than my fair share of naked people references, wondered a few times if I needed to chat with Alison about ways to deal with a cheating boyfriend without committing criminal mischief (Thanks Carrie Underwood) and thought I might go crazy if I heard "teenagers scare the hell outta me" one more time.

It was a lot of cleaning during what could have been prime couch potato time. At one point, I thanked Alison for being willing to pitch in without complaint and for sticking with it.

"Well, you know, Mom, it's not like I'm not thinking of lots of things to say sometimes," she said. "It's just that I can control myself."

And that, my friends, is another facet to the beauty of Alison Reed. It's not that she's not rolling her eyes or protesting the idiocy, oppression, nonsense of her parents. To-date, she's been able to CONTROL herself from bursting out with it.

That's a life skill I'm still trying to master.

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