Sunday, September 4, 2011

Storytelling Sunday - the MacGyver Edition

Every time Storytelling Sunday comes around I think about participating... I do have lots of stories to tell! But somehow life always gets in the way and I never get the post done.  I am determined today will be an exception... so here goes!

Once upon a time - well actually, just last week - a certain family was going through their normal weekend routine. Chores were being done, lots of television was being watched.  But there was a distinctive difference on this particular weekend. The normal television fare had been replaced with lots of news watching as the family tracked the weather headed their way.  Weather with a name.  Hurricane Irene.

Given the media's penchant for over-dramatizing just about everything that ever happens in the world, the family was not particularly concerned over Hurricane Irene.  It would probably be just another rain storm and the media hype would be all for naught.  Indeed, by bedtime on Saturday the 27th of August, the rain had begun in earnest and the wind was whipping around the house.  Not so terrible though... the family had been through worse storms in the past that hadn't even had a name!

Mom and Dad went to bed while the teens stayed up to watch some more late night television. But Mom couldn't sleep. And so after laying in bed awhile, she got back up and rejoined the young ladies around the television. There was mention of tornado watches. And news footage of a tornado that had touched down nearby.  Still the family wasn't worried.

About midnight the teens decided it was time for bed. They were in the process of gathering up the family cats (who also get put to bed at night) when one bolted for the basement, stopped two steps down, and perked her ears. The teen who was trying to capture said cat wondered what had caught the cat's attention. She went down into the basement... five steps down... and she heard it.  "Mom!" she called, "You need to come here!"

Mom went down into the basement and heard it too... water... lots and lots of water.  It took only seconds to find the source. The utility room... water pouring into the basement where the furnace vented to the chimney. LOTS of water!  Mom ran upstairs to awaken the sleeping Dad and drag him, groggy and not fully comprehending the urgency of the situation, to the basement. But the sight of all that water sure pulled him out of his sleepy stupor!

Within minutes the entire family pulled together. Towels were gathered to soak up the water on the floor. LOTS of towels. Maybe twenty or so (good thing Mom never throws away old towels!). A bucket brigade was formed to catch the water pouring in from the wall and transfer it to the sump pump.  But the water wasn't slowing down and the family soon realized that none of them had the stamina to be up all night long catching water and passing buckets. The space was too tight. The spot in the wall was higher than shoulder level, so holding the bucket up quickly became painful. The rain was still coming down and the water flowing through the wall wasn't slowing at all!

So the family started tossing around ideas... how to get the water from the basement wall over to the sump pump hole.
"Tin foil?"
"Do we have anything we could use to redirect the water?"
"What about a noodle (foam pool toy)?"
"No, we gave the noodles to Good Will awhile ago."
"What about a vacuum hose?"
"No wait! The shop vac in the storage room! What about the shop vac hose and some duct tape?"
"But I don't have any duct tape" said the Dad.  Imagine that! A man who doesn't own a roll of duct tape???? Is that even possible?

All this chatter was happening while buckets were still being passed to and fro and towels wringed and laid back out.  More thought was given to the dilemma. The shop vac hose was gathered. A wire coat hanger. A funnel from the garage. The Dad wired the hose in place with the coat hanger.  But the coat hanger by itself wouldn't hold the hose in place.

"WAIT! I HAVE duct tape!" remembered the Mom. Indeed, she had patterned duct tape that she had purchased to use in crafting. And had used for book binding. So the duct tape was gathered.

After a brief attempt, the Dad declared the duct tape unsuitable for the job.  Everything was too wet for the tape to stick. He went off in search of more supplies. While he was gone, the Mom and the teens figured out how to make the duct tape work. And the result of the family project was this:

Note: All photos were taken the following morning once the storm was over and the water had stopped. The family was much too busy trying to prevent property damage to take photos during the actual event!

A different angle. Not very pretty (well, except for the duct tape) but quite effective.

hose feeding the water into the sump pump.  Sorry for the blurry photo.

furnace burner wrapped in plastic trash bags and pretty duct tape to keep the water out.

The family had the MacGyver solution fixed up by 1:30 in the morning. They spent the next hour wringing out and replacing wet towels on the floor and generally attempting to clean up the mess. The teens went off to bed around 2:00 a.m. while the Mom and Dad rested in the basement, babysitting the flood waters until the wee hours of the morning.  Mom finally went upstairs to bed at about 4:30 a.m., leaving the remainder of the babysitting to the Dad.

And that is the story of how the family survived Hurricane Irene and saved their basement from being destroyed by flood waters!


Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for crafting supplies. I can now use your story to justify many purchases. Lovely story and hope the mess is now all sorted.

debs14 said...

yet more proof that you can never have too many craft supplies! Must put patterned duct tape on my shopping list - just in case ...
So pleased that you were safe after the hurricane, and hope that any damage caused is easily put right.

Sian said...

Wow! I'm delighted you joined in this month Cheri - and what a story! Thank goodness for a bit of ingenuity and some crafting supplies, eh? It just goes to show that money spent on supplies is never wasted. I think your solution is a cvery nifty one: McGyver himself would be proud of that one (and thank goodness you all stayed safe)

Thanks for the story today Cheri

Heather said...

Wow what a night! Glad to hear that a bit a flooding was all that you had to cope with & you didn't suffer worse things :)
Great excuse for more stash shopping though xx

scrappyjacky said...

A bit of excitement you could all have done without!!! Glad you all [and basement]survived intact....and hurrah for craft supplies!!

Missus Wookie said...

Having dealt with three floods in the last four years I totally empathize - definitely worth sacrificing some pretty duct tape for.

Thankful that Irene didn't do anything else to you or yours!

Becky said...

Glad you survived Irene and your crafting supplies managed to help you out! Thanks for sharing your story :)

Anonymous said...

"Remember Hurricane Irene" will definitely call up lots of memories for you and your family. Glad some ingenuity, elbow grease, and some handy crafting supplies saved the day!

Melissa said...

Oh my Cheri, what an experience. I love the way you've told this story in a positive light and how the family all banded together to help & find a solution! So glad y'all were able to prevent any major damage! And glad you joined in this month with Storytelling Sunday.

quiltingfool said...

Love the story, told well, and paints a vivid picture! I'm told, however, that it's quite possible that Jay may be banned forever from the brotherhood of macho men for not having one or more rolls of duct tape handy. Never heard of a man who doesn't have duct tape! As you proved, it fixes anything!

Amy said...

I don't know what we would do without well stocked craft supplies ... it just goes to show, one can never have too many!

Thank goodness this was the worst of it for you - a pain in the neck for sure, but a serious hurricane would have been terrible!

Ginger said...

Kudos to the cat!! But geesh, what a scare that must have been. A very well told story Cheri!

Jimjams said...

LOL - talk about having a tool for everything! If ever you run out of patterned book binding tape, I'm sure some eyelets and some ribbon would work almost as well :P
Great story - very exciting, but glad you had plenty of towels!

Susanne said...

Very MacGyverish, indeed. (I loved that show, okay maybe I loved that man.) And using crafting supplies to save the day automatically means you can buy more, right?