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Fanfare for Fire Departments!

I thought I would take today’s post to give a brief shout-out to fire departments everywhere.

Of course, I’ve always been a great admirer of firefighters. They have bravery, dedication and physical abilities that are far beyond anything I can muster.

I first started getting a tear in my eye over firefighters in the aftermath of 9-11. I heard about how firefighters far and wide just got in their cars and went to help. Just like that. To this day I get a lump in my throat thinking about it.

I came to greatly admire our Mohawk Valley fire departments a few years ago, when a fire raged on Main Street and onto Albany Street in Herkimer, NY. Several departments from surrounding communities came together and fought the blaze, saving several local businesses.

And now comes the Flood of 2013. Departments from around the state have come to help. My own basement was pumped out twice by two different departments last Saturday.

The second time my husband, Steven, and I were not even home when they started. We had run out to pick up some food, and when we returned a fire truck was in our driveway. Our neighbor had seen through our basement window that we were filling up again and flagged down the truck.

A fireman had crawled through our basement window (the first guys had taken it out, because it doesn’t open properly), turned off our little sump pump and set up their equipment. Go on,picture it: one of those little basement windows into a basement that was crappy before it flooded, and he crawls right in and gets to work.

In conclusion, I repeat: I LOVE FIRE DEPARTMENTS. From now on, whenever I see a fire department fundraiser, I am there. I’ll probably write a blog post about it.

All in the Same Ark

One comfort to me is that we — that is, we in the Mohawk Valley — are all going through this. Everybody is pumping out their basements. Nobody in my neighborhood has flood insurance, I don’t think. Many people who already had sump pumps “just happened to have them and have never needed them.

Astute readers may have guessed by now that this blog is segueing over into All Flood All the Time. It is the topic of the moment in the Mohawk Valley, and quite frankly, it makes me feel better to think with each new woe, “At least I can get a blog post out of this!”

It seems to me that others are showing considerably more competence at this pumping out and cleaning up stuff than me, but I’m not sure if that is really true. When I’ve spoken to my neighbors and said, “I’m just so clueless about all this,” the usual response is, “Us, too!”

I was later than others in starting the pumping thing. Others were pumping by Friday afternoon and into Friday night. My husband Steven and I got started on Saturday. A call to a company specializing in this sort of thing got us an appointment on Wednesday. Wednesday! We headed to Aubuchon in Herkimer, NY, to see what we could do right away.

We usually go to Aubuchon for this sort of thing, because they are always so informative and helpful. They did not disappoint. We purchased a sump pump, two sixty-foot garden hoses (a better buy than one hundred-footer, because of a sale) and a heavy duty extension cord. We do own a heavy duty extension cord, but neither of us could remember if it was in the dining room under the buffet or in the basement under water) (it turned out to be the dining room, but I saved the receipt).

We could not figure out how to get a basement window out so we ran the hose up the stairs and out the door. As we were messing with it, a fireman came over and said they were pumping out the neighbor’s basement next door. We were next! Woohoo!

While they were getting set up, Steven left for work. While they were pumping, the plumber showed up.

I forgot to mention that to add to our woes, the toilet was not flushing. I feared it was due to backed up sewage, but after our guy asked Steven a few questions he said he’d be over later to check it out.

One snaking later, our toilet could flush. Yay! If there was one thing that could make me feel better about everything, that was it.

I almost feel I should end today’s narrative here, because it is such a high note. It was in fact as high as my spirits rose before being — I have to say it — damped down considerable, later in the day.

Looking back, yesterday was rather a long day. I spent it alternately buoyed up by hope (oh no, more water metaphors!) and plunged into despair. We’ll end today on hope: toilet flushing, basement being pumped out. What will happen in the afternoon? Stay tuned!