Faithful readers have been asking me as I’ve been out and about this summer if we still have a basement swimming pool, and since mid-June I can thankfully say, “Not anymore.”
The high-water table subsided enough by Flag Day that we could start drying things out. First up was the fruit room, as it still has nothing but a concrete floor and is where the pit for our first sump pump is located. We got almost everything out of that room and I swept away.
We then moved to the office, where we decided the indoor-outdoor carpet we had put down could stay if we just got it dried out. Hubby brought the shop vac in and sucked up as much water as possible and then brought in three fans to circulate the air. Two dehumidifiers also ran day and night, one in the fruit room and the other in our great room, which we attacked next.
A large area rug, which actually was a large carpet scrap purchased after we laid our carpet upstairs 15 some years ago, was deemed a loss. But in order to get it up and out of the basement, Hubby still had to get as much water out as possible so we could drag it up the steps. Twenty-five gallons of water later, with me pulling from the top of the stairs on a rope we had attached and Hubby pushing, we managed to get to out on the lawn. There it drained and dried for several days before we could finally lift it into the dumpster.
Our north storage room and bedroom were last on the list for no particular reason but dried out the easiest as that is the high point in the basement, about one inch higher than the rest.
In the process of drying out and sorting some 30 years of our own things — let alone those we’ve inherited from my parents when we cleaned out Mom’s house in 2005 and when Don’s mother moved to assisted living in 2007 — we have found assorted treasures.
There are countless boxes of photos and clippings, and we’ve laughed and cried at newspaper photos of friends and family — some still with us but obviously changed with time, and others who’ve gone to their great reward.
I had a number of whole newspapers from our community celebration in 2004 and headlines of everything from elections to Clinton’s impeachment to various disasters, royal weddings and more.
A whole sack of elementary craft projects went home with Juliana one day for her to sort through. Each girl has a plastic tub of elementary, middle school and high school clippings and assorted other mementos that pop up while sorting. Another tub has photos that will be sorted this fall and winter for a long put-off scrapbooking adventure.
Once the office dried out, more sorting and purging occurred of the piles accumulated since our last flood in 2008. Then, on top of one bookcase, I uncovered one mystery piece that had stumped us for several Christmases. Hubby had been given a glass holiday plate made by a well-known glass artist when he was serving on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Board. Because it had a cardinal theme, I kept it out throughout January one year and then took it downstairs to put away with the Christmas things.
It somehow got covered up and forgotten and try as I might, I couldn’t find it. Even the girls and Hubby helped in the search, to no avail. Each year the empty box niggled at me as I couldn’t figure out what happened to it — until Sunday when we were clearing off the tops of all the bookcases and the desk for deep cleaning.
Said plate is now back in its box, awaiting the next holiday season, where it will be welcomed again as part of the seasonal decorations. I’m sure more long-lost items will be uncovered in the days ahead as we continue to sort and clean the treasures that come with 34 years of marriage.
Freelance journalist Barb Bierman Batie grew up near Battle Creek, Neb., and now farms row crops with her Platte Valley Farmer, Don Batie, northeast of Lexington. She has written for local, state, regional and international publications and joined the Midwest Messenger crew in 2010. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.