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Lake Miller

Say hello to Lake Miller. It's in my backyard, thanks to snow and rain.

What do you do when you find water in your basement?

You grab a ladder, go outside and begin pulling light-saber-sized ice chunks out of your gutters. Never mind you’re in pajamas and you’re wearing tennis shoes that allow water to seep through freely.

Sure, it might have been wise to clean those gutters last fall, prep the downspouts so everything was directed away from the house and scrape the snow off my roof. But, hey, how bad could a little rain be?

In my case, pretty bad. I’ve got Lake Miller in my backyard, an indoor pool in my basement and a “water feature” in the garage I never saw advertised at the Siouxland Home Show.

Even though I’ve been struggling with a cold and cough for two weeks, I prioritized my problems and decided the cold-that-won’t-go-away wasn’t quite as critical as the impending flood of 2019. Around 6 a.m. Wednesday, I swung into action. Thinking I’d only pull a few leaves away from the gutter drains, I didn’t bother with gloves, a hat, boots or anything substantial to get the job done.

I just plowed outside with a step stool and started tackling Planet Hoth. If you’ve never grabbed a yardstick of ice, you haven’t lived, my friend. It’s empowering. It’s also very, very cold. By the time I got to the 16th one, my hands couldn’t grip the darned things and I thought for sure I was going to have to watch as my fingers turned black and, one by one, fell off.

They didn’t, thankfully, but that didn’t stop me from holding them under hot water for a good 15 minutes. I have no clue if this is recommended behavior (look, I haven’t been trapped in the Andes for 10 days, I don’t know what’s right), but it seemed to feel good at the time.

Venturing back out (again, without gloves – one never learns), I pulled out leaves and other debris, enabling the water to get out of their rooftop cesspool. Some of that detritus got into my hair, too, but at this point it didn’t matter. I still had to slog through the swamp that had developed near the side of my garage.

Once in the house, I realized I needed to do some damming in the basement, just to make sure the incoming water was going down the drain and not into a nook I couldn’t see. By positioning plastic tubs, I was able to create a tributary that led right to the spot. Stopping its entrance is likely a job for professionals but I, at least, facilitated the exit.

Because my upstairs bathroom is going through a remodel (another story, yet to be told), I had to shower in the basement. I have a spigot of sorts that has a “Psycho”-like shower curtain around it and another path that leads to the same drain. It works, but it’s hard to feel you’re clean when you’re standing in water that necessitated the shower in the first place.

An invigorating morning workout? Call it what you will, but is it too much to wish for scorching sun by Saturday?

I'm all in.

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