The other night after we’d had another round of rain, I headed to the basement fruit room and pantry for some supper ingredients. As I switched on the basement stairwell light, my heart skipped a beat as I saw a glistening glow across the big room floor.

A flashback to last May and the sight of groundwater running across the big room was much too vivid. Thankfully, I quickly regained my composure as I realized the shine was coming from our newly painted basement floor and not sheets of water.

It was a year ago Memorial Day weekend that we had enjoyed a family gathering on the patio and at 10 p.m. stored folding chairs back in a dry basement. Heavy rains overnight were the straw that broke our sump pump’s back. It pushed groundwater into our basement the next morning that wouldn’t totally go away until Labor Day weekend.

In what has almost become a tradition, this year Memorial Day weekend has once again brought heavy rains to our region. Groundwater tables have remained high this winter, and it didn’t take much to push them back up into people’s basements.

This year though, while the sump pumps are running, they are keeping up with the flow through our interior drainage system. We got on a waiting list for installation with our chosen firm back in September.

They finally arrived in February and completed the job just 15 days before the COVID-19 shutdown. It was none too soon, as by the end of March our new system was already pumping groundwater. Moisture from spring snows and rain had started seeping into the still saturated ground.

With the system finally in place, we took to the basement renovation detailed in a previous column. I am thrilled to report that one year to the day after we were chased from the basement by invading groundwater, we are done with the major work.

New paneling and drywall are installed. The floors in all four rooms have been painted with a special primer and then coated with a special colored epoxy paint. Much cheaper than carpet, it is quite durable and much easier to clean.

We have to do some painting of a few drywall corners and one cement block wall, install molding and baseboard that I will be staining and varnishing this next week, and install new ceiling tile. But the end is in sight.

We are totally moved back into the office and fruit room and have started moving more things out of the garage into corners of the other two rooms since the dust from cutting panels is now settled.

Of course, once things are out of the garage and out of the spare bedroom upstairs, we start on the next series of projects to upgrade the main floor of the house. We will finally get the new carpet for the living room, dining room and two bedrooms installed that was ordered before last year’s flood. We also have new flooring for the kitchen that was part of that same 2019 order, which our local store has kindly been storing for us since it was paid for.

And anyone who has done these type of projects knows new paint will be needed in all those rooms – and probably new curtains as well, to match the new paint and flooring. Hubby is just shaking his head. He realizes there isn’t really an end in sight to spiffing up the house after all.

Barb is a freelance journalist who grew up near Battle Creek, Nebraska, and now farms row crops with her Platte Valley Farmer, Don Batie, northeast of Lexington. She can be reached at